Mom Guilt has crept up to a crazy new level.

Can I take a moment to talk about Mom Guilt?

On a good day, moms have Mom Guilt. If we’re cooking, we feel bad we’re not playing with the kids. If we’re playing with the kids, we feel bad we’re not doing laundry. If we’re cleaning, we wonder if the kids are going to become responsible human beings if we keep cleaning up after them, even though most of the time it’s just so much quicker and easier to clean ourselves.

Enter COVID-19, and this Mom Guilt has crept up to a crazy new level.

With kids home full time and getting a watered-down version of their education in pajamas with the use of technology, there’s always the worry: Am I doing enough? Will my kid be on par with their classmates next year? And when did they change teaching long division the way I was taught in school? I can’t help them now!

Then, when these moms want to get anything done — say, some work or even just a bathroom break — they might turn to technology for some electronic babysitting. And there’s that Mom Guilt again. What are those official recommended screen time guidelines for kids? Since this pandemic began, my kids might have been getting what feels like 20 hours of screen time daily. Am I damaging them forever?

Some moms have truly risen to the occasion. They spend happy hours creating original crafts and baking special treats with their cherubic children by their side. When they share their masterpieces, claiming, “It’s so easy!” the moms I’m talking about picture the floury mess, the fingers superglued together, kids painting the walls when their back is turned, the glitter that will be ground into the carpet for the next decade and the fact that everyone will be asking her, “What’s for dinner?” even while she’s doing hands-on projects with the kids!

The guilt rises again … She wonders: Am I the only one unwilling to do this? When kids later compare stories of life in quarantine, will my kids have anything positive to say? Am I missing a golden opportunity? And, if so, how come it doesn’t feel so golden right now?
These moms love their kids, but their favorite part of the day is unquestionably bedtime.

Finally, the kids are asleep and there’s quiet. She hadn’t managed to accomplish anything with her kids underfoot all day and, finally, now she can catch up. But what should she do first? There’s so much to do: meal prep, dishes, laundry, check in on extended family, pay the bills, work, clean, check the news, change out of her pajamas, exercise, which she’s been promising herself she’ll do as soon as she has the time. The choice is overwhelming. The guilt is ever-present.

So she does what any exhausted mom who puts her kids first all day does: Sinks into the couch, switches on something mindless and doesn’t move for the next few hours. She’ll try to convince herself to go to bed at regular intervals, but it’s just so nice and quiet now. No one is fighting, complaining or calling “Moooommy!” The loudest thing is the Mom Guilt, ever-present, which she’s trying to drown out with sips of wine and desperate proclamations of “I need this me time!”

And it’s true, she does.

I keep thinking if normal life earns us regular hardworking moms one celebrated Mother’s Day per year, this pandemic has got to be earning us at least a three-year vacation … whether we tackled the crafts or not.

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