Knoxville groups help with 'mommy guilt'

Knoxville groups help with 'mommy guilt'

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Moms are flocking to mommy groups in East Tennessee that are helping put the pressure in perspective. Moms are flocking to mommy groups in East Tennessee that are helping put the pressure in perspective.
"It's scary and you always feel like you forget something. You never feel like you have enough. You never feel like you are prepared with that first one," says Margaret Pardue, mom of three. "It's scary and you always feel like you forget something. You never feel like you have enough. You never feel like you are prepared with that first one," says Margaret Pardue, mom of three.

By TEARSA SMITH
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It seems now, more than ever, there is pressure to be the perfect mother. If a mom feels like she can't live up to the standard, she can sometimes feel what is referred to as "mommy guilt," especially for first time mothers.

Any mom can tell you the addition of a child to your family can turn things up side down. From the unsolicited advice from strangers, to magazines, blogs and even news stories that talk about what's safe or dangerous for your child, it's hard to feel like you are measuring up.

"It's scary and you always feel like you forget something. You never feel like you have enough. You never feel like you are prepared with that first one," says Margaret Pardue, mom of three. 

Pardue says she is grateful her outlook on motherhood has changed over the course of three children.

"I was over-protective. Hand sanitizer all around. Nobody touched him without it. And then with Declan a little bit less and now the pacifier hits the ground you pick it up and you [wipe]."

For many moms, it's a never ending cycles of questions. Should you breastfeed or is formula okay? Am I buying the right toys? Are my children in enough activities? The questions pile up.

"I subscribe to this blog about what your child should be doing this week and I get them automatically. And then there's those weeks when you read the email and you are like, 'Oh, he has been doing that for months. I am on top of this.' And then there's those weeks when you are like, 'Oh, he doesn't say 17 words. Oh gosh, we need to be reading more, more and more.' So now we are up to eight books a day," says Emily Long, a new mom with an 18-month-old son.

Moms like Long are flocking to mommy groups in East Tennessee that are helping put the pressure in perspective.

At First Baptist Concord in Farragut the "mom2mom" ministry is giving mothers a way to do less questioning and find more acceptance to enjoy their role as a mother.

"As a mom you just have different experiences that only other moms can understand. So to have a group that you can share with is so important. I look forward to this meeting and afterwards. It just gives me the energy and fills my spirit to be able to go to my kids and love on my kids and be the mom that I think God has called me to be," said Tina Hulbert, a co-leader of the mom2mom group.

The group invites moms to monthly topical discussions and weekly Bible study centered on motherhood and home life.

"For us we have what's called Titus moms and that concept comes from the book of Titus in the Bible where God tells the older women to teach the younger women in the church. We have our Titus moms that come and mentor us."

The mentorship has shown to help the moms stay focused on enjoying their role as mother and not criticize or condemn their choices.

"If you are not sharing your examples with others and learning the struggles and pitfalls and learning what they did great and how they did it, it's really hard to not criticize and feel the guilt and the overwhelming responsibility of being the perfect mom," says Long.

Moms are using groups with specific interests to socialize, network and learn to let go. If you are interested in finding a group that meets your needs there are some groups in East Tennessee that meet periodically.


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