Tag: guilt

Dealing With Mother Guilt

mother-guiltGuilt.  It seems to follow every mother from the moment her child is born.  It’s as if having a child means changing your middle name to “Guilt.”  It’s hard to shake and if you’re not careful it can lurk around and follow your every decision.  “Did they get enough fruits and veggies today?” “Maybe they had trouble sleeping because I didn’t let them have enough outside play time.”  “Should I work or stay home – either way I’ll feel guilty.”  “I could really use some time to myself, but I feel guilty spending the money and taking time away from being with my child.”  “Am I making the right decision about what school they should go to?”  “I need to check these emails, but that means not spending time with her.” “Am I really present enough?”  Any of these resonate with you?
Societal expectations for women largely contribute to the almost universal feeling of mother guilt.  It’s as though somewhere along the way we were presented with a mental image of the ideal mother, but somehow we’re never quite able to measure up to her.  While a little guilt can be good (because it shows that we love and care and want to grow and be good in our role), too much can weigh us down.  At some point, we have to come to the realization that we’re not perfect.  Cut ourselves a little slack and take comfort in the fact that we’re doing the best we can.  Hard as it is we have to stop comparing ourselves to other mothers (real and fictional) because the reality is we don’t fully understand their circumstances and it’s just not fair to do it to ourselves.
Often times the underlying fear is that some decision we make will have critical lasting impact on our child.  Sometimes it feels as though there’s one “right” choice and if we choose the wrong one our child will forever be negatively affected by it and will never be as well adjusted.  We have to give ourselves a break!  Try to remember a happy mother makes a better mother.  So releasing some of that guilt and pressure will not only benefit you – it will benefit your kids!  Develop a mantra if you need to such as, “I love my kids. I’m doing all that I can.”  When the guilt starts to set in remind yourself of that.  At the end of the day give yourself credit for working hard to provide a safe and loving home for your child.  And then remind yourself that sometimes that’s good enough!
Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=3849

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