Friday, December 2, 2011

Mom Guilt--One of the Joys of Parenting

Guilt (n.): feelings of culpability or fault, especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy.


You may have heard of Catholic guilt or Jewish guilt, often referred to jokingly when poking fun at this sense of fault that we feel for the choices we make. But in both religions and really in every type of society, religious or not, guilt exists. I recently read an article on the topic from USAToday http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-09-11-guilt14ONLINE_ST_N.htm
and in the article there was a quote, "Guilt is like pain. It's a message we get that says: 'Pay attention.' It's for our benefit, telling us, through our conscience, that something is happening we should not ignore." Well if this is true then Motherhood is really painful. 


Being a rather over sensitive, Catholic, female, I have felt a strong sense of guilt my entire life, but motherhood has added a whole new dimension to that. I am completely responsible for this tiny helpless individual and everytime I make a decision that is not, in my opinion, perfect, I feel a huge painful surge of guilt. I'd like to think I'm not alone on this one and that Mom Guilt is an actual thing. Sometimes I have lots of errands to run so I'm bouncing from store to store while my son is bouncing from car seat to stroller to car seat to shopping cart to car seat to high chair to crib. Huge guilt. Why didn't I find time to bring him to the playground? Sometimes there is tons of housework to do, so I wash dishes, sweep the floor, clean bathrooms, dust, and vacuum while my little one is entertaining himself with some kind of toy with loud songs and flashing lights. Big time guilt. Why didn't I stop to just sit and sings songs with him? Sometimes in the morning it takes me a long time to wake up and I just need to sit, drink coffee, and watch the Today show, but while I'm doing this my son is watching too because the people standing around Rockefeller Center holding signs and cheering for Matt, Ann, and Al are much more interesting that his Legos. Major guilt! Why didn't I just turn the t.v. off and build block towers with him.? 


As much as I strive to be, I'm not perfect. Sometimes I make choices that I later wish I could change, which I suppose is where this whole Mom Guilt thing comes in handy. As long as I recognize the choices that are causing this guilt, and look for forgiveness (if the situation calls for that) or look to change the action in the future then I can let go of that guilt and regain a sense of balance. Errands still need to get done, but maybe I can be more aware of adding playground breaks in the middle. Housework still needs to be accomplished, but perhaps I can give my boy a mini broom and let him join in (while he still thinks cleaning is fun) or take  breaks every few minutes to sing a song with him. I'm probably never going to be a morning person, but perhaps someday I'll be able to give up my mornings with the Today Show crew and focus more on my little guy instead. And then again, there will be some days when there are no breaks in the errands, when my boy is entertaining himself while I clean, and when we watch the Today show while I sit and sip coffee, and that is ok too! Sometimes things need to get done and sometimes Mom needs a sanity break.** It's all about balance. So while it's a terrible feeling, guilt actually makes me a better mom in my opinion. But it's crucial to find a sense of balance in it all, otherwise Mom Guilt can easily turn into Mom Craziness, and no one wants Mom to end up there. 


**As I write this, the baby is sleeping and I feel a sense of guilt that I am not doing housework. 

No comments:

Post a Comment