It tends to creep up on you, the Mother Guilt. It is a sneaky, relentless thing .. much like the anxiety. It doesn’t matter how smart, prepared or resilient you are either. I find that Mother Guilt is a constant voice that needs to be managed or it can really chip away at your belief in yourself.
Mother Guilt is usually irrational, coming from a place of fear rather than love. It takes a lot of constant reflection and meditation on this, as well as self love to put it back in its place. Does it have a place though, or is it simply useless? This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately.
Those days when you pretty much just race through, you know the ones. The day begins slowly, your little people may have slept soundly yet you find yourself checking on them throughout the night anyway. Is it just me or is this a thing? I hoped and prayed for 4 years that he would one day sleep through the night without any cries for milk, water, pats, hugs or comfort. It did happen eventually yet I seem to be programmed for regular checks anyway.
Before you know it you have powered through the morning, school drop off, work, phone calls, meetings, coffee, shopping, cooking, cleaning, tidying, eating, paying bills, running errands, more coffee, washing, folding, more work, school pick up, homework, entertaining, dinner, bath, books, quality time, bed, bed, bed. I find that last part takes up way more time than the word bed indicates on its own.
Of course there are moments of magic in there too. The tender looks, cuddles, words of complete and utter love, tears and the raw emotion of parenting that webs itself tightly in amongst the routine and sometimes mundane, dare I use that word here, where we are all about ‘the art of joy.’
Joy is not really possible without the mundane though is it? The darkness is what makes the light so blinding right?
Mother guilt somehow finds its way into all of this. It may be something fairly insignificant or it may be something big. Did you have cheese on toast or cake for dinner? Mother guilt. Did you forget it was mufti day? Mother guilt. Did you miss an assembly at school for a meeting? Mother guilt. Did you skip homework one night last week? Mother guilt. Did you find yourself enjoying a child free outing way too much? Mother guilt. Did you raise your voice, lose your temper? Mother guilt.
I am fairly certain that most of the things you beat yourself up about are not going to harm your children, in fact they might actually have the opposite effect. Maybe the guilt is simply a reminder that you care, and that each day you want to be the best version of yourself possible.
Listen to the voice, choose acceptance and love for yourself though. You are doing the best you can, in every single moment. Never forget that we are all in this together, if you find yourself amongst other parents who make the guilt worse, be around those ones less. Surround yourself with the ones who help the guilt fade away.