Thursday, 28 July 2016

Saying No to Mommy Guilt

Part of the basic anatomy of being a mother is wanting what is best for our children. However, as parents, sometimes that comes with doubt as to what actually is best for our children and for our families as a whole. With every decision comes positives and negatives, and with the negatives comes the mommy guilt that so many of us are guilty of inflicting on ourselves. I know I am guilty of it. (Disclaimer: while I refer specifically to mommy guilt, I am certain that much of this applies to daddies too.)

The mom who chooses to stay at home with her family may be filled with guilt about sitting at home all day, not contributing to the household income. She may spend her free time feeling guilty about having free time to do things on weekdays and wonder about whether she would have been able to provide more for her family if she had been a working mother. She may feel guilty about wasting any special talents that she may have which could benefit society at large by only seeing to her family's needs. She may feel guilty when she cleans the house instead of actively playing with the kids and she may feel guilty when the house does not look like something out of a magazine because surely as a stay-at-home mom she has all the time in the world to get it looking that way.

The working mother may feel guilty about not spending enough time with her children or about missing daytime sporting events. She may feel especially guilty if her family can get by without a second income but she chooses to work despite this, whether to provide for a better quality of life, for personal fulfillment or to make a contribution to society at large. Even the work at home mom might feel guilty about not giving her children her undivided attention while seeing to her work, or not giving her undivided attention to her work while tending to her children.

Even everyday decisions about what we allow our children to do may lead to feelings of guilt. Putting a firm stop on all sweets may lead one to feeling guilty about depriving them of fun and enjoyment while giving in will no doubt lead to guilt about enabling unhealthy food habits and possible health issues later on. You may feel guilty about sending them to play at grandma's house so you can sleep in a bit longer and just as guilty if you didn't, as you deprived grandma of the chance to play with them when you know she was looking forward to doing so.

Chances are, that as a parent, you will feel guilty sometimes about shouting your children too much or losing your temper when you shouldn't have. However, let's face it, children know how to press all the right buttons and it would take a saint to never get angry with her children. While we can all work on trying to control shouting matches before they set in, meltdowns (both of the child and the adult variant) are inevitable. The list is endless.
Personally, I often feel guilty about all these things, amongst many others (and I have not even started on the guilt that comes with being an imperfect spouse.) Today I am making a conscious decision to rid myself of mommy guilt, in the knowledge that whatever I chose to do today, it is what I feel will best benefit my family in the long run. I am making the decision to be firm against indecisiveness and doubt and to stick to my guns. I am making the decision to strive towards perfection but to accept and embrace the inevitable imperfection. I hope that some day, my children will come to understand the decisions that I have made and respect them as I have come to respect the many sacrifices that my mother made for us. 

Do you suffer from mommy guilt? Have you managed to overcome it? Or do you choose to embrace it? Please share your story.

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