image credit: http://www.insideout-tees.com
I used to think I wasn’t guilt prone. After all, much of what society says I should feel guilt for, I don’t:
I work full time out of the house and hold deep gratitude for both the opportunity to do so and effective childcare.
For a few minutes, I considered feeling guilty that I didn’t feel guilty for being a working mom. But it didn’t stick.
I could feel guilty that my house is usually some variation of mess. But again, we are okay with the permanent lived in look.
I could feel guilty that I don’t typically “cook.” Instead, I hold deep gratitude for simple things, like eggs and veggies, and that a tasty omelet works for either breakfast or dinner.
But alas, I am not immune to guilt. I am finding, deeply, heartbreakingly, movingly, that raising a toddler turning pre-Ker turning big kid unleashes the flood gates of guilt.
Let me explain: I get it intellectually, that it is nearly impossible to never, ever once get annoyed, aggravated, or frustrated with your children. And while I believe it in my head, that concept doesn’t penetrate my heart so easily.
A misstep in tone, word choice, sigh, when I feel like I don’t respond to our 4 year old daughter as I should, and man the guilt piles. I feel like the worst mom ever. I’ll sit quietly condemning myself on how I have more than likely just damaged my offspring. This line of thinking is a really distracting, depressing downer.
It happened today and I had to find a way out. I had a choice, I could literally brood between 8:30 and lunchtime inwardly fighting to re-find my happy place, or I could fight for the change of mind. I went to one of the strongest tools in the arsenal: girlfriends.
We’ve known for a while that it takes a village to raise a child. Now more than ever, I think it takes a village to keep the moms sane. I never totally got the sorority scene in college. But a sorority for moms? I think I could get into that. I’m not sure what the Greek letters are for “You don’t suck as a parent, just keep going” but I would wear them on a sweatshirt.
After a chance of being open and totally encouraged, I had to adjust my thinking. In lieu of meditating on my mistake, what else could I think of? Could it be possible that I could focus more so on the loving moments that my daughter and I shared in the last 24 hours, and not the skirmish this morning? Could it be possible that I could instead expend energy on looking forward to how I could love her later this evening?
This was a novel approach to me. Instead of beating myself up, I could hope myself up. I could take gratitude in the chance to show love again. I could commit to enjoying the next opportunity to be the parent I want to be.
Give your mistakes just enough energy to motivate change. All remaining oomph should go towards how you will love next.