Mother guilt. Us mothers are famous for it!
My two children are truly beautiful boys Koby’s two years and Jay is four years old they are funny, energetic, cheeky, imaginative and mostly on any given day have truly wonderful personality’s. Most days I feel like I have won lotto with my little crew, but it doesn’t stop Mum Guilt flooding in time to time. I wanted to express how lonely you can feel with your guilt because it leaves you feeling like your original idea of what was right with your children seem wrong, makes your judgement of what you think is best alittle cloudy and you start to feel inadequate. I have been through this just by paying to much attention to someone’s opinion or reading into things to much about a passing comment made by a friend or family and BAM instant guilt! I’m learning, it is easier some days than others but as Tom Petty once said “I will stand my ground and I won’t back down”
Example of how guilt plagued me after vaccination time!
I took my son to get his scheduled four-year vaccination, the doctor started quizzing me about jays sight, movement right down to how he holds his pen. I felt guilt instantly… have I been showing Jay enough how to hold a pen? Have I been making sure he is toilet trained confidently in time for school?
When I was making my way home, I realized I was being way to hard on myself, all I needed was a moment to realize Jay is only four and has always learned beautifully he tells me when he is ready and when he isn’t, he has developed so well and I’m so proud of Jay he’s unique, smart and talented and the conversation and with my doctor along with the guilt ended the moment I shut the door. I was mindful and grew awareness letting go of my guilt to focus on my day ahead.
Guilt has taken its toll on me at times but I’ve learnt over the years to learnt to consciously be present when I feel guilt, to be present and mindful of the moment and change my guilt into something positive. You can change it with self-compassion, you have the power to change negative guilt patterns.
Guilt is a feeling us mothers get with mostly any thought, feeling, activity or circumstance surrounding our family, child, children. The guilt can often be self-imposed and sometimes be reinforced by the opinions of others, such as social media, magazines, celebrity’s and sadly other mothers.
Easing your guilt
“Comparison is the thief of joy”Eleanor Roosevelt
Comparing your children to others, its something we are all guilty of doing Ive done it and I’m sure you have to, as long as we can bring the focus back on how unique our child/children are and how they will learn and grow at there own pace and achieve milestones along the way then really “if it isn’t fixed don’t break it” rules apply.
Join a group
When I was a new mum I used to go to a clinic and see a wonderful midwife she would give me amazing advise and talk with me, it was nice to have some reassurance with my new found mum guilt. Then as Jay got older I took him to a play group with other mother’s it was a nice break and I felt like I wasn’t so alone and my child enjoyed socializing. The nicest thing I did to soothe Mum Guilt was to be out in a group of like minded mothers to relate and engage with whether it be exercise or sitting with a cup of coffee it all helps!. Why? Because we share, laugh, admire our children together laughing and discussing our lives, and more often than not, we are all experiencing some sort of mum guilt at the same time. They are in the thick of it just like I am, and can tell me when I’m stressing and worrying over unnecessary things.
Self-care is so important we cant run on empty as we deserve a breather time to time, taking time out to relax and recuperate can help you put things into perspective. Taking a bath or a long shower, a walk, reading a book or bingeing on Netflix can help take your mind off the things you’re feeling guilty about, and to just unwind.
Spending time with you children
When I’m flooded with mum guilt, especially about things like not spending enough time with my children. I take some extra time out to go to the beach for a swim, go for a walk and take their favorite trike or bike, go out for breakfast and buy a chino, go visit our family or friends, play with paints and make craft, set up a play date, play at the park and read together. By doing these things, I am again reminded about what is really important. I’m not thinking about all the other things that are making me feel anxious or guilty. Getting rid of mum guilt unfortunately I don’t think it will ever stop being a thing or will ever go away. As mothers, we have a natural predisposition to worry about our child/children, but we can navigate our way through mum guilt, we can work through it.
Positives and Negatives or Parental Guilt
Guilt rarely happens in isolation. It is something that happens between people. Guilt strengthens social bonds and attachments. The basis of guilt is the ability to feel others pain and the desire to maintain connection to a group. There are positive uses of such a powerful emotion. Often enough, articles and self-help books about guilt term it a useless emotion, something to escape or avoid.
I’ve found that it can go both ways. There are ways that we can use guilt to challenge ourselves and improve relationships. But there are also ways that we can use it to avoid responsibility, to control others, or to shift the feelings of shame and blame onto someone else. It’s our choice to make.
Positive Uses of Guilt
Guilt can make us pay better attention to what we are doing as parents. Guilt is a thinking emotion. Yes, we feel bad. But along with the feeling is usually some version of “I should have, could have, wish I had” that can be useful in its own way. It makes us consider whether we really should have or could have done something different and, if so, what we can do next to better the situation.
Guilt can be a motivator to do something. Nobody likes to carry feelings of guilt around for long. It can be the push we need to make some changes in our lives, so we come closer to be the parent we want to be. When not overdone, showing our guilt can be a way to make the child we’ve let down feel better and can help heal the relationship. When our child sees us feeling guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed, the child feels heard and sees that his or her feelings or needs are respected.
Negative Uses of Guilt
Guilt can be a passive-aggressive way to assign blame. Some mothers are masters at using guilt to manipulate. Our children want and need our approval. Because feeling disconnected from a parent’s love is frightening, children do respond to the “guilt trip.” Young children will do almost anything to get back into their mothers favor.
Guilt can be a way to punish ourselves. If we can’t change what has happened; if we can’t figure out how to make things right; if we see ourselves as having been a terrible mother, we can at least have the decency to beat ourselves up with guilt for a very, very long time. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t repair a troubled relationship with our child.
Guilt can be a poor substitute for feelings of self-worth. When a mother doesn’t believe she can live up to her own standards, she can at least show that she’s a good person by feeling guilty about it. Real self-esteem requires working on achieving those standards, not sitting in good intentions.
It is inevitable in family life, and especially in family life in the teen years, that our kids will at times feel misunderstood, and that we mothers will over- or under react to choices they make. When people are engaged with each other, it’s impossible not to step on one anothers toes now and then. When teens are doing the hard work of separating from family and asserting their individuality but at the same trying to stay connected, they may say harsh things, make poor choices, or push limits and get themselves into trouble.
Thank you for reading my post on Mum Guilt I would love to hear your story’s its a big world out there and its amazing when you can find others to relate to! Cassie xox