what does guilt feel like?
I don't 'do' guilt, I've never been interested in taking it on, and have spent a fair bit of my adult life trying to do away with it. Trying to breathe through any family guilt pushed upon me (some members of my extended family are quite good at the guilt trip - I'm not interested in carrying that on or being part of it). I think guilt is a horrible waste of time, emotion, energy and all the rest.
So - I must admit that I'm feeling a little surprised at myself that lately I've been feeling little bits of guilt slip in. I'm noticing noises in my head that sound like that voice of guilt. Sound like someone telling myself I'm not quite good enough, things are going wrong, I'm making mistakes.
I'm actually battling with not being overwhelmed by this new feeling. I don't want to give in to it - I want to say goodbye, farewell, get lost! But I think I need to look to why this feeling is slipping in before I can send it on it's way.
Mother guilt is a big big part of our society - from society, other mothers, our family, our mothers / grandmothers / mother-in-law, magazines, and also our own ideals and expectations. I'm pretty sure most of us are carrying around some version of mother guilt. After close to 12 years of parenting, why am I experiencing it now in ways I never have before?!
I've realised that when my big kids were little life was very different than it is now - I was a full time mama. I sewed, baked, had little parties for their dolls & animals, played dress ups, danced, sang, read books, took them to the park………. Some days lately, I feel like each day with River is a challenge just to get through the day by making sure I feed him properly. There's barely any pretty plates of fruit arranged in flower shapes.
Compared to back then (when the other two were little), now I'm a stay-at-home working mama, building our own home, with two big kids (on the brink of teenage life with them), I'm (heavily) active on the P&C at school….. We now live 20+ minutes from town, and shops - so getting a carton of milk takes longer than quick walk down to the corner store that it did when we lived in the city.
I know that River is getting all that he needs - but seriously, there's a whole lot of guilt around the fact that I don't take him to playgroup or story sessions at the library, or barely even push him on a swing at the park! Living in our forest home offers so much more, being a younger sibling gives me so much more interaction and everyday life exposure…. All that. And yet - this dark cloud of guilt when I have to tell him to not touch the computer because I'm working, or when I don't have home baked treats for their morning tea.
Despite the rational part of my brain saying he's good, the kids are good - they don't need ALL of you, ALL of the time. Despite that. Ah oh ugh. Can society and my own ideals about some perfectionism to mothering just bug off already!
I'd love to hear how you deal with mothering guilt, and all the rest that sneaks in. Wife-guilt, house-wife-guilt, not being the perfect granddaughter….
Let's band together and tell each other we're doing an ok job. Our homes don't need to be spotless, our kids yelling and back chatting isn't a sign of bad parenting. Smile at that mama you see in the supermarket, or pass at the school gate and remind her how amazing she is.