… And Guilt in General
Maybe it’s a cultural thing, being Canadian and apologetic or regretful, if you haven’t heard jokes to that effect you really haven’t lived… but it’s been kind of a problem for me.
Something I immediately noticed when I became a Mom was the term ‘Mom Guilt’ dun dun dun… and to be truthful I dove head first in to major guilt with having to supplement my son with formula (you can read about that here) and it took me almost the first year of his life to get past it. That guilt took away from a lot of joy I was feeling, and let me tell you it was just the first of just so many things to beat myself up about.
So I’ve decided to stop. Just like that. Who has time for guilt? Before you know it, you could be beneath a huge mountain of guilt & the guilt can turn to anxiety, fear of doing anything in case you do it “wrong” and it can kind of incapacitate you. Blah. No thank you. Not that anything is quite that simple when it comes to changing the way you think, but once I came to the realization that I was sick and tired of feeling badly about so many little things, I knew something needed to shift in the way I was thinking.
I am not saying that if something big and life altering happened I wouldn’t feel bad, I’ve just tried to shift my thinking about the “little things”, and if I do feel bad about something, I have been making a concerted effort to change it. My son fell going up the stairs on the slide at swimming lessons, it was 100% my fault for not helping him all the way up and I felt awful, but he was okay so rather than dwelling on how badly I felt, I will just make sure to not put him or me in the position for it to happen again.
This seems to be such a common thing, for Mom’s especially – and I was doing it all the time myself, standing around talking about how bad we feel about so many things pertaining to our kids, and almost each and every thing discussed is something within our control to change. I was feeling guilty about all of the screen time our little guy got when he was sick a couple weeks ago, but now I see that as an option – 1) stop doing it or 2) accept that screen time is inevitable and let it go. Feeling bad about unhealthy food options for you or your kiddos? Same thing, either make a change or let it go because there is no point beating yourself up over something you aren’t willing to change, in fact feeling badly about it for me only causes me to eat even more unhealthy foods – it is a weird negative cycle.
How about this one? I see it all. the. time. Moms feeling badly for having time to themselves, whether it’s a night out with friends or… even, wait for it, a hair appointment. (I’m not saying this can’t apply to Dads too by the way) I know I am a much better Mom when I have had some time to do things I enjoy with people that I enjoy. This one was really hard for me for a long time even when I knew he was being left in great hands I would want to hurry back. That isn’t even about my son though, that’s some weird need to be needed that I know most people feel but guess what, your child is fine without you while you are gone (9 times out of 10), and will still love and need you just as much when you get home. I know for me, 5 minutes back in the door and he is whining and trying to climb my leg and I wonder what the rush was to get home ;)…
So the moral of my little rant is to go easy on yourself, or make a change. For me it has been, and will be, a work in progress but I knew that I needed to make a change and work on focusing on the positive, the things I am good at both as a Mom and as just me, and I have felt a huge shift in my thinking and the way I feel about myself.
I would love if you would comment below about some of things in life you have let go of, or are changing whether it is a parenting thing or just life thing!