Dear Mom Filled with Guilt,
I know the personal anguish you are going through. Even though you give so much, you can’t help but see where you could have given more.
More encouragement. More time. More patience. More gifts. More “one more minutes.”
No matter thin you stretch yourself, you wonder if it was enough, and you beat yourself up for that little extra bit you think you could have – should have – given. You wonder if that extra little bit – that extra word, that extra minute – if it will end up being the difference to shape your child’s hour, day, or childhood.
I want to reach out and encourage you today to stop.
Stop feeling guilty. Stop pushing yourself to the brink. Stop expecting more from yourself than is reasonable.
You deserve better.
Your child deserves better.
Allowing guilt to eat away at your soul is destructive to your esteem as a mother and it robs you of your joy.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if, as mothers, we resolved to stop feeling guilty? If when we felt we made a mistake, we made a resolution to try to improve – to do one simple thing differently next time – and we moved on?
Move on and continue to enjoy the parenting journey. We apologize if necessary and make amends, but we don’t wallow in our guilt and allow it to tell us that we are anything short of amazing.
Because motherhood truly is amazing.
The sacrifices, the investments, the love that we pour into our children is truly remarkable. There is no other phenomenon quite like motherhood. But for every moment that we allow guilt to enter our minds and eat away at our soul, we are missing out on our own little piece of heaven.
I used to feel guilty for the limits that I placed, as a mother. I used to feel guilty for establishing a few hours a day (hours that my daughter should be sleeping) as “mine.” For sending that cute little girl back to bed with a kiss, sometimes with tears of protest in her eyes. I questioned if my own goals for those early morning (or late night, or naptime) hours was worth whatever “damage” I was inflicting on my daughter by not being constantly available to her.
Despite all of my other sacrifices, improvements, and triumphs as a mom, I allowed my one boundary to define me and guilt me into believing I was failing in some way.
The same goes for our mistakes. Those moments you wish you could take back — sometimes as soon as it starts happening.
Our moments of impatience or poor judgment do not define us. It is how we move on and repair things to our children that does. Be thankful for your knowledge of your flaws; knowing them shows that you are thoughtful and aware, and capable of improvement.
Be thankful for the opportunity to apologize, to make amends, and to display to your children how to take responsibility for our mistakes. Children learn more from parents who make mistakes and apologize than they would if we were perfect.
And please don’t feel guilty for the few things you carve out as your own. Your time with friends, your special treats, your “one indulgence,” your personal time, or your work commitments. Your child deserves to see a healthy example of balanced adulthood — and you deserve to be happy and fulfilled in more areas than parenthood, even if parenthood is the best part.
Enjoy your triumphs, be thankful for your mistakes, and dismiss the guilt for something more constructive.
It’s about time you realized that you’re rocking this motherhood thing.