Dear Mom/Aunt/Grandmother/Sister/Anyone who Mother’s Others,
When my first born son was about two weeks old, I called my sister bawling. I mean puffy, crocodile teared, blood shot eyes type of crying. I told her I must be a horrible mom because I was so tired I let my baby lay in his bassinet and cry for a couple minutes because I was too exhausted to get out of bed to check on him. A couple minutes – like maybe 5.
She started laughing. Then after gaining her composure, my wise sister said to me, “Wow! I’m surprised how early Mommy Guilt has set in for you.”
I had heard of Mommy Guilt illness before but never really understood what it was. And definitely didn’t understand how much it could affect me. I also didn’t know it is incurable. The best we can do is make the symptoms subside as much as possible.
Symptoms include worrying, comparing yourself to others, coveting other’s mommy/kid relationships, relying on anyone or anything but God to guide our daily steps, yelling, not yelling and becoming withdrawn, believing you are a failure, and more. That last one is what gets us the most as mom’s isn’t it? We are so afraid sometimes that we think every step we choose in motherhood will send our kids running to counseling as an adult. Guess what? As the same wise sister said to me before, everyone should get a chance to go to counseling. So if something I did pushes them over the edge to counseling, then maybe that’s not a bad thing. More than likely there will be lots of things in their lives to sort out I had nothing to do with and counseling could really help them.
The thing that has helped me the most with making my Mommy Guilt subside is just another bit of wisdom from my sister(I’m thinking she should be writing this). I call her all the time fretting about my parenting skills or lack there of. A couple years ago I called worried about my kids being in preschool and how I could keep them home with me while I wrote my book.
First, she pointed out that my book would probably never be written if that happened.
Next, my sister asked me: “What do you remember most about mom and dad during our childhood?”
Me: “Mom took care of us – made sure we had food to eat and clean clothes etc. Dad worked hard so we had a place to live etc.”
My sister: “No, no. Not that stuff. What do you remember about how mom and dad felt about us?”
Me: “I always felt loved. No matter if I was getting in trouble. They were busy. Dad was traveling for work. Etc”
My sister: “And THAT’S what matters. That when your kids grow up, they know that you have loved them. No matter what.”
That message is what has stuck with me throughout mommyhood. Just to love my kids the best I can. I’m going to mess up. I’m going to be lazy sometimes when it comes to doing dishes or laundry or nighttime prayers. I won’t always be as empathetic as I should be when one of my kids cry over a broken toy that makes oh-so-annoying noises. But I do love them. I love them with all my heart. And I will strive my entire life to show them that so when they grow up, they will look back and be able to say, “I know my mom loves me.”
Take that Mommy Guilt!