Guilt

I’m sure there isn’t a female blogger alive who hasn’t written about feeling guilty about how they parent their children.

Yesterday, I stuffed up big time. School discos for both boys on the same night as Boy Wonder’s art class. I’d planned dinner. I thought I had the logistics of getting everyone where they needed to be, at the right time, nailed.

Except, I had remembered my own personal disco times and not the ACTUAL disco times. Cue Cheeky Boy arriving to his disco at the end. A frantic phone call from The Saint with Cheeky Boy crying in the background made my heart sink to my boots. Balls (not what I ACTUALLY said, but you get the idea).

Bless him, with chocolate and Skylanders, Cheeky Boy rallied. “it’s not your fault mum, everyone makes mistakes”. He said, mouth full.

Why can an 8 year old accept that people make mistakes, but I can’t?

And so the spiral of guilt began.

What was my excuse? I don’t work. How could I mess this simple thing up?

I’m a bad mother.
I don’t do enough,
I don’t love them enough etc., etc., etc.

I am so scared of getting it wrong and messing them up. I wonder if somehow I am to blame for Boy Wonder having Asperger’s.

Where does this come from? Why do I feel so guilty?

My own childhood was sad. I think I probably carry some of those experiences with me. In my quest to give my children a better start than I had, maybe I am setting my standards too high.

I also think that as much as I love them, maybe motherhood hasn’t turned out how I had imagined it to be.

Oh god, there I said it.

I love them, I do. But Lordy, it’s hard. It definitely doesn’t come naturally to me. I look at mothers who declare that having children has made them a better person, or has completed them, in wonder.

I don’t recall screaming like a banshee very often B.C., so no, I can’t say my kids have made me a better person. I think of myself as a work in progress, so I am as incomplete now as I was B.C.

Then I stop for a moment. I remember that my children are blessed to have two parents who love them, and each other very much. We might not get it right all of the time (or some weeks, any of the time), but we are doing the best we can.

As I always remind my boys: “Your best is good enough”.

Boy Wonder all set to wow them at the disco

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13 thoughts on “Guilt

    • Two week ago I showed up one week early to my 5 year old’s dentist appointment. But I could have just as easily showed up one week late. We all make mistakes. We all beat ourselves up for it. I am thankful, however, that there are forums like this that allow us to bring a little bit of the experience that we share out into the open. Thank you for your honest reflection. It definitely helped out this frustrated Mama today!

  1. I often feel guilty as a mum, as a wife, as a friend – I could go on! Do you know what I say to myself now? As long as I’m feeling guilty, it means I’m trying to do better. It IS tough. This gig is relentless and all-consuming. Props to you for being a great mum xx

  2. It’s not just motherhood. It’s not something that only affects women.

    I appreciate I’m not like ‘most men’ because I’ve spent the whole of 2012 being the one that stays at home while my wife is the one with the full time job. It’s been hard, unforgiving, and heartbreaking at times. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

    I identify with everything you touch on. My hope is that my boys (like you, I have two) will not hang on to the details of my many and frequent failings to the same painful extent that I do.

    It’s hard when one’s own upbringing was lacking in many ways (I understand that too) because you sometimes view your own parental frailties through the filter of your childhood experiences.

    But your boys aren’t you. And you are not your parents.

    You can only be the parent you are. I think the fact you care as much as you do demonstrates you aren’t the bad parent you fear you might be at times.

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