No one warned me about the truth of Mom Guilt
“My Mama Stories” Part 2: My Mom Guilt
Throughout the nine months of pregnancy to the day I held my son in my hand, no one warned me about the truth of mom guilt! I mean, there were a lot of advices and tips about what to do, what not to do, and what future schools and enrichment lessons I should start planning ahead. But, no one warned me about this constant mental and emotional guilt I would have. If you missed my earlier blog, please read “My Mama Stories” Part 1: From Pregnancy to Birth.
The Constant Guilt
If anyone tells you, “there is no perfect parenting”, they are right. But, that does not take away the guilt we may feel inside us. 🙁
As I embark on my motherhood journey, I realized that’s exactly how I feel most of the time – this irrational and unexplainable mom guilt inside me! From the moment I brought my baby home, I started to have this mom guilt.
Listing out some of my mom guilts below, just to name a few. Do any of these events resonate with you when you felt your mom guilt?
My Mom Guilts
My first mom guilt. At less than a week-old, I was told that my new born’s jaundice level was too high and needed to be admitted into hospital. It must be my poor genes and insufficient milk supply that causes my baby to have jaundice.
When I did not produce milk fast enough before my baby was hungry again. It was my fault that my baby was constantly feeling hungry and unable to sleep well!
One of my worst mom guilt I was when Jayden was ten months old and down with a cold infection. I took the day off from work to care for him. Suddenly he was in distress and started to lose his responsiveness. In less than a minute, his face literally turned purplish! So, this was actually the beginning of his 18 months long of repeated febrile seizures episodes and numerous hospital visits. If I had taken better care of him when he had the cold, could this have been avoided? Mom Guilt.
And whenever I had to work and missed his bed time, I reprimanded myself – could I not even set aside that half hour to spend with him?
The truth is, Life is full of ups and downs, and unexpected twists and turns. We could never be able to plan our own life in the exact way we want it to be. So, how could we believe that we are responsible to create the life of another human being? RIGHT?
What I have found helpful is to cope with my mom guilt and convert it to LOVE (fundamentally, our guilt arises because of our love for our child!). Here are 3 tips on is how I deal with mom guilt.
Set My Purpose as a Mom
Understand that guilt arises because we feel responsible for not doing something we are responsible for. Hence the first thing to do is to answer the key question.
As a Mother, how do I see my purpose in how I want to raise my child? What are the outcomes I want to achieve?
Being clear in this aspect is key to prevent us from falling into the trap that we are 100% responsible for every little aspect of our child’s life. Because we are not.
Having this “Big Picture” lens is important. Often, we experience guilt when our mind so narrowly on one issue and compare that to another mom (or parent) who seemed to have done so much better than us in that ONE (or few) issues. When you take a step back and view this issue in a broader perspective, and compare it to your overall purpose you have set as a mom, you may realize how much more you have given to your child than you think you had.
Take failure as FEEDBACKS
It’s natural we feel disappointed or guilty when things for our kids don’t seem to go our way. Acknowledge this feeling and start ask your mind this question – what can you learn from this event? What can you do differently next time? And then ACT on it. When we take setbacks as feedbacks, our mind start to think of solutions, and naturally, our guilt will turn to love.
Say Bye to Guilt
Remember, our mom guilt will visit us every now and then. But we can learn to cope and convert it to love. Love will empower us to choose more resourceful thoughts and actions that will make us a happier and loving mom.
In next blog, I’ll share how when I start to see Parenting as Partnering, I thrive much better as a parent.