I actually looked for an article about this to talk about because I seem to have a lot of Mommy Guilt these days. This is the perfect article for me to have read today. This is from an article on www.justmommies.com from a mom named Lori Radun.
From the moment you become pregnant until the day you or your child dies, you try to be the very best mom you can be to your children. It doesn’t take long, however, before you make mistakes. Parenting doesn’t go as planned. Your children do outrageous things. Accidents happen. Feelings get hurt. Children go down the wrong path. Your marriage struggles. And the feelings of guilt inevitably follow. It doesn’t matter if your children are young or grown; motherhood guilt is always a struggle.
So how can you minimize those pesky, guilty feelings? Here are some helpful tips to help you zap the guilt and enjoy the journey of motherhood.
Stop Comparing Yourself and Your Children to Others
Is Kayla sitting up yet? When did Matthew start walking? My child knows all her colors and the whole alphabet and she’s only two. Does your son play travel sports? What did your daughter get on the SAT test? My son is 28 and he is still not married. Comparing our children to other children is an easy trap to fall into. But it is not healthy for our children or us as moms because every child is different. They each have different strengths, weaknesses, developmental patterns and personalities. Let your children be who they are and avoid the comparison game. –
I fought this when my daugther started to get into the “developmental” stages, I didn’t want to be that mom, I for the most part did well but I’m a worry wart so I didn’t compare my daughter to others for the obvious, normal reasons LOL, I did more so because I would think something was wrong with her, like now for instance that she’s 16mths old and barley says 2 words :( I feel like something is wrong or that I’m doing something wrong. I do everything the Dr, and other mothers tell me to do. Do you know how many times I say, Up, Down, Please, Thank You, More, all those words a day, A LOT OK!!
Just like you shouldn’t compare your children to other children, the same goes for you. Let go of any need you have to compare yourself to other moms. Todd Parr wrote a great children’s book called “The Mommy Book”. In this book, he talks about how all mommies are different. Some mommies like to cook and some like to order pizza. Some mommies work in tall office buildings and some work at home. I have a friend who is the epitome of June Cleaver. Almost all her meals are home cooked. She makes all her children’s Halloween costumes. She is totally organized and structured with her children’s school work and activities. If I compare myself to her, I am plagued with feelings of guilt. I make Hamburger Helper for my family, purchase all their Halloween costumes and I consistently fail at structure with my kids. But I’m still a great mom, and so is she. It’s okay to be different.
I think I battled this more when my daughter was first born, my guilt layed more with needing “mommy time” or time with my girlfriends or just plain time alone, I’ve heard so many mothers say that they would rather spend their “Alone time” with their families, that they don’t enjoy going out without their husbands or children, Or how some couples don’t spend alone time together without their children, I guess I overcame this fairly quickly because what works for me and my husband may not work for someone else, and the fact that in order for me to care for my own child, I have to be sane myself!!
Accept Your Limitations as Well as Your Children’s
You don’t have to be all things to your children and your children don’t have to be all things to you. In other words, it’s okay if you make mistakes. And your children deserve the same grace. One of the things I often struggle with is thinking I need to be my child’s constant playmate. I have to be honest. Sometimes I don’t feel like playing cars or looking at another car magazine. Sure, my child may feel disappointed if I say no, but it doesn’t mean I am not being a good mother. I have my limits and I need to respect them. All moms have limits. When we go over our limits, we usually become irritable and short-tempered. Exceeding our limits can cause a vicious cycle of behaving in a way that makes us feel guilty.
Your children have limitations too. Just because a child has a bad day of misbehavior doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. While I was on vacation this past week, there were days that my 3-1/2 year old was a little monster. He was in time out constantly. Of course, all the other little children around were perfectly well behaved. At one point, I was exasperated and I asked my aunt, “What is wrong with him?” My aunt reassured me that he is fine – he’s just being a kid. It’s times like this that we often question our parenting. Sometimes I think it’s helpful to just understand that motherhood has its good days and bad days and it has very little to do with our ability to parent our children.
I guess this is where my weakness is because I have ZERO patience, I never have, little did I knwo that it was part of my anxiety so I’m working on it however I guess I thought because I had all the patience in the world with other peoples kids I just assumed I’d have even more for my own………..WRONG, oh so WRONG. I’m working on recognizing what my limits are and stopping before it’s too late LOL….on weekends it’s easier, I can say “Hun can you please take her because I’m reaching my limit.” LOL…..As far as “Don’t worry she’s just being a kid!” LOL Easier said that thought!! I always say “OMG what is wrong with my kid!!??” LOL….
Apologize When You Are Wrong
Let’s face it. Sometimes we blow it. We say or do something to our child that we immediately regret. If this ever happens to you, apologize immediately. Our children then learn that we are human and we make mistakes. Children are very forgiving and forgiveness conquers guilt. There is nothing more humbling than being able to admit when we behaved in a way we know is wrong.
I haven’t really come across this yet, I raise my voice a lot because it seems to work with my daugther and it’s how I was raised, my parents didn’t hit, nor will I, I’m a big fan of time outs and raising your voice just enough for your child to know you mean business, unfortunatly it takes awhile for them to learn it so I’m at the point of frustration right now and time outs really don’t work at this age….I think the only thing I’ve done that I later regret is swearring LOL…yes I swear a lot and I know that has to stop because it’s only a mater of time before she starts understanding those words! Not only that but my husband often says please don’t call my daughter a douche, or a B I T C H! LOL….
Don’t Buy Into Others Attempts to Make You Feel Guilty
Everyone has their own set of rules and values they live by. Oftentimes, when people can’t accept differences in other people, they impose their opinion, often resulting in attempts to instill guilt, conscious or not. At the end of the summer, I took a 3 day retreat to reenergize. I went to Door County by myself and had a wonderful time shopping, watching movies, reading, and sightseeing. Upon my return home, I was faced with disapproving remarks from my mother-in-law. She couldn’t understand how I could go on a vacation by myself. I knew in my heart and soul that I did nothing wrong, despite how others might have viewed the retreat.
It took me awhile to realize this, I thought every mother was the same and every mother should raise their kids the same way, huh!!! That’s pretty funny that I actually thought that huh!! Boy is that anything but true. I think this is so true, I think some mothers do impose their opinion, usually not on purpose, not realizing they are imposing their own opinions that may not necessarily work for me. I’ve come to learn in the 16 short months I’ve been a mother that not only does every mother do things differently, but I also respect each mother for doing things their own way, that what works for me may not work for you. And it’s ok!
We are Not Responsible for Everything our Children Do
Just because we gave birth to our children does not mean we are responsible for all their behaviors. Children have a mind of their own and often don’t listen to the wisdom we give. We can be the best mom and our children will still make mistakes that take us by surprise. One evening I was babysitting my friend’s little baby. The evening was going along just fine until I had to feed the baby. My 3 year old was sitting next to me, watching me spoon the barley cereal into the little guy’s mouth. I was holding the bowl in one hand and the spoon in the other. Don’t ask me what provoked my child, but in 1 second flat, he had smacked the bowl of cereal out of my hand. The bowl of cereal, on its way to the back of the couch, ricocheted off the baby’s eyebrow, leaving a big bump on his head. Cereal was everywhere, including in the baby’s eye. I now had a hysterical infant and a laughing preschooler. Call it jealousy, or call it curiosity, but I can assure you I never taught my child to behave like that. Although I was horrified by my child’s behavior, I knew that I was not to blame for his outburst. I am his mom, and I am responsible for teaching him right from wrong, but I cannot always control how my children behave.
Sometimes kids will just be kids, end of story, I grew up saying at least every month “My mother was right” thanfully by the time I was in my twenties I actually started listenin to her! LOL….the point is we can’t teach our children everything, we can only teach them the very best we can and simply let them go out and life their lives. I have a feeling disappointment must be a part of being a mother, and I’m sure it’s something I’ll feel quite a few times in my life, but with every disappointment I see moments of glory, moments of feeling proud.
Unless you are severely neglecting your child or setting a very bad example for your children, there is no reason for you to feel guilt. God chose you to be the mother of your children, and He doesn’t make mistakes. God does not expect you to be a perfect mother and he does not expect you to raise perfect children. So relax, have confidence, and enjoy the journey of motherhood.
I couldn’t have said it better myself!!