Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mommy Guilt

If you are a mother, you are likely familiar with the unique-to-us feeling of Mommy Guilt. I believe women in our Western culture are prone to guilt already, then the responsibilities of Mommyhood come along and pack on more pressure. There is an intense push in our culture for mothers to be perfect in all we do. We must work 40+ hours per week on our jobs, giving 100% there or risk being told, "you're not being a team player." Then we go home exhausted and have our precious babies excited to see us and be with us, yet they get the day's leftovers. We put on the smiles, forge ahead through the fatigue, and clock in for our second job of Mom.

Because I have never parented a "typically developing" child, I cannot really know if my Mommy Guilt is more intense than other mothers. I do, however, spend lots of time with other mothers of special needs children and share specific guilt behaviors with them. As mothers of special needs children, we are prone to stay up way too late researching, spend more time than is necessary calling and visiting doctors, worry excessively about our children's futures, and feel intense guilt at the end of every night when our children still have said disorder. There's always the nagging feeling at the end of the day of did I do enough today for my child? Because if I didn't do enough, I am convinced my child will end up with a miserable life and it will be my fault. We will take out a second mortgage on our home to pay for specialists, schedule round-the-clock therapists and doctors, buy every supplement, try whatever medications the doctor recommends... we will do anything! If we don't do EVERY POSSIBLE THING to "cure" our children, then we are being a BAD mom. I just have one question-- Who the hell sold us this load of garbage?

I'm learning to be a good-enough Mom. My children consistently receive from me my support, love, nurturing, attention, guidance, and discipline. Because of this, I can rest in knowing there is room for mistakes. I will make mistakes as a mother, sometimes being too harsh when I should have shown mercy. I may be too lenient when really my child needed a stern consequence. I mess up and they grow, no, they THRIVE anyway, because they get enough. Having a mother who carries a sense of peace and confidence is just as valuable to a child as a mother who works tirelessly... maybe even more so. Children are tough and resilient. They can survive us despite our parental mistakes. If you don't believe me, just look at yourself. You survived your Mom, didn't you?

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