Monday, March 19, 2012

Mommy Guilt

Guilt. It causes so much harm, and little, if any, good. And I’ve realized recently I have a problem with it.

It’s. So. Easy.

To feel guilty if I don’t carry/wear Timothy 24/7. And on the flipside, to feel guilty because he’s 4 ½ months old and “still” not rolling over. And to feel conflicted over putting him down if I don’t absolutely have to.

To feel guilty if I don’t spend all day interacting with Viviana, because she chooses to go off and play on her own rather than joining in what I’m doing. That would be even though I think one of the positive aspects to attachment parenting is the way it creates solid and secure independence once a child’s ready.

To feel guilty if I enjoy getting lost in a quiet bit of thought while watching Vivi and Timothy play, rather than keeping up a lively conversation. Even though no one’s complaining or begging for my attention.

To feel guilty on car trips, because of the amount of time not spent holding my babies.

To feel guilty for not getting enough done, and, on the other hand, to feel guilty for focusing too much on getting stuff done and not enough on my family.

To feel guilty for going on a shopping outing with my mom and sister just for clothes for me (didn’t even look at the baby section!), and leave Vivi behind with her daddy. Even though Ben encouraged me to go, and even though I knew on a long (and yet slow) shopping trip like that, Vivi would get weary, and she and Ben would have a fantastic father-daughter time together. Even though I came home refreshed and thoroughly enjoyed the time with my two favorite gals.

But heck with it. Guilt doesn’t get us anywhere, ladies. It might come from parenting books. It might come from “Them”. It might come from other blogs. It might (hand raise :-)) come from an idealistic personality. It might come from hanging out with idealistic people. It might come from having previously judged other people, and then falling into the same struggles or decisions (sadly, another hand raise). Regardless, it doesn’t make us better mommies.

Sometimes I feel so overrun by guilt*, I don’t know what’s for us and what isn’t. I don’t know what the right balance is or if I’m doing a “good enough” job as a mom. I’m never going to succeed perfectly…never going to meet all my ideals….never going to have a perfect week, or even a perfect day.

*Most, if not all of my guilt is entirely my fault. So this post isn’t a reaction to anyone or because of feeling like others put guilt trips on me. My guilt struggles are the downside to being an idealist. :-) Or maybe, it’s just because I know too much.

But, at least, I want to be driven by my instincts and ideals…not guilt or any of the attached strings. I want to live free to listen to my heart, free to act on what I instinctively feel is right for my children, my family. Not what some book claims is right. Not what Susie finds is right for her family. Just what’s right for mine. And as I strive for that freedom, I want other mommies to experience it, too. And I want to be a part of that; not part of the guilt trip.

I’m still passionate. I still hold to ideas I believe in with all my heart. And I’m still going to write about them. And, I still have a desire to educate mamas, because there are some things that there just isn’t much info on. But I hope that somehow, God breathes grace into what I say, and moms reading this blog feel free to parent instinctively. Because if guilt is the motivator, parenting “just like me” isn’t much of an improvement over parenting like Ezzo. (Okay, well…I do have a lot of issues with him. And I don’t recommend parenting the Babywise method. But….you get the picture.)

You should parent the way you do because it’s what you feel is right in your heart. You should wear your baby because you love to, and because you feel it’s right for you. You should feel free and unjudged if you put your little one down while you take a shower.

I’m purposing to nurture and raise my littles the way my heart tells me I should, everyday. And I’m inviting you to do the same.

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