Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Letting Go of Mama Guilt in 3 Easy Steps

Mother's Day is fast approaching. 

And I think what most mothers want more than anything is validation that she is a good mom. 

One of the biggest trials of motherhood is that it is rife with guilt. 

Yelled at your kids.  Guilt.

Didn't teach them x, y, or z.  Guilt. 

Spent too much time playing with them...they never learned independence.  Guilt. 

Didn't spend enough time with them.  Guilt. 



Let your son run around the playground with shoes on the wrong feet.  Guilt. 

Let them eat junk food.  Guilt.  

Didn't make happy memories with impromptu ice cream stops.  Guilt

Let's face it.  No matter what we do, we're messing up our kids. 

Or not. 

You see...we are imperfect mothers raising imperfect kids. 

So, things are going to get messy at times.  

In the history of all time, there has only ever been one perfect mother who had a perfect child. And the most perfect mother and saintly father actually lost their perfect child in the temple.


  

So, if that can happen to the most perfect mother...just think of all the mishaps that could happen to imperfect us.

Sometimes, our kids will get hurt or feel misunderstood or resent us or make bad choices or not clean their rooms.  And sometimes we'll yell or be impatient or feel like we just can't tolerate  ONE MORE INTERRUPTION or ONE MORE NIGHT WAKING or ONE MORE ACCIDENT.

And we don't need to feel guilty about all that. 

Guilt is about looking backwards.  And we can't change what was, we can only learn from it. 

Mama guilt seems to be almost universal.   We've all done something wrong.  Maybe lots of somethings wrong.  I feel guilty a lot. Maybe you do too. 

Mothering is HARD.  Especially when life gets in the way...which is all the time.    Because there is always something.    




Some trial.  Some difficulty. Something. 

And when that something is wrong....it's hard to be patient and kind and loving.   So, we feel guilty when we fail. 

But we don't have to do that anymore.....feel guilty that is.  We can learn from our mistakes, and look forwards instead of backwards. 

And we can take these 3 easy steps to let go of guilt.

1. Stop reading parenting books.

Parenting books are notorious for being guilt-inducing.  I used to love them, but not so much lately.  Now, I just find them confusing and guilt-inducing so I'm avoiding them, 

2. Stop comparing yourself to others.

Just stop.  We usually only see the good things people show us...and not all the messy, chaotic, difficult parts of their life.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  A wise person once told me that. Although I think Teddy Roosevelt said it originally.  Not that he said it to ME or anything.  I don't commune with the dead. 

3. Catch yourself being good.





It's a common parenting technique.  Catch kids being good.  Well...I say...catch yourself being good.  You answered 50 million questions without losing patience.  Good for you...that's hard.  You didn't grumble through a night-waking..that's an accomplishment.  You read Fox in Socks without tearing your tongue out.  Go you!  It's okay to recognize all the good things we do. 

We're just like our kids.  If we tell ourselves we are good...we will be good.  It actually works.  If I remind myself of all the times I actually am patient...I'm more likely to be patient.  While if I focus on all the times I lose patience and yell...I'm more likely to keep losing patience and yelling.

Give yourself credit for all the peanut butter sandwiches made, and glasses of milk poured and diapers changed and baths given and meals cooked and stories read and questions answered and babies rocked. That counts for a lot.

And it's better to celebrate the good rather than dwell on the bad.

So, drop the guilt.  You deserve it.   


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