I’ve seen several articles recently on the subject on motherhood and guilt, from online magazines to Newsweek features to a recent CHILD magazine article on Roseanne Cash’s guilt over her daughter’s former drug addiction — and how destructive that guilt can be.
As mothers in today’s society, many of us juggle a tremendous amount of activity, from PTA meetings to little league to work to playdates and social activities to planning dinner and doing the grocery shopping. Somewhere, somehow, sneaked into this mix is a sense hovering, persistant guilt that many mothers experience. The should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, and ever present have-to’s constantly knock on a mother’s heart.
This guilt itself, however, can be a very destructive force in and of itself. So much so that in CHILD’s Roseanne Cash feature, she compares the mental guilt she poured on herself as a drug, finally coming to the realization that “the focus on it was just as narcissistic” as her daughter’s very real drug addiction, and dissolving the guilt was inherent in helping daughter recover.
So the guilt mothers feel can be destructive to themselves, their chilren, and their families — more so than the the undone or done things they are feeling guilty over. That leaves the question — how to get rid of it?
Realization. The first step is realizing that mabye, just mabye, you can’t do it all. A good friend said to me a few weeks ago, ‘I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to be a supermom.’ Of course this friend isn’t perfect, but she decided which things had to be priorities and which things wouldn’t kill her to say no to or let go.
Nurture Yourself. Another thing many mothers put off is creating time for themsleves. With all the hustle and bustle, it may feel like a futile attempt, but try even 15 minutes per day of time for yourself to relax and do something you enjoy that will refresh and renew you.
Develop Routines. Both working mothers and stay at home moms often struggle with disorganized homes and lives, and as a result, guilt over what should have been done begins to accumulate. So developing daily routines for everyday tasks, chores, and activities can help you breathe a little easier and get rid of some of that unecessary guilt.
Walk Away from your Worst Critic. Above all else, learn to walk away from your worst critic — yourself. Try to laugh and let go a little more, and realize that many of the things you feel guilty over your kids are none the worse from whatever you’ve done or left undone. All it may take to push your status from “best mom ever,” to “world’s bestest bestest mom ever in the whole wide world” is five minues of dancing with your daughter to some crazy music before dinner hits the table, a few minutes of some pre-bath rescue-hero action with your son, or maybe just a genuine smile on the face of a mom who’s letting go of her supermom-guilt complex as she tells her kids just how much they mean to her.
Amy Finley is a freelance journalist covering a variety of topics for PulseMedia International and a mother of three. To read more articles by Amy Finley please visit http://www.pulsemed.org/authorpages/Amy-Finley.vc.
To read more on CHILD Magazine, read her article CHILD Magazine(Real Help For Real Parents).