Dealing with Mother’s Guilt

I’m sitting in my living room, while my kids are taking their naps, thinking about the first half of the day. It’s been a rough one. I have not been particularly kind, patient or loving towards them. I feel so guilty. I’m really hoping that the rest of the day flows more smoothly and that I can be more calm with them.

As parents, we have all had days like this. We all have days that feel never ending. We can feel like failures when it comes to patience, understanding, or any of the many other fundamental requirements of our job. We can be so hard on ourselves because we love our children so much and want the absolute best for them. In an ideal world, with no flaws, we would all be perfect parents. Our children would get our best selves all day, everyday. We would never question our choices. We wouldn’t feel conflicted about them later.

However, we are not perfect and it is easy to beat ourselves up over the imperfections in life and in ourselves. We feel guilt for things that we have control over and for things that we have absolutely zero control over. Some of them are our fault and some are not. Regardless of how the feelings came about, they all have the same thing in common. They are all in the past.

Can you change the past? I know I can’t. I put the kids to bed some nights and look back on the day, pinching myself for all of the ways that I feel I came up short. But what good is sitting in the guilt of a day that’s past? If we just rehash the day and feel bad about it it’s worth nothing. The only thing that it is good for is to use as a jumping point to get to a better place. What caused it? Was it something in my control or did it have nothing to do with me? Can I fix it or do I need to find a way to get past it?

Is there a magical cure for the guilt that a parent feels? No, but we can change how we deal with it.We will feel guilty time and time again. It will sink it’s claws in and hold on for dear life. We have to try our hardest to stop, for even one minute. Take a deep breath and realize that however we feel that our kids were let down or failed, embrace that something happened, realize that it is now in the past, and move on from that short moment with the resolve to begin again.

In my last article, What I Regret About Motherhood, I wrote about the feelings that accompany being a parent. I concluded that what we feel does not make up who we are. Just because we feel that we have failed does not make us failures. It is hard to shift gears once the guilt of falling short sets in. Try to catch it before it sinks its claws in and move past it. We work hard and we try our best over and over again. And that’s what matters the most at the end of the day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SARAH SURETTE

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I have been a cosmetologist since 2009 and am currently a stay at home mother of two. I enjoy expanding my horizons and sharing my experiences through writing. My passions include the english language, soap making and exploring new places with my children.

Location: Boston, MA