I normally don’t feel guilty about most things. Working mom guilt? Not too much. Messy house? No problem. Date night? Absolutely! But when something goes wrong with the kids where I’m prone to say, “If only I had done X, Y and Z, this wouldn’t have happened,” I’m likely to feel a sense of mommy guilty and blame myself.
Blame can take on all sizes of fault. A mom can blame herself for her daughter’s cold because she didn’t think about bringing along a jacket. Or another can feel terrible that her son isn’t saying words yet, thinking of all those times she could have spent talking to him more often. Recently, I blamed myself for overfeeding one of my twins, thinking that his explosive spit up and pudgy body must have been due to the amount of milk he gets in a bottle.
Silly, I know. However small or large the scale of fault may lie, blaming ourselves is unnecessary.
Why we should let go of the mom guilt:
We acted in what we thought was best at that point.
Rarely do parents consciously think, “I am going to leave my daughter’s jacket at home so that she gets sick.” No—instead, we’re usually thinking, “It seems pretty warm,” or we simply forgot. Parents have their kids’ best intentions, and unfortunately we don’t always have the foresight (or the ability to know the future!) to see our actions’ effects until later.
You did what you thought was best or normal or regular at that time. You didn’t do things out of poor intentions—you probably had the best in mind. Hindsight is always clearer, regardless of the result.
We all make mistakes.
Even though this should be obvious, we all still need reminding of our fallibility as human beings. We’ll never be 100% correct. We’ve made mistakes and will continue to do so. The best part about mistakes is that they actually build our resilience and are our best teachers. Learning from our mistakes can improve ourselves and how we parent.
When something goes awry and you feel like blaming yourself, learn your lesson instead. Analyze the situation and think about ways you could prevent it next time, or what you would do differently.
Sometimes we can’t do anything about it.
There are cases where, blame ourselves as much as we do, there really wasn’t anything we could do about the situation. I read somewhere that worry becomes unhealthy when we can’t change the circumstances yet continue to mull about it as if we can.
Let it go. Unfortunate events happen with sometimes no good reason other than it just does.
The world isn’t going to end.
Here’s the funny thing about our problems: the world continues to move regardless of them. If you’re bogged down with blame, consider that in the overall scheme of things, we’re doing all right, and that we keep moving on.
The better course of action? Do something proactive. What can you do to change the circumstances (if at all)? Refrain from moping or blaming and instead take on the strong role that you’ve assumed as a mom and get things done.
They don’t love us any less.
Much is said about a parent’s unconditional love, and I would surmise that the same can be said about a child’s love for his parents. Kids can be some of the most forgiving people. We make mistakes and even blame ourselves, yet they continue to love us with no hesitation.
Before you feel too terrible about what you did, what you didn’t do, or what you could’ve or shouldn’t have done or the talk clouding your mind, blame is hardly productive. Assess the situation, learn from it, and act instead.
Read more posts about motherhood:
- How to Deal when Your Child Cries at Drop Off
- How to Handle Gender Disappointment During Your Pregnancy
- Parenthood: Appreciate What You Have
- Do You Feel Guilty for Not Breastfeeding? Don’t.
- Being a Working Mom Doesn’t Suck
How does mom guilt and blame factor into your life? Let us know in the comments below!
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