Before I had children I heard the term 'mother's guilt' bandied about by mothers. A lot of my friends & family members were mothers before me so I had a lot of second hand knowledge & information about motherhood. I specifically remember one friend telling me, "Wait 'til you're a mother, then you'll feel guilty about everything!" And I even more specifically remember thinking, "What's to feel guilty about? If you do it right???"
Hahahaha, yeah I'm laughing at myself. If you do it right! Yeah, right!! What's right? Who's right? How do you know who's right, if you're right, what's right???
What do we feel guilty about? Like my friend told me, everything!
Especially if you're the type who feels guilty at the drop of a hat anyway, as I am, guilt comes wrapped up in oh so many forms.
Let's start from the beginning -
Am I feeding them too often?
Am I creating bad sleeping habits?
Should I be cuddling them all the time?
How do I get them off the bottle?
Shouldn't they be toilet trained by now?
Am I doing enough activities with them?
Do they watch too much TV?
Are they on the computer too much?
How do I get them to eat properly?
Are they getting enough outdoor time?
Should they be having learn to swim lessons?
Do I yell at them too much?
Do I read to them often enough?
Do they have too many toys?
Am I a good role model?
Why can't I have some time to myself?
You get the drift!
Most of the mums I know are incredibly intelligent, educated women. Most of us are doing the best we know how. And most of us are very good mothers, most of the time. Yet regardless of this, I know that the guilt factor will never disappear. It seems to be an innate characteristic that instantly swings into action the minute our first child is born.
Why do we feel so guilty? Well, that's obvious! If we didn't our kids would never be properly cared for because we'd still be putting ourselves first, selfish creatures that we inherently are. It is a very clever survival strategy for the protection of the human species, isn't it??
In the end, if we laugh with our kids, tell them we love them and strive to help them grow into caring, confident and competent adults, we should give ourselves a pat on the back and be very proud of ourselves. Because as we know, no one else will.