Like canons to the left of you and canons to the right of you, the guilt that moms experience can sometimes feel as if they are on a battlefield.
If you’re a mother, you know when it happens.
Mommy guilt causes that pause inside you when you question what you’re about to do (or not do) something for your kids. The guilt can happen when you see another mother or child experiencing something that you wish you were –but are not—able to provide for your child.
The worst mommy guilt feelings are the heart tugs that happen when your child has grumbled her/his dissatisfaction with the status quo of your life together. Or when a family member makes a comment about something related to “another mother” and what “she has done.”
It’s enough to make you feel like you just want to explode!
These internal wrestlings with guilt can make a mom not want to tell her children anything about herself.
Mommy guilt seems to come at the most inopportune times and in the most insidious ways.
Three Types of Mommy Guilt:
Type One: Personhood Pangs
These internal pangs tend to be in reaction to comments that your own mom can make about any and/or everything you do as a mother. These guilt-ridden comments can cover a wide range of topics from how you make a meal and dress to how you discipline your child. For example, statements as innocent as “Are you sure you want to …” or “You know (insert your child’s name) is just like …” can leave you feeling like you’re not enough or that something is wrong with you as a person.
Type Two: Parenting Pokes
The pokes can come mostly from sources external to your family. Comments like, “Why don’t you _(insert what you’re not doing)_…” or “Well, everyone (translation: every mom except you) is …,” can contribute to your feeling inadequate or not capable of parenting your child.
Type Three: Performance Pressure
Experiencing enough of these kinds of internal and external assaults on your personhood and your parenting ability can leave any mom questioning how well she is doing (i.e. performing) as a mother.
Which type of Mommy Guilt do you experience the most? Let me know.
In my next blog, Combatting Mommy Guilt, I’ll share some tips for how to address it.