Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mother's Guilt: There's Nothing Quite Like It

I'm a working mom and sometimes I feel that equates mother's guilt. Then again plenty of stay-at-home moms often talk about their bouts with guilt. Truth is, we're all prone to it. Moms, dads... Anyone in a child's life often deals with guilt and doubt. 

For me, mother's guilt is often the by-product of how I chose "tough love" in a behavioral situation or when I cannot be at school functions because of work. There's nothing quite like hearing your child's disappointment and seeing it written all over their faces when they know you'll be missing a school function because of work commitments. 

My son has back-to-school night in a week or so and I'll be at a conference out-of-state that day. No matter how many different ways I explained this trip was planned months in advance, mom had no control over flight schedules and I had no clue I'd miss this event, all my son heard and seems to understand is only one thing: "mom will not be there."

My son immediately crossed his hands in disappointment murmuring "all you care about is work." There's the dagger. Bring on the aching guilt. For a mother that lives for her children, I try to understand him and know he doesn't fully mean that and deep down he knows how much I love HIM. But the truth is, I am missing back-to-school night. I'll feel guilty the entire flight home thinking about what I'm missing and the excitement in my son's face as he shares stories about his new classmates and teacher with his dad, NOT me. 

Yet, I can't let guilt completely win. Positivity is greater than guilt and it must take over in times like these. It does my parenting soul good. And as they say, "conflict calls for creativity!" 

Firstly, I recognize guilt for what it is. I quickly do my best to snap out of the turmoil guilt causes and shift into a place of action. I'll communicate with my son about how much I wish I could have been there even if he's the one laying on the guilt. I'll then use a creative way to make my presence felt. Maybe it's a simple note in his backpack the day-of wishing him luck or a special treat his teacher hands him that night i.e. sweet treat delivery from mom: who wishes she could be here. In fact, I'm thinking of penciling in an alternate pseudo back-to-school night just for us.

So I'll work the creative angle this time while I valiantly wait for the next inevitable sting of mother's guilt. I'll wait, ready to defeat it. All mommas are imperfectly human and in our humanity is a little bit of the good, the bad and the guilty!

Comment below and tell us how you handle an all-to-common bout of mother's guilt?

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