Monday, May 18

How to Handle Mom Guilt

All good moms have Mom Guilt. It's the nagging voice in your head that whispers things such as: 

 I should have eaten better when I was pregnant.

 I didn't breastfeed long enough, or wait, was it too long? 

 I gave my kids too much candy and now they will end up in prison. 

 Red dye? Does that mean the cherry drink they sucked down all last summer might have stunted their learning? 

I should have KNOWN her eye sight was bad BEFORE they sent the letter home from school. 

I think you get the idea. Mom Guilt can drive you insane and make you doubt yourself. It starts when we find out we are pregnant and goes nonstop from there on out. It doesn't end when your kids move away from home. It's there, waiting to jump out at you when you least expect it. It makes you question all of your decisions involving your children.

It's up to us to talk back to our Mom Guilt. Get in it's face and say: I'm a good mom. My kids WILL be okay. I'm nurturing them and doing my best. Don't let the "experts" tell you that you aren't doing things the right way. Read advice and ask questions, but follow your gut. Learning is good. Asking questions is also good. Believing everything you read on the internet or view on television is bad. 

Your mom instincts are important. Don't ignore them. Sometimes you have to push aside the Mom Guilt to get to them, but they are there and they are awesome. I have an example of a situation where I didn't follow my instincts and later wished I had. 

My son had a dry cough on and off for a couple of years. We have a family doctor. We'd been in for all the check-ups. I'd asked questions, but was politely told it was fine and not to worry. I KNEW it wasn't just a dry throat. We moved into the country and one weekend my son had an asthma attack. After taking him in to the ER, they FINALLY figured out he had mild, allergy induced asthma. Lo and behold, they gave him an inhaler to use once a day, and prescribed an allergy medicine.  No more dry cough. No more bronchitis. Amazing.

Doctors have the education and the skills, but they don't know our kids like we do. My INSTINCT told me something was wrong and I pushed it aside. I should have trusted myself and pushed harder for answers, but I didn't. Instead of feeling guilty about what happened, I use the experience to remind myself that I need to trust my instincts. 

Over the years, I have heard from many moms who worry they aren't doing something correctly when it comes to their children. I have found that when a person worries they aren't doing it "right", they tend to be a loving parent who wants the best for their children, which is why they are questioning themselves. Mom Guilt is busy whispering in their ears, causing them to doubt everything they've done as a parent.

Moms, and Dads, need to have more faith in themselves and their instincts. Look the doctors, dentists, teachers and experts in the face and tell them you don't agree, or that the situation needs to be looked into further. Ask for other options, second opinions or better explanations. Don't give in unless you are satisfied with the answers you are given.

As parents, we know our children better than anyone. Don't let someone tell you differently, including yourself.

Repeat to yourself (while looking Guilt in the face): I am a good parent. My kids WILL be okay. I'm nurturing them and doing my best. 

Now, make yourself a cup of tea and give yourself a break. You deserve it.

The Last of the Roses in Autumn

The milkweed pods are breaking,   And the bits of silken down   Float off upon the autumn breeze   Across the meadows brown. ~C...