Letting go of guilt
10:35 (GMT+2), Thu, 13 September 2012
Every mother is caught in the guilt trap at some point; the thing is not to get stuck there. You can’t feel content if you feel guilty that you haven’t done enough for your children or for choosing to do something for yourself without your child.
The truth is that many women need much more than being mothers to feel fulfilled; to feel as though they have an identity and a role that has more than one dimension.
What do moms feel guilty about?
Here’s how to minimise the feelings of guilt about not being home with your child. You can feel positive about being a working mom by:
- Not reading to their child every day.
- Resorting to DVDs and TV when their child’s grumpy or when they are too tired to play with him.
- Not providing enough materially – clothes, a house, a big garden, enough toys (how many toys would be enough?).
- Working and being tired in the evenings.
- Taking time out to do something for themselves.
- Not being able to get their child to eat healthily.
- Damaging their baby in some way during pregnancy
- Their child not sleeping through the night or sleeping in the parents’ bed.
- Sending a child to playschool.
- Being a single mother.
- Not spending enough time with their child.
- Not stimulating their child enough or over-stimulating their child.
- Getting angry and upset with an upset child or one who’s having a tantrum
- Not having enough patience with their child.
- Finding a crèche or playschool you feel will nurture your child and that will allow for last-minute emergency care when necessary.
- Ensuring you have a good support system: people who understand your situation and know you want to do as much as possible for your child.
- Focusing on the positive things you bring to your family.
- Recognising you’re an individual with interests and passions beyond your role as a mother, and using this energy to boost your confidence and your spirit.
A working mom can encourage children to be independent and responsible, as they have to rely more on themselves when their mom isn’t there. This situation also means they must rely on others and create attachments with other people. It also sets a good example – that money doesn’t just come from nowhere and that working is a normal thing most people have to do in order to live. Moms’ job can also help kids see their mothers as multidimensional – she isn’t just a ‘mommy’, she can do other important jobs too. Children of working moms are also often exposed to more children and more fun.
Mothers mustn’t be so hard on themselves because you are only one influence on your child’s life. Fathers, grandparents, teachers, friends, babysitter, coaches, etc. can affect a child’s well-being, too. Allow your child to benefit from quality time spent with others who care about him. parenting, baby, toddler, preschooler, Ruth Rehbock