Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nobody warned me about the guilt.

Much has been written lately by me, and on other blogs about the advice, questions, comments etc that people randomly spew at you when you're pregnant, and when you have young babies/kids.

What nobody warns you about however, is the guilt.

When I raise my voice a little higher than is necessary because Miss E pees on the carpet for the nth time - GUILT.

When I clip her legs for yet another potentially harmful swat, kick, throw or blow at her baby brother, because reasoning, pleading, and calmly and consistently exercising the time out option, never work - GUILT.

When I start drinking Aloe Vera juice to help with my persistent recurring patches of eczema on my arms, fingers and eyelids without first checking if it's okay while breastfeeding. When my baby squirms in discomfort, seems unsettled and cranky, off his food and I then check about the Aloe Vera and discover that it is contraindicated when breastfeeding because it causes cramping and diarrhea in breastfed babies - MAJOR GUILT!

When I am exploring preschool for Miss E because I think she'll benefit from a couple of hours, a couple of days a week away from us, playing in a different setting, interacting with peers etc, but then honestly admit that I think I'll benefit from it more - GUILT.

When I see my baby boy accomplish a new task, and realise that he's been doing it for a while and I have no idea when he started and remembering that with his sister I practically documented every new wave of her hand - GUILT.

That Miss E has terrible sleeping habits, reinforced by the fact that by the time 'bed-time' comes I am so tired that I take the path of least resistance and don't enforce a bedtime routine because I can't face the crying or the tantrums and so I lie with her, or let her run around til she's tired enough to fall asleep and carry her into bed. That I further reinforce bad sleeping habits by letting her into our bed when she comes during the night and then proceeds to kick and toss because she's too warm, or she's too uncomfortable and we all end up with a crap night's sleep. That I give in to 3am demands for a cup of milk because who the heck wants a screaming match in the middle of the night? - and I dread to think the effect this will have on her teeth - GUILT.

When I listen to others tell me about potty training 'she's so smart, she'll get it in no time', 'it'll just click with her', 'she really should be trained by now','it's just like training a dog, you need to take her to the potty every 30 minutes', 'insert your own annoying potty training tips here, ad infinitum', when instead, I should have listened to my daughter and realised that for whatever reason it's not clicking with her, and she's not ready. That instead of having unreasonable expectations of her, it won't be the end of the world if she's not potty trained by her third birthday, nor does it matter that she's still in diapers and all of her little friends are not - GUILT.

That Miss E has just said 'Shit' after dropping her crackers and cheese on the floor - because she hears me say that all too frequently - GUILT.

These examples only scratch the surface of what brings 'mommy guilt' on a daily basis. Knowing about it beforehand would probably do little to lessen it's effect on me, but at least I could have expected it. Maybe this guilt is a good thing - although feeling guilty about these things makes me feel like a crap mom, perhaps not feeling guilty about them would make me an even worse mom? At least if I feel guilty, and uncomfortable - I'm more likely to change and do better.

22 comments:

feener said...

Ah the guilt, it really is an every minute thing. right now, i feel guilty b/c i am doing this and not talking with my kids....i try to explain to hubby but i do not think he understands at all. That every single choice we make leads us to feel guilty in same way.

The Good Woman said...

I think we all know what you mean - it's just that we don't all admit to it.

I completely hear you on the preschool front. Bambi goes for two mornings a week - and, if I'm truly honest, that's all about me. That said she does enjoy it and it is no hardship for her. So the guilt has passed.

andi said...

Ya. The guilt is a total bitch, but I'm sure you're far from a crap mom. What makes me mad about the guilt too is that it is an affliction that only seems to affect moms - am I wrong or is there no such thing as daddy guilt?

Brillig said...

I hear ya. The guilt is a rite of passage for mothers, for sure. It gets us all. Ick.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

This whole chapter was left out of the parenting brochure that came with my kids. Everything we do or don't do leads to guilt. I wonder if dads feel as much guilt?

Elsie Button said...

the mummy guilt is awful - worse than any other guilt.

love your blog by the way. thanks for coming to mine.

Kimberly said...

Wow...you expressed that so well! And every siutation you listed? Been there/Am there, Done that/Doing that.

Absolutely Bananas said...

OMG Annie I so totally hear you. That was the thing that KILLED me when I was working. If there was one thing I wish I could tell my former self, it's this (and I'm telling YOU since I don't have a time machine)- try as hard as you can to ease up on the guilt. Take time for yourself. You are an amazing mother. Your children are truly blessed to have you. Don't be so hard on yourself!!

Annie said...

Daddy guilt? I don't hear of it or see much evidence of it. No husband guilt either ;) - I'm sure the Daddies who read this blog may have a different view.

Tinamtl said...

I know what you mean. And I do too. ALL THOSE THINGS and more LOL.

(Ps I am so with you on the potty training...)

I was just with another mom the other day - spent the morning with her and her two boys (young.) And I had previously thought that her kids (3 and 5) were MUCH better behaved then my 3 yr old...but turns out - they are the same. (after spending a long period of time together). They do the same things. That whining song..kwim. Naughty things. Etc.

I think we all go through the same things but some moms are in denial, or don't discuss it just to make themselves look perfect, to make us feel bad. LOL.

My advice (if youwant it LOL) is not to give in to them. When we give in...it just FUELS the fires for the next time. And the next time it gets worse. Sometimes we have to be in command. lol. As hard as it is. Sometimes they need a reality check LOL. To know who has the power haha. And don't feel guilty for it because in the end youare teaching them to behave. They'll thank you later muhaha

I want you to read an older blog of mine. Be right back to give you the url. ;0)

Tinamtl said...

http://thoughts-n-wonders.blogspot.com/2007/05/perfect-mother.html

Mrs. Schmitty said...

Guilt is my middle name. I feel your pain, you are definitely not alone!

P.S. Thanks for dropping by my place and for your nice comment!

Iota said...

You're doing your best and that is what counts. You're totally normal. We are all expected to have ridiculously high standards for ourselves as parents, but in the end, if you love your kids and spend time with them, what else matters? Your kids need to know that life isn't perfect, that adults have their faults, that Mummy is human too. And my dentist told me that milk has no sugar in it, so it is fine to give it as a bedtime drink AFTER cleaning teeth.

~JJ! said...

Yup. I feel the guilt too...Especially about the potty training crap.

My daughter is 3+ and still not even close...Why can't I just accept that she'll do it on her own time...?

You are not alone in the guilt...I do feel it.

Shauna said...

There is no guilt like mommy-guilt.

Iota said...

Someone gave me a good piece of advice, which was "if it works for the parents, it works for the children". Clearly you can't push this to its limits, but re your child going to nursery, I think it makes sense. Happy Mum, happy kids. Accepting that you have needs too is ok (I feel guilty even just writing that).

shauna said...

The guilt can drive you mad. I feel it daily, for one thing or another. I think that we mothers are far too hard on ourselves (I'll say this now and then succomb to guilt tomorrow morning over having my kids watch cartoons while I finish a freelance assignment. Argh.)

Rebecca said...

yeah - I think the guilt and the constant questioning of every single decision e make simply goes with the territory.

Just remember, as long as you love your kids and make them feel secure and show them that you are interested in them..... they'll be fine. all the rest is just small stuff.

Annie said...

Thank you all!

thordora said...

I'm beginning to think that guilt functions as a way for us to ask question to ourselves that we might otherwise not ask. Not in a bad way, but as an early system to make sure we cover our bases.

That said, I don't think it's helped me feel the guilt any less. But it passes, your mourn it, and life throws new challenges at you.

You sometimes need to just face the guilt, and try to move past it. Or you'll go nuts.

Lainey-Paney said...

I think it's great that you posted about this...because I think soooo many of us can identify with the guilt...

Nic said...

Annie, I could have written this myself! We all could have.

By the way, don't feel guilty about the preschool! While off with RYan, I kept Keira in daycare 2 days a week. I did it for her so that she would have a couple of days to do something about her and her friends. I did it for Ryan so that he would have a couple of days just about him. I did it for me so that I would have a couple of days off from a toddler each week! All of them turned out to be fabulous reasons and we have all beneifited from it!

You are such a good writer! I love reading these. I wish you had sent them to me sooner!