My name is Amanda Braschuk. I’ve been married to my amazing husband Paul for 5 years, together for 8. He works away from home which can make life a little crazy when I’m parenting solo. My daughter Zoey is 2.5 years old, she is the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever seen. My son Asher is one, he is incredibly handsome and really mischievous. I also have two dogs who think they are human, which is only fair because in this house fur babies are family too!
Guilt – the one accessory no mother is ever lacking. Rarely will a day pass where I don’t feel guilty about something. It could be the kids, the house, my marriage, the dogs, friends, family, errands (the list goes on and on). The trouble is anything can turn into a source for feeling guilty. I was communicating an account of guilt to a friend of mine (in this instance I felt guilty for allowing my daughter on her tablet longer than usual so I could get some cleaning done) my friend replied saying “You feel guilty because you care! Amanda there are parents who allow kids on tablets, gaming devices or iPads all day without a thought. You aren’t perfect and your feelings are a reflection of your love for your kids and their well-being.” You feel guilty because you care – this brief, simple sentence stood out and resonated with me. Mom guilt is natural and is the end result of wanting to be a good mother to your children. Eliminating guilt as a mother appears next to impossible. Truthfully I have learned I have to embrace it or it will consume me entirely.
As a SAHM, I struggle with finding a balance between kids & the house. I play with the kids, take them on outings, to school and other activities. Dedicating most of my time to them eventually leads to my house looking like a hurricane blew through. It’s a double edged sword – I didn’t get the house clean because I was playing with the kids. I didn’t spend enough time with the kids because I was cleaning the house. I have realized perfection and parenting is an unreasonable expectation. If I am genuinely striving to be my best then my best is good enough. At the end of the day if my kids are content, nourished and loved then I am parenting very well. Who cares if the same load of laundry has been in the dryer for three days (I care a little bit) but play-doh took precedence once again. I have accepted allowing them to watch a movie on a nice day instead of taking them outside because if I didn’t organize the craft cupboards Martha Stewart herself would show up and I’m sure she would also have something to say about the unfinished laundry.
Sometimes guilt is a necessary emotion, serving as an internal alarm something may be awry. As opposed to wallowing in a guilt-ridden condition I realized the importance of determining why. Why am I experiencing guilt and what can be done to prevail over the sensation of guiltiness? Since concentrating on the why and the how, I began to recognize how unwarranted my guilt is in several situations.
Friend guilt – I feel like the worst friend at times. Planning anything with me more often than not has to be done around my kids’ schedules. Does Tuesday afternoon work? No I’m sorry, Asher has a dentist appointment. How about Thursday morning? No, Zoey has school. I feel awful, my friends have lives too, they are making an effort to spend time with me and I have inadequate time for them. Friend guilt, but why? My friends are aware I have children, they understand lives are busy. They love me and even with annoying agendas we remain friends and continue devising plans when we can. Besides, I am not the only person who has ever had prior commitments before being invited out for lunch. Why should I feel guilty over this? I shouldn’t. I’m working on it.
Wife guilt – Having two children in a period of 18 months certainly put my identity as wife on the back burner. I undeniably have difficulty being away from my kids which in return does not allow much time alone with my husband. I have felt guilty denying a date night with him (in exchange I have felt guilty asking someone to babysit so we have a night out together), I’ve felt guilty refusing to watch a movie with him because I’m exhausted and want to go to bed (I don’t care if its 8:30, I’m tired). I’ve felt guilty rejecting intimacy because being in contact with small bodies all day has left me touched-out. Wife guilt, but why? My husband knows how hard I strive to maintain a healthy family and household. On numerous occasions he has expressed how terrific I am as a Mother. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times he has conveyed his love for me, or told me how beautiful I am. He is my best friend, my confidant and my partner and at no time makes me feel inadequate. Why have I attributed guilt to circumstances I haven’t been obliged to feel guilty about? I shouldn’t. I’m working on it.
Guilt, by definition describes: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for an offense, crime, wrong etc., whether real or imagined. Some guilt can be beneficial and it’s a valid emotion to learn from. The true goal is separating the unjustified and unearned beliefs of guilt from the kind which can help us improve. At the end of the day negative guilt hinders what should be done to sustain healthy relationships. Applied correctly, guilt assists us in expressing empathy, connecting with the people we care about and identifying when changes must be made for positive settings. I assume a lot of mom guilt occurs from impractical expectations. We need to handle ourselves with more compassion and tenderness. We aren’t perfect and even through best intentions, our kids won’t be either! Relish in your journey and don’t be too hard on yourself. When reckless guilt starts worming in ask yourself why and you could possibly surprise yourself with the answers.