So, I started my diet last week. It’s more of a lifestyle change really, but this week I’m wondering why I added yet another thing to feel guilty about!
It’s bad enough that I feel guilty pretty much everyday about things that range from the mundane (forgetting to buy milo) to ridiculous (feeling guilty that I checked my phone twice when she was playing with her Barbies).
I feel guilty that I put Rachy in the naughty corner or that I did her an injustice and did not put her in the naughty corner enough! There’s guilt for letting her watch TV and there’s guilt for not letting her watch TV at all. I feel guilty when hubby and I talk too loud or when I stop her chatting over us.
When Rach was 14 months I tickled her and she laughed so much she threw her head back and knocked her forhead on the door edge. Her scar sometimes still makes me cry! When she was a little younger I ALMOST used surgical spirits on her gums instead of glycerine, since they were in similar bottles. That almost disaster still makes me shudder! The list goes on and on.
I’m also riddled with guilt about not spending enough time with Hunky Hubby, about making him feel like he isn’t as great a parent as I am, for nagging about random bits of nothing – despite knowing I’m still a work in progress myself!
Now by this time (Rach is turning 4 on Sunday and Hunky Hubby and I have been married 7 years) I know well and good that most of this is irrational. Over the years I have managed to prove to myself (worst possible critic) that I’m not just a good mum and wife, I even have some moments when I rate myself as really good. But still there’s this feeling that I could be doing things better, that they deserve more, that I need to not only be Rachy’s soft place to land but her role model showing her that imperfections are beautiful and that your size or hair does not define you, your essence does.
My guilt has resulted in me researching my own life and trying to eradicate anything close to self loathing. I never call myself fat in front of her, I watch how I talk about other people and always always show empahy and sympathy. Rach is exposed to every physical extra mural she shows interest in and she would happy choose a mango or grapes over a chocolate. I’ve learnt that I used to disguise my guilt as over protectiveness until I realised that that would definitely not be in her best interest and besides, it would be difficult to maintain that level of surveillance over her life when she turned 16!
I have no delusions. I do not want to be the cool mom or the “friend” mom or the mom that turned her into an unhappy perfectionist because I tried so hard to be perfect for her. I want to be the mom that didn’t make her feel bad by the constant “just a minute, I’m busy”, the mom that always chatted to her instead of over her, the mom that always kept her promises and never made promises that she couldn’t keep and the mom that didn’t just say no, but explained why that couldn’t happen at that time. I want to be the mom that might not have been perfect but that was always engaged and dedicated to helping her discover who she was meant to be…who she wants to be.
I know in 30 years I will still feel guilty about something or the other. Mom’s never think they do enough! But I hope that I feel guilty about the things that I felt, not anything that she experienced.
Sigh, so I’m going to eat that gooey cheese sandwich with her and share that piece of chocolate cake she keeps asking me to nibble on. I’m not going to feel guilty for the little spontaneous pleasures. I’m going to enjoy the essence of my little girl – guilt free!
As for Hunky Hubby, I’m going to start dating him again! Little notes will start appearing in his car and in the pockets of his work pants. I will cuddle with him instead of reclining on my favourite couch and I will love him for the amazing husband he is. After all, in 30 years when I look back, she’ll be with her family happy and healthy and dealing with her mummy guilt (maybe reading these words that her mummy left her) and he’ll be by my side reliving the memories.
Here’s to acknowledging the guilt and working through it!!!