Mommy Guilt. Is It Possible To Be A Mom And Never Feel It? This Mom Doesn't Think So.
Mommy Guilt. It's so different than any other type of guilt, at least for me. I don't really feel guilt. I do my best not to do anything that would make me feel guilty -- basically, anything that I know is wrong -- and if I make a mistake, I do everything I can to remedy it. I have a strong sense of right and wrong, or at least what I consider right and wrong, and I try to live by that. I treat people fairly, but I don't allow people to treat me unfairly. It seemed like such a simple concept -- you do your best to make good decisions, and if you make a mistake, you do your best to fix it, apologize, make it better... And then I became a mom. And all of my principles flew out the window. Sort of the way "I'll never stop going to the gym several times a week" and "my toes will always be perfectly pedicured" did. I'll admit that I don't feel Mommy Guilt often at all, but when I do...yuck. I recently posted about mommy guilt after I interviewed Dr. Yvonne Thorton for an article about breastfeeding -- Women shouldn't fee guilt over breastfeeding decisions. I received a few tweets and one email from women who said they needed to hear that. They needed to hear that they were still good mommies if they weren't able to or chose not to breastfeed. And even though they are smart women who make good mom decisions for themselves and their children, they still felt it. At some point, I think most moms feel Mommy Guilt -- at least a little bit. Like I said, I'm not at all prone to guilt, but I can think of a few occasions where I felt Mommy Guilt. Badly. They weren't situations where the decisions I made were life-altering or a result of carelessness, but no matter. Mommy guilt is a strong emotion. One was allowing my daughter to cry herself to sleep one night. I know, I know, it's not that big of a deal. But we adopted our children and it was very important to me that they never "cry it out." I managed to never allow my son to cry it out, even though he woke up all night long (literally -- all. night. long.) for a very long time. We didn't allow my daughter to cry it out, either...except one night, I was sick -- very, very sick and had been for a long time -- and alone (my husband was traveling for work) and on my gazzilionth night of not sleeping for more than half an hour at a time, three or four hours total...and I sort of had a mini meltdown. I laid her in the crib, walked out of her room, shut the door, hit the floor in the hallway and cried. In a little ball. It was amazingly pathetic. And by the time I was done crying, she'd cried herself to sleep. I had let her cry it out. The horror! But I felt bad. So bad, in fact, that I told her pediatrician at the next appointment. I told her how I was sure I'd ruined our chances at a healthy attachment! I'd mess it all up! I'd ruined our lives! Yes, Mommy Guilt made me a little crazy. Pathetic, right? Her pediatrician, who was also my son's pediatrician and who knew us well, laughed at me and assured me that it was okay. I needed to hear that. It didn't make the guilt disappear, but it lessened it. That's the other silly thing I found about Mommy Guilt, at least for me. Validation from someone who "knew" -- who was a professional -- seemed to help...at least a little. I don't need validation in my life, but when her pediatrician told me, "It's fine!" I exhaled. So I guess I needed a little validation. I can actually recall the times I've felt pangs of Mommy Guilt, so I suppose I should be lucky that it's not a frequent thing. But I do think it's something most moms feel at one point or another. How about you? Do you ever feel Mommy Guilt? How do you handle it?