Guilt creeps into my mind almost every day. Sometimes it’s sudden and prevalent; sometimes it’s subtle and unnoticeable. Nonetheless, it’s there, daily—hovering over my mind, and momentarily crumbling my role as wife, mother, and caretaker into pieces.
Mom guilt: it’s a disease with no cure, a problem with no remedy. Whether it’s for not having a clean home, or not serving the perfect balanced meal; whether it’s for not playing with my daughter, or not allotting the right time for sleep, guilt makes me feel like I’m not enough—that despite my unending efforts, I still lose; I still fail.
It’s a burden I shoulder with every mother out there—stay at home, work at home, working part time or full—it’s just another integral part of the “job” for us; a hurdle we didn’t anticipate. In fact, motherhood has become so riddled with guilt, it’s somehow become an inherent trait, a rite of passage for us all.
Audre Lorde (author of Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches) once said, “guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge.
And she’s right. Guilt should not diminish us as mothers. It should open our eyes, educate us, remind us of who we are as parents, as professionals, as passionate human beings. So starting today, I will face guilt instead of cower; starting today guilt will no longer control me. Instead of wallowing in its depths, instead of beating myself up for it, I’ll embrace guilt with open arms and allow it to remind me that:
- I am an aspiring writer—holding a pen with a purpose and hopefully impacting the world one eloquent phrase at a time.
- I am not super human—that I need time to myself—to be well mentally and physically, so that my family thrives instead of faltering.
- I am doing my best: that despite all the experiences that I should’ve amassed, I’m still looking for ways to be better—as a writer, as a mother, as a wife.
So if you ask me: mom guilt should be embraced a bit tighter. It shouldn’t drown me in sorrow but bathe me in the reassurance that I am enough, even on those days that I feel like I’m not.