Over the last couple of weeks I have heard loads of stories of mum guilt from girlfriends in my inner circle, and even my outer circle for that matter.
( Incidentally The Circles by Kerry Armstrong is a wonderful book. If you haven't read it you must - it gives great insight into the ebb and flow of friendships and can be quite cathartic to use)
Mums guilt, I don't know if its the moons arc or the stars alignment but there's certainly been loads of minds lost at children of all ages of late and the guilt that comes in waves afterwards can be deep and hard to self forgive. (Trust me, the kids are over it wayyyyyyy before we are)
I lost my mind recently (and legitimately in my opinion) at my dear Teen - there was a fire safety issue and I lost my cool with her unconcerned attitude towards her Biology experiment in our home. Aforesaid teen - that night over the dishes told me straight out that I swear too much. She thinks I swear too much with my primary school child within earshot and in fact she considers that I swear too much in general. OK Judge Judy I thought to myself - you turned out pretty great and so odds are that he will too. But either way, it has been a week now and I am still feeling the guilt of her words so much so that I haven't let another swear word slip. Unrelated - this same teenager also told me that I didn't 'parent' her enough in the first term of this school year. And with that in mind she didn't get the result in Maths that she wanted.
This was of course my fault. More guilt.
Come Term Two and I am consciously 'parenting' her. I've said no to two teenage parties so far and I can only imagine how she would be internally regretting those words.
But the guilt still hangs heavy.
I don't focus on the good and great and selfless things that I do for my children, I am solely focused on my lack of being able to control my frustration in a moment of weakness.
I think we can all agree that when we do lose it, it is more about us and how we are feeling than what our dear children have actually done at that particular moment. Another time, in a less stressed situation and mood (different star and moon alignment perhaps) I could have reacted very differently. Perhaps I could have calmly turned the car around to go back home that morning and silently attended to the Halogen Lamp in the cardboard box that was threatening to burn our home down unattended that day for 8 hours straight.
But we can't go back in time and do it again differently, so we have to move on. Sometimes apologising is necessary - I have always been a firm believer in apologising if I was in the wrong - even if I wasn't - apologising for my reaction and behaviour to the situation is just good parenting.
Mothering is not easy, it can be really bloody hard. To keep level headed 365 days a year with all of life stresses would be a true mission. In fact, any Mum who could tell me with hand on heart that they can must be a Celestial Being.
Furthermore, I'm confident that I'm not alone in admitting to the destruction of something belonging to one of our dear children in frustration. For me it was a Nintendo DS - oh and the mum guilt was rife! This was something that deserved an apology for obvious reasons - and gosh was I sorry. Devices are three times the price now and so I am mindful of keeping them in tact and gently placing them down when removing them from children's fingers.
Mums, we are all perfect and imperfect. We love, we laugh, we cry, we get cranky, we hug, we rear, we nurture, we cook, we clean, we work, we play, we help, we teach, we carry, we are EVERYTHING to our children. And with that in mind - it begs the question that they actually may NEED to see us lose our "Sh!t" from time to time. For how else can they learn how to resolve their own feelings and apologies after they've behaved badly through frustration.
So feel the guilt when you lose it if you must (and we must). But then apologise for your part and just perhaps you'll get an apology in return for the part played in your melt down by your dear child.