What exactly is this thing called “Mommy Guilt”, I want to know. Women’s Web is using it as the theme for a contest . I wonder, why and how did I manage to escape this affliction that seems to plague the majority of present day moms?
Yes, you heard that right. I have managed to elude “Mommy Guilt” till date, even though my mommyhood is already 10 years old.
Oh! but please DO NOT take this statement to be a proclaimation of the self as “The Perfect Mom”!!…NO, not by a long shot!!! I fumble and fall every now and then. But, I just refuse to stay down and wallow in guilt. I get up once again, give myself just enough time to shake off that dust, and then start walking soon enough.
To err, they say, is human. And did I stop being “Human” the day I became a mother?? No, I am sure I did not. The stereotypical image of the Mother makes me assume that Divinity descends on a woman as soon as she gives birth to a child. But apparantly Divinity decided to give me a skip. 😀 Far from becoming the selfless, flawless and a know-it-all being , I continue to experience the usual human frailities. Thankfully, I am still human. 😀 And frankly, I don’t find this reason enough to feel guilty. 😀
As far as I can see, all the various reasons for feeling the “Mommy guilt” can be broadly classified into two categories: (1) Not knowing “better”(2) Being “selfish”.
How could I have known “better”??? As a human being and also as parent, learning is an ongoing process, which is going to continue to the very last day of my life! Although today I do know a bit more than I did yesterday, I am aware that I cannot possibly be Omniscient. I do not and cannot know everything about anything, and that includes parenting. So to be fair, I cannot punish myself today by feeling guilty for yesterday’s “wrongs” because they appear “wrong” by hindsight. The human handicap of limited knowledge also includes the inability to look into the future and know what will be the repercussion of the actions or decisions that I am taking today.
Our Ideal Mom might be either the”Mom Divine” or the “Super Mom”. Any action by the mom that is even remotely perceived as “selfish”, will be looked down upon in both the avtaars . Mom-Divine treads so high above the ground that such “baser” thoughts cannot possibly touch her.
And the “Super Mom”?? she manages everything so well that she not only has time for each and every thing that needs to be done for and with the child, but she accomplishes it all to perfection. She is super efficient, you see and her child is a picture of perfection.So, can this “Super Mom” ever be selfish?? She has not need to!!! You see, she finishes off her maternal duties so quick that she has time for EVERYTHING, including herself. So you see, there is never the question of conflict.
To spare ourselves the agony of repeated guilt trips, we HAVE to realise that both these images -Mom Divine and Super Mom- are not realistic. As a “Human Mom”I might not be the Perfect Mom for my child, but I know that I really am doing my level best and NO ONE-including myself-can doubt that.
I do not aspire to fit into the job-description of either Mom-Divine or the Super-Mom because frankly. to me, this appears to be humanly impossible.
And the last time I checked, I was still human. 😀