guilt – noun
“A cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse.”
Before giving birth, as a mother to be, you have endless anxieties. The greatest anxiety is will you be a good mother? Having faith in yourself is not enough to assure you that you will be. I have found that as you grow as a mother, you keep asking yourself questions such as “am I doing enough to provide for my child?”
A mother’s guilt is the feeling of helplessness that kicks in when life calls and you have to leave your child with someone else to tend to it. When you’re pressured to think that if your life doesn’t revolve around your child, you’re not a good mother. This leads to you feeling guilty and trying to compensate for neglecting your child (read: creating a good life for your child by going to work).
I was fortunate enough to have a mother who is a professional teacher and was fully present in my life. She was available for doctors and dentist’s appointments. I never felt neglected. Now I am a mother to a gorgeous 7 month old, a working mum navigating through life and mother’s guilt daily, fighting to not let it consume me.
Before giving birth, I made a conscious decision to take care of myself so I could take better care of my daughter. I decided to be a kick ass mum by creating a norm that will allow me to not only be fully present in my daughter’s life but teach her to own herself. My mum’s life never revolved around me. She was fully present but never made me her identity. Because of this, I have been able thus far to have a productive day at work without breaking down every two hours because my daughter feels abandoned by my not being by her side 24/7. Don’t ya’ll get tired of starring at your kids all day? I know I do.
I asked some mothers on social media how they deal with mother’s guilt, and this was the best response:
“You have to work on yourself… everyday. Tell yourself you are doing your best, take away the bars set by society on you because you will never reach them. But the trick is to REALLY do your best. Keep your integrity. When you are tired you are tired, when you are able to be there, be there. But stay true to yourself and be honest with yourself.” – Mpho Nokwakha Mokoena
The truth is, you’re a human being and soul before being a mother. When you neglect yourself in an effort to take care of your child you are not only damaging yourself but your child too. Parenting has little to do with your child. When you become a parent, your child becomes a mirror. There are bits of you that can only be seen in your child. Question is, why inherit something that will take away from you and your child instead of adding value?