The Ever-Guilty Mom Syndrome- a syndrome that is lesser known but highly prevalent!
Parenting is tough, super tough! It makes you borderline paranoid (made me one at least!) and then, when you start assessing yourself according the benchmarks set by the world, friends, family or yourself, you are consumed with guilt. Every night before I go to bed, I have this gnawing feeling inside of me that maybe I shouted too much on my daughter today, maybe I lost my cool too soon and that I could have been a better mom. I resolve to change it all the next day and go to sleep. The next day, I begin with my promise and all goes well till about the time she refuses to brush or get ready for school. We both are back to the square one and the night again has me lamenting myself and doubting my capabilities as a mother. I suffer from the Ever Guilty Mom Syndrome! Sounds familiar?
I understand the importance of spending quality time with my daughter but there are times when I cannot due to work commitments or writing deadlines. I feel awful when I don’t give her time and guilt creeps in again while I see it doesn’t affect fathers as much. Is it inherently in us as women or do we sub-consciously create it?
I know it is not just me but a lot of mothers feel the same. We are living today in a world where tolerance is low and everyone is quick at passing judgments. The worst thing we can do is start judging ourselves too. While it is indeed pertinent to have a self consciousness, it is not healthy to criticize yourself all the time. I am trying to unlearn the behaviour as I don’t feel it is helping me in anyway.
Mothers are born just at the same time as the babies, so we are learning the art, especially with the first-borns. It is okay to make mistakes, it is okay to not be perfect. We must try to be as patient as possible with our children but I don’t believe anymore that losing cool once in a while makes us ‘monsters’.
Some days when she refuses to get ready and insists on wearing mismatched clothes, I let her do it. Though people stare at me in the market and probably think I don’t care about her, I really don’t mind. Either my child will understand that she is oddly dressed or just be happy that she got to wear what she wanted. I don’t really have much to lose in this. Tough, but trying!
It is my job to try and inculcate in her an interest in studies. Note the emphasis on try. Her grades don’t assess my motherhood skills and I need to understand that. Similarly, her height and weight charts are not my grade cards, no matter what the elders in the family may say. They must not make me feel guilty as a mom.
I think we need to cut ourselves some slack and enjoy the experience of motherhood. We get so busy in trying to be the perfect mom that we stop cherishing being a mom and it is not long before children grow up, leaving us thinking again. So, I have decided to keep my motherhood aims low and enjoy the journey instead of trying to excel at the race…is there a race in the first place? Of course there are many women I meet who make motherhood seem so easy and their children seem to have come with a manual and function perfectly according to it. It is natural to be envious but I try not to let it dishearten me. Every child is different, so is every mom! I am the best mom to my daughter so that pretty much kills the competition. Why do I have to force-create it by competing with myself?
I think if I can go through the day without shouting at my daughter, make her finish her meal in less than an hour, spend quality time with her irrespective of the quantity, tell her a story at bedtime and get a ‘Love you’ and Good night kiss back, it is more than enough. Even if I can’t do one or more on some days, it is okay. I know my kid is not judging me and that is all that matters.
All you mothers who suffer from the Ever-Guilty Mom Syndrome like me, come join me in detoxifying from this vicious cycle by taking one day at a time. Motherhood is beautiful, let us not complicate it! If you have used another technique and it worked for you, do share with me here.