By nature, I’m a worry-wart.
By nurture, I was raised Catholic.
Hence, feeling guilty and worrying are extracurricular activities for me.
Enter stage right, motherhood.
Worry. Guilt. Mother. The perfect storm for feeling clueless, frustrated, disappointed, overwhelmed and constant self-doubt. I’m gifted in this absolutely ridiculous, thoroughly useless, talent of thinking I’m a failure as a mother.
You wouldn’t believe the smack I can manufacture into my worry–guilty–mother world!
I can look at Ana Lu’s poop and next thing I know it’s time to call social services and have my ass hauled away because I’m such a shitty mother (pun intended). If it’s too runny well than I must have given her too much apple juice, which means her teeth are going to rot and fall out of her mouth so she’ll need dentures by her 6th birthday. If it’s too hard well than I must’ve not given her enough vegetables. Or worse, I gave her enough vegetables but didn’t make her eat them. So by not following thru on directions she will never learn to listen to authority and will be a juvenile delinquent, arrested and thrown in juvie by 11 years old.
All this, dentures and juvie, because of poop. A healthy, normal poop of a 5 year old casts me into bad mother hell.
I mean seriously, what the hell is that?! If I were watching that absurd thought process cycling through the mind of a friend I’d be like, “Seriously, Sweet Mama, what is your gig? Chill out. You’re doing fine. Is you’re kid alive? Yes. Eating? Yes. Doing your best? Yes. Well then. You’re a fantastic mom! Rock on with your bad self, Girlfriend!”
But beating ourselves up for not being “good enough” moms is what I’ve noticed myself, and several of my sweet mommy friends, do on a consistent basis. Especially those of us wired with worry and raised with guilt.
I complained to a friend how I sucked as a mother and could never seem to get to the place where I felt as though I gave Ana Lu everything she needed or deserved. And with the peace of the Dalai Lama in her heart and voice, Andrea turned to me– knowing what my answer would be– and she proceeded to gently and confidently ask, “Does Ana Lu feel loved?”
My rant stopped. I paused. Slight nod. Huh. Good point.
“Yeah. Yeah, I can say that. That’s one thing. She definitely knows she’s loved.”
A smirk crossed her face, “Well, there you go.” My sweet friend knew before asking me that Ana Lu felt loved. And she knew that I knew Ana Lu felt loved.
Freed from the weight of worry and guilt, I felt instant peace.
Nowadays I can often find the rational me deep within the superficial irrational me; and oftentimes I can talk myself out of whatever current guilt-worry scenario I’ve backed myself into, “So what. So Ana Lu will need therapy when she grows up. Big freakin’ deal. Who doesn’t?”
So I plan on it.
Savings for college. Savings for therapy. Done. Carry-on with imperfect mothering.
I hope you Pretty Mamas will join me in taking the day off from worry and guilt and revel in Amy Morrison’s articulate encouragement and the peace within the knowledge that your child feels loved. Why You’re Never Failing As A Mother by Amy Morrison
Now. Carry-on with your imperfect mothering too. That’s an order.
FROM AMY’S ARTICLE: