A couple of months ago, while locking horns with my 5-year-old I realized an unusual thing.
As children, we look up to our parents as being the ideal, perfect human beings who are never wrong and mean our wellness even when they scold or punish us.
But the day we become parents, we begin to see our parents as humans who were trying to be their best to make our lives wonderful.
This is a transformation that every parent goes through where we learn to see our parents in a kinder light after donning the cape of a parent.
But still, in our hearts, we never give up the yearning to play the ideal role models for our children.
The very notion of mommy guilt (not sure if there is anything like daddy guilt) revolves around this idea (or perhaps the desire) of being a perfect parent.
Plagued by self-doubt, burdened by our definition of what an ideal mother ought to do in any given situation, we mothers gauge our actions and score ourselves.
Needless to say, we don’t hesitate in being rather ruthless and choose to wallow in self-pity for being less than the best parent our children deserve.
I am no different.
But, have we ever stopped to reflect on this perpetual guilt to see why should we be suffering for being who we were born to be?
Why can’t we accept ourselves as we are and learn to live with this idea peacefully?
Maybe, cause we want our children to have the very best of everything. Ourselves included.
And best is most
aptly conveniently described by ‘perfection’ despite our full knowledge of the fact that perfection is nothing but an illusion. In short, we parents are forever chasing an elusive version of ourselves and still want our children to believe that we are sane and perfect role models.
The most disturbing part of this whole equation is, our offspring are pretty content and very much in love with our present selves, but we keep denying it.
The outcome is, we’re chasing a mirage of an ideal parent, our children are chasing us hoping to hold on to us to make us believe that they truly, madly, deeply love us.
And instead of stopping to love our children we are floundering in our failures (that are nothing more than a figment of our imagination) and making our lives miserable with unfathomable guilt.
Motherhood, especially being a single mom often feels like a game of guilt management.
Often the guilt is overwhelming and debilitating.
Sometimes just a low simmer, but I can feel it burn right there. The inadequacy or rather the feeling of not being enough or good enough is ever ready to nourish the guilt.
All it does is to pump shame and a general feeling of incompetence despite our best efforts to be the loving, caring parents our children need.
Is the Mom Guilt worth losing our peace of mind over?
Not very long ago, I was plagued by this idea of becoming a perfect parent and started beating myself up, emotionally, for failing to be the textbook example of the same.
I feared to ruin my child’s future just because I let her eat junk often, I am lax in my ways of disciplining her (being permissive at times) and so on. As you can imagine, I was a complete mess and as a result, my relationship with my child suffered big time.
One fine day, while I had Pari hug me tight, I uttered: “I’m a bad mommy”.
That was when Pari jolted me out of my reverie.
“No Mumma, you are a darling mummy. You do everything I love and that is all I ask for.”
It was then realization jolted me out of my slumber.
I am trying my best to make life work with whatever is in my control. My child is content with the life we lead and still, I’m not at a happy place.
Simply the acknowledgement that life’s good in its flawed, imperfect form.
The rugged, cracked corners exist to allow the light of pure love to fill our lives.
That’s when turning to gratitude has proved helpful.
Every day, I am training myself to focus on the positives without wasting time or energy comparing them with the yardstick of an ‘ideal situation‘.
I’m beginning to love the flawed yet fabulous mother in me, just like my daughter does.
Yes, I still have my moments of self-doubt. Times when mom guilt comes raring at me. But I no longer fear it.
I have learnt to acknowledge my weaknesses.
I am now a confident mom who trusts herself (almost) as much as her child has faith in her goodwill.
I’ve embraced my insecurities and have made peace with mom guilt and my imperfect self for good.
What about you?