Guilt and Mothering

Posted 03-17-2012 at 06:56 AM by Krista

Growing up, I thought my mother was a bad mother. I vowed never to be anything like her, and to this day, I try to stick to that vow. I grew up feeling that everything I did was wrong: my clothing was always too baggy, but when I’d wear what she wanted she deemed it too tight. I still cringe when I remember her saying, “My God, you look like you can barely breathe!”

My hair style was wrong, what I chose to do with my time—I read constantly, and was criticized for not being active enough. My sister was active and criticized for never reading. This is the tip of the iceberg, and I won’t get into the more detailed things, but suffice it to say that I grew up very insecure. I still am, to this day. When I had my first daughter I constantly worried about every decision I made. It didn’t help that I had plenty of people who wanted to help me with that. Was I dressing her warmly enough? Was I just going to put her on the floor without a blanket? Didn’t she look hot to me?

You know what I mean. There are always plenty of seasoned, “helpful” moms out there who are waiting to pounce of the smallest mistake. In time, I have been more confident in my decisions because, like each of you, I do only what I think is best for my children. However, one thing that I have discovered that goes hand in hand with mothering is guilt.

Even though I believe my decisions are the right ones, I wonder how my girls will interpret things when they are my age. Will they believe that I was always critical and unfeeling, or will they know that I did everything out of love?

The truth is, even though we may not give it much thought right now, everything we do, even with our children, will one day have consequences. Is anyone like me, and worry sometimes that our kids will not see that, despite anything to the contrary, we did our best?

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