I know I’m not the only parent who has moments where I feel like I am completely failing my child. Those moments where everything I give seems to be just not quite enough. I often have this nagging suspicion that I should be doing more. That I should be teaching him more. That I should be exposing him to more. It feels as if every opportunity missed is a failure. Why is that? I know it is completely silly. I’m not so far gone to believe that this is the absolute reality. The notion that his development is solely based on my interaction with him is completely foolish, I know. Nevertheless, it is very hard to shake the idea that, where it concerns our O, I should be doing more. More. More.
I understand the importance of taking care of myself. I understand the importance of having my own “thing” outside of caring for O. And I do. I pay attention to my husband. I give time to my aging parents. I take care of our home. Yes, I am spread thin. But not so thin that I feel like any one area loses out. Except where it concerns O. (Enter nagging feeling) Because the truth of the matter is, that I would do anything and everything for my child and even then it would not seem like it was enough, in my own estimation. I swear, I am not getting all crazy on you. But If I am being totally honest, I can’t escape the feeling of (maybe) coming up short. So a question is….is it my type A personality or do other Moms feel this way?
I am well versed in the phrase, “I am doing the best that I can.” And I am. Aren’t we all? But what happens when your best isn’t cutting it? What happens when you know you should bring your toddler to the park for some outside time, but you really have to take care of some pressing business? Or imagine….you just don’t feel like it? Or what about when you let him watch The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because you really want to blow dry your hair and put on some makeup to look like some semblance of a lady rather than the gal who cleans the floors? Is that me really doing my best? Or is that just the crap I tell myself to make my selfishness seem more palatable?
There is no shortage of support in this web of deceit. Pretty much everyone is ready to tell you what a great Mom you are. How you are, in fact, “doing the best you can”. We all talk about how hard it is. And it is. We are all very human, as we are compelled to be. I don’t ruminate over this to find a way to be a better mom. I, like every mom I know, is being the best mom she knows how to be. What I am acknowledging is the layer of guilt that wants to float to the surface every now and then. The guilt that permeates logic and reason. It lingers deep in our consciousness. And even though we are doing everything “right,” it pops up. Ready to take us down.
Now there very well may be some fathers who feel the same way. I’m not sure. I actually didn’t ask my husband. But something tells me that men think differently about parental guilt. I could absolutely be wrong. But for some reason, guilt tends to be a trait overwhelmingly known to females. I have an amazing dad, but I have a hard time thinking of him laying awake at night wondering if he could have done more to further my development. I know, for a fact, my Mother (where it concerns her four children) believes she fell short.
So where are we? Well, I’m not sure. I suppose I will have to squelch the rising guilt when it decides to rear its ugly head. It really has no place in my everyday life. None of us have the time for that wasted energy. I guess I will keep trying, as we all will. Everyday… to do my best and to make my best better. The truth is that everyday comes with new challenges. Some days I rise to meet the challenge in front of me and some days I can’t seem to navigate through the unknown without falling on my face a little. Or a lot.
Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks for reading. Xo