I always regarded myself as a good mom, not great- I have room for improvement, no doubt, but overall I do feel like I’m a good mom. I love and appreciate my son, I See the human being that he is becoming and I’m proud of his determination, ability to listen to himself, understand what he likes and doesn’t like- qualities that many of us lack or not certain how to use in daily life. That being said, I never associated myself with words “mother’s guilt”- I know women in my life who struggle with it, and while I understand the concept, I fail to see how anyone wouldn’t see a way out of it! “Unless you are in fact a dead beat mom, you are doing great- is your child clothed, fed, and loved? You are golden, everything else is gravy on top.” The latest toys, the activity circles, the bake sales…blah blah blah.. c’mon the f**k on, you are doing your best and being a mom isn’t the only thing you are juggling. You have yourself too!
I decided that I needed to further examine this concept because I had such resistance to the idea that I may, in fact, experience mother’s guilt on some level and don’t recognize it. My brain kept screaming “you often think that you are a good mom, you are proud of the relationship you have with your son, he is well adjusted, social, confident- no, mother’s guilt is a concept that doesn’t apply to me”. Because I experienced such confidence and resistance to this concept, I knew it was a red flag that my conscious mind wasn’t seeing something in my subconscious. Amidst all of this, I find myself in a dilemma of where my son will go to pre-school next year. I have my eyes on an excellent private school that teaches Pre-K through 5th grade, tuition is very affordable, the program is fantastic, and my son loved it the 2 times that we visited. The huge “but” in this scenario is the time and distance it takes to get to this school- and there is only one road that is available to get there. I’d be looking at driving my son to school 27 miles, taking approximately 40 minutes, trekking back home the 27 miles, also 40 minutes (I work from home), and then driving back to pick him up that same 27 miles and that same 40 minutes, and then making that drive yet again to get home…27 miles and 40 minutes. So I’d be looking at spending 2.6 hours in commute daily, driving 108 miles a day, 5 days a week- just to get my son to this school. WHY??? Why would I do this to myself? I already struggle with routine and organization, we haven’t once made it on time to drop off at his current pre-school (that is 10 minutes away from us).. I’d be setting myself up for a huge failure in my personal life. Sure, he’d get to school- late or maybe not, sure I’d pick him up.. but where would I be in all of this? How do I feel about making this commitment? Forget about cost of gas, when you drive a truck that runs 14 gallons a mile.
The “Mother” voice comes in here… a good mother would make any sacrifice necessary for the good of her child. … This sentence right here is why I’m still in dilemma about this decision. The fact that my son begs to go to school there doesn’t help. I should be able to give myself permission to say “no, this doesn’t work for me!”, and say maybe in a year we’ll see if we can move closer to this school, but right now it doesn’t work.
So, truth be told, I do have mother’s guilt, it was just very well disguised and thankfully doesn’t come out in every day situation that I have discovered… but, it does come out occasionally and when it does, I have no footing to stand on, I lose all control and that is only then I understand and sympathize with mother’s that experience this feeling on a regular basis. I’ve never actually told anyone that their feeling is in valid, or somehow downplayed mother’s guilt when someone was telling me about it.. its always been an internal feeling, a “thought” if you will. I’m thankful to have a better understanding of it, and call it out when it’s holding me hostage in this particular situation.
I deserve to be able to say “this doesn’t work for me, no matter how good it is for my child” and not feeling guilty about it. I deserve to put myself first in this matter. And it’s okay to feel good about it. It’s okay to feel good about putting myself first. Because it’s not just about ME. I play many roles in my life- myself, a mom, a wife, a daughter, an employer, a housekeeper, a cook, a taxi- etc and all those roles have to be able to perform their duties in order for this family to function. When they don’t.. family problems begin. It’s not fair to my family either if I put myself in the position of where I will struggle everyday. That doesn’t serve anyone at all.