Guilty Parents: You Are So Not Alone!
In a brilliant attempt to advertise the new ABC TV comedy show “In the Motherhood” this week, Oprah had moms from all over the country share their fears, faux pas and just plain funny stories about struggling to be a good mom.
Oprah’s interview with moms revealed that basically every mom has questions and doubts about whether they are a good parent. Moms keep secrets about how they really feel so they can compete with other mom’s bragging about all they do for and with their kids.
The problem with these secrets is that they keep moms from realizing that every mom has the same insecurities about parenting. And the bigger problem is that these secrets keep moms feeling very alone.
Every day, for the past 25 years, someone calls my office and says, “my child is doing something I have never seen any other child do”. My first response is, “I know it must seem like that, but if you followed me around for the day, the names have changed, but the problems and feelings of moms are universal. YOU ARE SO NOT ALONE!”
No single parent is right. Nobody parents perfectly. And EVERYONE feels guilty about something they think they did to their child(ren). Your parenting purpose is to teach your kids how to love unconditionally: in other words, stop being so hard on yourself! Here are a few ideas to help you do just that:
Surround yourself with moms who support you when you make a mistake;
Try not to compare and compete, because you’ll never measure up;
Remember that all kids ‘shine’ at different times and for different reasons, your child will too;
Make friends with moms who genuinely want to know about your kids;
Ask other moms about their kids, so you don’t feel so alone in this journey;
Remind yourself, every time you feel like a failure, to learn from your mistakes;
If you continue to be hard on yourself as a mom, remember this one piece of advice. Get a 3×5 card and a big black magic marker. Write the word GUILTY on the card and put it in your dresser drawer. For two minutes each day, or once a week, whatever you choose, get the card out and feel your guilt for that amount of time. Then put the card back in the drawer and allow yourself to be done with feeling guilty. Get on with your life as the best mom you can be without beating yourself up with guilt! You are so not the only member of the GUILT CLUB: I’ve been a member in good standing for 28 years. Believe me, you’ll never be lonely because the membership never stops growing. Dr. Ann