Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Motherhood: It's all about the guilt....

I have frequently said wryly to friends, family, or whoever is in the room, "Motherhood. It's all about the guilt." And even though I really believe that I am not only doing my best, but that I am also doing the best for my children, I am still plagued by feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

Many people make lists of things they are thankful for, so here is my list of things I am guiltful for.
  1. once trying to make Anna cry herself to sleep when she was a baby
  2. not trusting my instinct when I was in labour with Holly and ending up in a hospital where she was born under the harsh lights and into the cold hands of Toronto's most obnoxious doctor (seriously, you can Google 'Toronto's most obnoxious OB' and you'll get his picture)
  3. going back to work for 3 months when Holly was 20 months old
  4. not using a sling to carry Anna when she was a newborn
  5. not eating 100 % organic foods during all 3 pregnancies
  6. letting Anna eat freezies and yogurt pops when she was not even a 1 year old
  7. giving Jasmine antibiotics at 5 months of age for a skin condition that was not resolved as a result of the drug
  8. not exercising during my 3 pregnancies
  9. not breastfeeding Anna and Holly longer (both weaned around 19-20 months)
  10. not enjoying the winter and therefore probably influencing my children to not enjoy the winter
  11. immunizing Anna for chicken pox
  12. trying to DO EVERYTHING when Anna was a newborn, instead of staying in bed with her and enjoying a baby-moon
  13. letting Anna watch all the Disney princess movies
  14. letting Partner-Guy buy Anna all the Disney princess dolls and fairies
  15. not using cloth diapers for Anna and Holly
  16. giving Anna and Holly soothers
  17. buying bread instead of always making my own
  18. eating meat, especially cheap meat from No Frills --who knows where it comes from!!
  19. yelling at my kids
  20. blaming my kids for my bad mood
  21. letting housework be more important than engaging in the moment with my kids
  22. not freaking out at people who suggest that we must be disappointed that we didn't get a boy
  23. not taking my kids to the playground because I can't stand the other mothers and kids there

The list could go on, and I'm sure it will. Motherhood is hard, and people who aren't up to the challenge should get a goldfish. It's hard to be selfless and it's hard to be a role model and it's hard to always try to be better.

But isn't the point of feeling GUILTY to make you want to do better the next time? For me it is.

That's why Jasmine's birth was at home, because I did trust my instinct that time. And that's why none of my children have ever cried themselves to sleep--because of the guilt I felt after trying once (briefly, for less than 5 minutes) to make Anna do it. And that's why we still go to the playground, even though I hate OPK. If motherhood is all about the guilt, then it's also all about doing better the next time.

I'm just trying.

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