Being a mom is all I wanted to be since I was 9. As a young adult I knew I wanted/needed to be a mom.
Motherhood has been the biggest blessing, most challenging, most heart breaking, heartwarming, and joyful thing I have done so far. Parenthood has also brought up the most guilt ridden I have ever been in my life for many, many years.
If you have been following along with my blogs, you already know my son is 24 now. I will refer to my son as “R”. I was married for 10 years and “R” was 7 when the divorce came. Even before the divorce I considered myself a single parent because my ex was never around. That’s when my guilt started.
Being a single parent is tough, whether you have one child or 15. I think we all have guilt when it comes to our kids. I know I have a ton of guilt.
We feel guilty after the divorce, that the other parent is no longer in the same house. Guilt because the kids have to pack up and go to the other parents home to visit.
There is guilt in trying keep the same life style the child is used to after a divorce. It’s hard when there is only one income.
There is guilt because you know you need help and can’t do it alone. Even though we try our best, we still need help. It’s hard asking for help.
We carry guilt for not always being there when they need us the most. Especially when they are sick and we have to work. The only thing I ever wanted to do on those days was hug my kid and take care of him. But someone else was doing that for me.
Guilt for not being able to show up for the baseball game or science fair or help them prep for the big Prom night, because we had to work.
There’s even guilt for working. It keeps us from our kids and anytime away from you children there is guilt. (At least for me)
There is guilt knowing YOU are not the one that is supposed to teach your child (fill in the blank).
We carry guilt knowing you cannot be both mom and dad. Even though we try.
There is guilt (for some of us) knowing we cannot/couldn’t provide for our kids the way we need to or the way they deserve. Sometimes just providing the necessities is a tough task or impossible.
After they are adults we still have guilt. We carry the guilt knowing we are the responsible party that messed them up. Because, we did too much or too little. We corrected them in a wrong way or not at all. We took things too far or not far enough. Realizing that half of the decision we made for our kids was out of guilt or because of guilt.
Geez, that’s a lot of guilt to carry. No wonder we are exhausted all the time.
I have some good news. Some of the guilt has made us better parents. Because of our guilt we are more connected to our kids. We show them as often as possible how much we love them.
In spite of the bad things we have done for/to our kids, they always love us. To me, that is great news. They love us because we were there (when we could be). When they grow up they will see that we did our best. Most of the kids will forgive us of our mistakes.
I do have some advice to share. Since my kid is now grown, I can look back and see my mistakes. I try to do better when I know I mess up.
The advice is: Don’t make any decision because of guilt. In my experience that does not work in our favor or the child’s. Making a decision because of guilt is not how we are supposed to decide. Leave guilt out of the equation. Guilt has no place in making a decision. I know this now. Wish I would have learned that earlier.
Keep loving your kids. We all have some guilt just because we are parents. But leave guilt out of it. Do what’s best for them and you, not because of the guilt you carry.