It’s not new – this guilt thing. It’s as intrinsic to motherhood as loving a child. With loving a child comes a sense of falling short – for me, at least. There is just so much responsibility in raising a human. Not only do we have to provide shelter, food and the basics, but we ideally need to provide stability, peace and of course a constant stream of love.
And even when the basics, and the not-so-basics are met, there’s still a sense of falling short.
This week I have been feeling a little more sensitive than usual, so the weight of those times I lost my temper, or got agitated at my kids pressed heavily.
Don’t take their emotions so personally, I tell myself.
But as a mum, it’s hard not to. It’s easy to take the final meltdown and track back to that one time earlier this morning you forgot to give them morning tea. Or that one time when you lost it at your partner in front of them. Or that one time you rushed them out the door for no good reason at all.
And suddenly the meltdown feels completely personal.
Then something subtle and tiny changed for me in recent days.
My youngest and I are usually first awake, and have a ritual of playing Lego together in the living room while we wait for her sister to wake. I sip my tea. She chats and fiddles with blocks.
The last couple of days, I have got myself comfortable, half shut my eyes, and breathed in. Deeply. I lighten. I warm. I breathe. It’s kind of a meditation, but I am still present with my daughter, answering her questions, and acknowledging her.
It barely lasts a minute, but that brief meditation somehow sets the tone for the rest of the day. I am way less ruffled. Get out the door, no worries. Huge explosion in the play park. Centred. In control. Responsive. But not ruffled. Not blaming myself.
I feel stronger somehow.
I don’t know… I am not setting out to be a perfect mother, and feel redeemed of all guilt. I think guilt has a place in mothering. It keeps us in check. We lose our temper, guilt eats away at us, and then we try hard not to lose our temper.
But any little kindness towards myself seems to go a long way towards a peaceful, sunshine-y home, don’t you reckon?
Do you have any little rituals or secrets that help you find peace in your day? Have a lovely Mother’s Day tomorrow. Hope you are all treated spectacularly, and have no guilt whatsoever.