I really wanted to title this post Parent Guilt as I’m sure there are dads out there who feel guilt, but is it really the same as mum guilt? Maybe it’s where I live or who I associate with but I just don’t see dad’s racked with guilt the same way mums are. It’s like as soon as that tiny little egg is fertilised, millions of guilt signals are sent out to cover every inch of a woman’s body. Am I eating enough? Am I eating the right things? Should I exercise? Can I have a warm bath?
When I was pregnant with our daughter, I would get nervous before every medical appointment even if I had nothing to logically worry about. No unusual symptoms, no signs that anything was wrong yet there was this voice niggling away at the back of my mind. When I mentioned my nerves to my fiancé before our 20 week scan he was confused.
“What are you nervous about?”
“That something could be wrong.”
“The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind.”
Today I received a message from a very wise friend and, all of a sudden, light bulb moment. I told my friend that our daughter was making her way into our bed at night (how a 13-month-old does this on their own, one will never know) and I was concerned this would become a habit. Yet, on the other hand, I was getting sleep. Oh, sweet sleep!
My friend’s advice was to do what works for me and when it stops working, do something about it. *heavenly choir sings*
I told you she was wise.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It is. And should be. Do what works for you. When it stops working, try something else.
This goes, not just for mum guilt, but for all types of guilt. Pain guilt included. Feeling bad that you can’t work as much as you’d like because of pain? Guilt ridden about taking time out to rest? Do what works for you. When it stops working, try something else.
I may have just found my new motto.
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(I’m very aware that I’ve written about guilt a few times now. I even wrote an extremely optimist post entitled Guilt Be Gone. How cute. As it turns out, guilt is not the easiest thing to be rid of. For me anyway. A reminder to do what is best for you is sometimes just what we need.)