It’s an affliction. There is no decent parent out there that doesn’t feel guilt with every decision they make or don’t make.
It’s not surprising. You’re tasked with bringing up a whole person as a decent, moral, non-s****y human being. In most instances, it was a choice you made but it’s still difficult, it’s fraught with missteps, mistakes and guilt. What if you’re doing the wrong thing? Have you just said something to them that is unwittingly traumatising and damaging them? To all the parents out there, for what my two cents is worth, as long as you’re trying, really trying to do the best by your child, then that’s all you can do.
In my job, sometimes we get a backlog with all the work that is in front of us, the documents keep coming in, piling on top of the huge pile of things you haven’t been able to deal with, constant calls from people asking why you haven’t dealt with their problem which always seems to be at the bottom of that huge pile. Some people get stressed, some people crumble but at the end of the day, you can literally only do as much as you can do. You only have one pair of hands, one set of eyes, one brain, you can only do as much as you, one single person, can do. It’s the same with the kids, you can only try your best and try not to beat yourself up over failings or assumed failings.
Yet I’m guilty of feeling guilty. I want my children to succeed but there is always this feeling that I’m not doing as much as I can. That I am failing them. That if I discipline to strongly here, there will be repercussions there. When I go to work and leave them crying, that they’ll feel abandoned. That working full-time means that they don’t know me as well as they could. That I haven’t read enough with them and they’ll fail at school. That I’m not feeding them the right things and they’ll end up with an eating disorder. That if I let them watch this or play with this, then they’ll become a blight on society. That it feels like more time is spent getting them to do the daily necessities, get washed, eat breakfast, get dressed, homework, rather than having fun family time. Guilt. It gets you every time.
Now the logical side of my brain knows that I don’t need to be spending the big bucks to have happy kids, I just need to spend time with them, show them how much I love them. They seem to be happy, (mainly) well-adjusted, polite, loveable and sociable children. But no matter what, the guilt remains. I try everyday to let it go because I feel that I’m making a genuine effort to do right by them and set a good example. I just hope it all sinks in and they become the valuable members of society that it looks like they are on track to become.
Still feel guilty though.
Let’s keep growing less guilty together!
xx Lee xx
Comments welcome. How do you deal with parental guilt?