Sunday, April 17, 2011

You Guilty Mothers

Recently the Today Show did a poll asking mothers if they experienced guilt.  The poll, Escaping the Mommy Guilt Trap showed that 94 percent of the mother's polled said they feel guilty. 

I have a few problems with this poll. You absolutely knew I would, didn't you?

A.  Why are we limiting it to mother's feeling guilty? Isn't there enough guilt to share among the fathers, aunt's, uncle's, grandparents and anyone else in the passing vicinity of the child? Really why isn't the TSA pat-down artist that made the little 6 year old cry, being included?

B. Why does the wording of the poll give the indication that feeling guilt "is in the present tense".  I think, I can safely say that mothers of older children are carrying guilt forward.   For example, here are a few guilts that I cling to rather zealously even though my children are grown.

1.  I feel badly that I owe Big Bird $17,476.23 in back babysitting money. 

2.  Also, feeling badly for slighting Mr. Rogers.  I never sent a letter to his neighborhood and thanked him for teaching my kids to hang up their sweaters and put their shoes into the closet.

3.  I am sorry that I damaged Kiddo #2 skateboard by trying to....well...ride a skateboard...  but what I did in actuality was crash a skateboard  into the mailbox. Doesn't sound like much now, but young boys value their boards.

4.  I feel guilty and embarrassed that I backed into Kiddo #1 car when she was 16 because I was running late for work and didn't look behind me. Had it been her driving, I would have yelled at her for being careless.  You know and I know it.

5. I especially feel guilty for harshly scolding Kiddo #2 for biting the little girl in our back yard after he asked her repeatedly to let him have a turn on his new swing set.  I over reacted because the mother of "the little brat Lindsey,  told me my kid was the devil and I was a horrible mother.  In retrospect, I should of told that bitch to keep her rotten kid out of my yard and additionally, teach her little snot box to share.

6. I feel guilty about the time that I was running late to pickup Kiddo #2 from preschool and Kiddo #1 decided to walk home from her grade school because I hadn't gotten there on time.  When I did locate my MIA first grader she was sitting on our front porch  of our house crying.  For this guilt, you could come over and shoot me through my heart with a blunt arrow and it would hurt less.

7. I feel guilt for all the times I lost my patience because, I worked full time and was tired and worried about everything imaginable, (because that is who I am) and was abrupt with them.  They didn't deserve it, I am sure.

8. I am guilty of not telling my kids 10,000+ times what great kids they were/are and how despite the fact I made mistakes, they grew up to be good people.

9. Last one of thousands that I could write.  I am feeling some remorse for the fact I didn't send graduation announcements out to everyone that made my kids feel badly or criticized them unjustly, when they both graduated from college with honors.(yeah, both with honors, top of their classes) I would have liked the announcements to be similar to the recordable Hallmark cards so when the aforementioned butt heads opened them they went

"NA NA NAH NA NA".

Well, blogees, I realize I could keep kicking myself in the butt for numerous faux pas on my part but let us move to another question.

Here's, what I want to know.  "Why are the 6 percent of women that took this poll saying they  have  no guilt?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU SIX PERCENT??? ARE YOU INCAPABLE OF EMOTION? ARE YOU NOT HUMAN? WHAT IS UP WITH THE NO GUILT? ARE YOU PERFECT IN ALL THINGS OR JUST MOTHERING?

Are you truly the SUPERMOM that I wanted to be but didn't achieve.  I hope you are all writing "how to" books and publishing MOMMY BLOGS.  Too late for me to follow your example but maybe I could apply some of your vast knowledge on how to do every thing right with my grandsons.


While this song is a parent singing about a son, it could be equally about a daughter.



The Good for the Day....Our children grow up in spite of our weaknesses.

The Bad for the Day...Some parents just don't even make an effort to TRY and do right by their children.

The Weird for the day... That my children escaped any real harm in the production of their lives with me as their mother.

14 comments:

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Good point up front --- it is not just Moms!

Of course I dont have kids, so not my guilt right now.

Like #7 -- and uh the other #7....

Cheryl said...

I am the world's worst proofer of my stuff. Thanks for pointing that out. I have no upper threshhold to my guilt. I could feel guilty about something that I did or said to my pets. (my pets are psudo kids)

Jen said...

I have so much parental guilt I must feel the guilt of those 6% which is why they don't need to feel guilty. We just got a hamster and I already feel guilt for what might happen to him in the future. There is no escaping it.

Cheryl said...

Oh, You are not alone, my friend. I feel guilty about all the guilt I feel. I worry about everything under the sun too.

oldereyes said...

Well, Cheryl, what can I say? I don't have much guilt about my children (something that took years of effort to overcome) but I often wonder what I could have done differently. I have theories but no belief that my theories would work in practice. Mostly, I don't think I ever taught my kids how to be happy. Can we do that? I don't know. Maybe it's mostly genes anyway (my kids are adopted).

Cheryl said...

Hi Bud,
I certainly would do some things differently but there is no going back. Too bad wisdom comes with age. I could have used it 30+ years ago.
It would be interesting to know how much of the finished product is due to DNA, environment, peers, and our skill as a parent. (maybe it is best we don't know)

Bodacious Boomer said...

Young one, hold your guilt in reserve til they are well grown. Then you'll look back and say "Aren't they lucky they had me as a mom?"

Cheryl said...

Hi Michelle, My kids are in their mid to late 30's and to hear them tell it I was a SUPERMOM. All I can say is the farther their childhood is in their rearview mirrors the better I look. I just thought it was odd that 6 percent of moms polled had no guilt. How can that be?

P.M.Vincent said...

Thank you so much for this post, it reminds me I am not alone. I always feel like I don't do enough; don't spend enough time, don't talk to them enough. I always feel guilty, I spend so much time doing things in an attempt to make their lives better that I feel that I neglect them in the process, but everything I do is for them. Hopefully when they are grown they will appreciate me and won't hold it against me. Thanks again!!

injaynesworld said...

Never had kids, but I do feel guilty for leaving my dog alone sometimes.

Truly, it's a wonder than any of us make it through childhood unscathed.

It sounds like you did a pretty damn good job so absolve yourself of all that guilt.

Cheryl said...

Hi P.M.Vincent- I think the moms that carry guilt around like an extra appendage are very much the majority. Probably totally unwarranted but still...part of our nature to want everything to be wonderful in our kids lives. If I didn't have kids, I would have internalized other things that I didn't do perfectly. That is just part of me being me. Thanks for coming by.

Cheryl said...

Hi Jayne, I was thinking of you earlier. I sure enjoy your blog.

My personality is one that has to have guilt and worry. I tend to worry if things are running too smoothly. I am a mess. And I, too, used to worry about my dog back in the day I still had her.

P.M.Vincent said...

Thank you so much for this post, it reminds me I am not alone. I always feel like I don't do enough; don't spend enough time, don't talk to them enough. I always feel guilty, I spend so much time doing things in an attempt to make their lives better that I feel that I neglect them in the process, but everything I do is for them. Hopefully when they are grown they will appreciate me and won't hold it against me. Thanks again!!

Jen said...

I have so much parental guilt I must feel the guilt of those 6% which is why they don't need to feel guilty. We just got a hamster and I already feel guilt for what might happen to him in the future. There is no escaping it.