Oops, yes I fell into the guilty mother trap this morning. No matter how hard we try, sometimes we make mistakes. And then we feel bad about it.
This morning I overslept. I don’t know whether the alarm didn’t go off or whether I just slept through it. The thing is, if I don’t get up on time, nobody else in the house does. I have realised that they are all reliant on me. Now I could get all cross, stomp my feet and have a mini tantrum. “Why do I have to get everybody up?”. And yes of course, risk management in hindsight is all well and good, but it shouldn’t have happened. So my husband has been given firm instructions now that his alarm needs to be set too. (I hadn’t realised he didn’t set his alarm – now I understand why I’m always calling up the stairs at 7.30 when it’s time for him to get up).
I woke up at about the time my daughter needs to be arriving at the school gates. She gets a detention if she’s late. It’s about a 25 minute walk to school or a 5 minute drive if you’re lucky with the traffic. There is no way she will have arrived on time today and I know she will be very upset if she gets a detention. Possibly she’ll escape one because she has 100% attendance/punctuality record since she started. However I also know her form tutor is strict. And in my opinion, that’s the way it should be. So yes, I fell into the guilty mother trap this morning. I overslept and therefore my daughter will be late for school. The being late for school, I can cope with (even though I hate being late for anything). What hurts me more is that I know she’ll be really upset, and that is the tough one to manage.
Now the truth behind me oversleeping … we were out dancing all night on Saturday celebrating a family birthday. So I was overtired – I’m getting old! I need more sleep. Last night, I was up until way way past my normal bedtime doing ‘work’ for a virtual conference that I am running in January. Did it need to be done last night? No, not at all. I allowed my excitement and enthusiasm for my Confident Mother project to shove sensible behaviour to one side. And that’s why I feel guilty. We feel guilt for a reason: “Guilt is a weight that will crush you whether you deserve it or not.” from the novel Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson. Guilt exists to tell us that we are hurting someone or doing something wrong. At least it is our PERCEPTION that we are hurting someone or doing something that we believe to be wrong. But feeling guilty does not MAKE you guilty. It does not necessarily mean that what you are doing or thinking or feeling is wrong.
I like Audre Lorde’s quote about guilt from Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. “Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge.”
My feelings of guilt today WILL lead to a change:
a) I will go to bed on time and not do computer work after 10pm at night.
b) My husband will put his alarm on too so we have a fallback system in place.
What about you? How will you deal with your feelings of guilt today?
Guilt is such a complex emotion. A few months ago, I created an online course to help mums deal with guilt Working Mum’s Guide to Ditching the Guilt. I don’t really know why I have not got round to publishing it. Based on today’s episode, I WILL be releasing it next week. This has given me the kick up the backside to get it released. I know I am a strong confident mother but I still struggle with guilt, so I reckon you do too, and therefore this course will be so valuable to you. Contact me if you want to be notified when it goes live.
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