I was enjoying myself with my friends and family. Having a grand ole’ time when suddenly GUILT TOOK OVER ! I felt tremendous guilt for having so much light hearted fun. I felt guilt for not thinking about Jack or worrying about my daughter. Once I talked some sense into myself I realized other Mom’s must feel this way on occasion? I cannot be the only one?! I cannot be the only Mommy who gets consumed with the “I SHOULDS “AND “I SHOULD NOTS”. So I was inspired to write this post! Thanks a lot Baby Jack for inspiring me yet again!
That word has plagued me a lot lately. Before losing Jack the guilt came in a few different forms. Mostly around not being a good enough Mother, not being a good enough Wife or not working hard enough in my business. I think that is a feeling that many of us feel as Women. GUILT. We are taught to think and behave a certain way according to the standards society has set for us. We are taught that we need to feel a certain way, be a certain way, have certain things perfectly organized… shit, have brownies made for school events all the while making sure your hubby gets a proper foot rub in before bed! Oh and … work a full time job! There is just to much out there for us to grab at to be become MORE PERFECT. I have a should and should not list that lives on repeat in my head and it drives me crazy.
These list could go on and on and we can constantly aim to be more and more perfect… but when does it become enough? When is our best good enough? Ive learned through losing my son that the things that were causing me to feel guilt and as if I were not good enough were absolutely petty. No one else in the world felt like I needed to be doing more… I was the only one putting that pressure on myself. I was deciding for myself that I needed to be better in all of the areas, and my good was not good enough. That type of pressure can eat you ALIVE, and steal all of your joy.
I would have thoughts like “you are just not quit thin enough.” “you are just not quit smart enough.” “Who will read your writing, you aren’t quite talented enough.” “You aren’t quite affectionate enough to your family. Gotta get better at that.” “You aren’t quite loving enough towards your husband. Gotta get better at that.” I remember a moment when Scarlett would not cooperate and get up and go to school for me. She threw a massive tantrum, she threw things at me, she refused to listen. I had been up very late, lacked sleep, and lacked patience. We had had a long weekend together and I was exactly feeling peaceful and upbeat. She snapped, and I got right on her level and snapped back. I yelled at my 4 year old. I started to toss things around my house, I started to yell and shout. I started to yell just as loud as she was. Once I came to my senses the guilt ate me alive!! “Anita you should have been BETTER in that moment. You are a terrible Mom!” I used hurtful words to myself and I was hard on myself for the rest of my day. I was a very imperfect Mom in that Moment. There were many days in her 3’s that I reacted to her in that way and I would call myself “Bad Mom.” I look back on those days now and realize… Scarlett does not remember. She had no idea that I lost my cool in those moments. She does remember me hugging her, loving her and doing my very best. So am I a bad Mom? Absolutely NOT. I am a Good no… Great MOM who had a real human moment and lost my cool. She survived, I survived and we are doing okay! We are doing better than OKAY. When it was happening I slapped myself with a giant BAD MOM LABEL and let the guilt take over. But alas… we are okay. The okayiest I have ever been, and she is a rock star of a little girl who knows her Mommy loves her.
I am learning that right where I am, in this moment and the effort I put forward IS GOOD ENOUGH. I am strong enough, present enough, smart enough, happy enough, I am a good enough Mother and I am a good enough Wife. The small stuff… it isn’t worth my mental energy to sweat. I was talking to a good friend today about feeling self conscious walking up to a crowd of people and talking to them. I realized while sharing with her, that I no longer feel afraid to put myself out there. I have quickly stopped caring what other people think, because I stopped caring so much what I think about myself, which in turn makes other people think I am more confident and out going… which is what I wanted all along anyway!
This weekend I felt guilty about having fun. It was the 4th of July holiday and I was spending countless hours reminding myself that I should not be smiling so much and laughing so much. I just lost my son not much more than a month ago and here I am laughing and having the time of my life with my friends and family. Through the weekend a sudden thought came over me.. “Would your Son want you to be miserable on his behalf or would he want you to have fun? Your son is not living on this earth and you are. Bringing honor to his life by laughing and smiling… thats a good thing.” So another moment of guilt … and I squashed it.
So Mom’s of the world, lets make an aggreement and learn from my Son! The people you love and the people who love you are not expecting all of these “shoulds” and “should nots” from you. They are not expecting you to be as perfect as you expect your self to be. Would you talk to your friends and loved ones the way you talk to yourself? No way! You would show the some grace! So lets do that together. Lets show ourselves some more grace.