Guilt Trip

February 7th, 2012

Have you ever bumped into it? You know, the wall?  The one between the mothers who work and the mothers who, well, work…. 
what can’t see tell the difference? Well, let me just point it out to you. One has a whole lot of guilt, and well, the other one has a whole lot of guilt. Yeh, a little tricky to spot at first I admit, but on closer inspection a painful awkwardness trips her up.

“So what do you do?” One mother asks another mother at a party.
”Oh I’m a lawyer/sales rep/teacher/yoga instructor, and what do you do?”
“Oh I’m a stay at home mother.”  (Also known as “CEO of the family business”)

Silence, then guilt. 
”Well nice meeting you.”  Quickly, they both look around for a non-mother type, the one without the guilt dripping off her and leaving a messy trail for others to slip in.

From the moment of conception, mother and guilt become fast friends. You will not find one without the other. While pregnant we will drink in the bitter taste of guilt in a cup of caffeine and spit it out as we send our toddler to their room, and take away the car keys from our teenager. We invite guilt over after every decision we make to help us second guess our way through the next one. We all have guilt’s number on speed dial.

But I say enough! Whether we choose to shop at the local farmers market or Wal-Mart, whether we clean our own homes or get help, if we choose full fat triple swirl fudge ice-cream over organic sorbet, and certainly whether we work within or outside the home: enough!

I have this sneaking suspicion that mothers are our own worst enemies. Not only do we flounder away in our own muddy guilt, but also we prefer to drag a few others in with us (just threw that image of mud-wrestling for my male readers). We cake it all over ourselves, then sling a little more “her” way.

But today I ask all mothers (from whichever side of the wall we ourselves have built) to be kind, be gentle, be forgiving, to let it go, and for the sake of our families -go have a shower; that guilt really stinks!

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  1. I have now read tow of your posts and I am over the moon to have come across your blog. I found you on Twitter and glad I did. There are so many blogs out there but it is indeed rare to come across a writer who writes really good relevant content in an interesting and witty way. Being Irish myself I would be very surprised if you didn’t have some Irish blood in you. Not everyone gets our humour! Thanks for a great read and I am sure to be a regular from now on especially now that I have subscribed.

  2. Meg says:

    Oh Wow Xavier, thanks for stopping by! Yes, the Aussie humour can throw a few people off balance, we’re a dry ol’ bunch :) no doubt there is some Irish in me, a little convict too I suppose.  So glad you found Soulseeds.

     

  3. Wow. I thought most of my guilt was from being raised Catholic but you are right. Moms feel guilty all the time just because…well, we are Moms and it’s really, really a lot of work. We actually should be patting ourselves on the back more often and saying, “Wow! I work my butt off! I’m a Mom! I am great!”
    Thanks for the great article! Diana Fletcher, http://www.thoughtsbydiana.com 

  4. Mitzi says:

    Meg, I enjoyed your article. I can see myself using the title CEO of the family business. People often ask me What-I-Do.
    In-joy

  5. Rhona Berens says:

    As always, a thoughtful and thought-provoking post. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend Brene Brown’s book, “I Thought it was just me but it isn’t.” She’s a social work researcher whose research, thus far, has focused on the phenomenon of shame, especially women’s shame. I think that much of what you’re referring to as “guilt” is “shame,” a far more insidious phenomenon (it’s the difference between there’s something wrong [shame] with me vs. feeling guilty about a specific behavior where we can alleviate the guilt by changing how we act/react [guilt]). Unfortunately, for most of us moms, we feel shame about what we do, or don’t do, say or don’t say, etc. Brown’s book is a wonderful, if uncomfortable, revelation about shame’s pervasiveness and includes some GREAT tools to diminish its negative and painful impact.

  6. So true, Meg. There is no perfect solution or ‘right’ choice when it comes to any of it! Yet, we still find a way to feel guilty and/or put the guilt trip on someone else. (Or rather, shame…as Rhona points out.) I think it all goes back to being confident in our own choices and loving others enough to give them permission to make different choices. As you said – be kind, gentle and forgiving. Sounds so simple, right?! 

  7. Jenny says:

    You know, it follows us.  Even when we’re making changes to help our family succeed, like delving into the world of home education, the guilt follows even more!  Now there is the added responsibility of providing clean clothing, delicious food AND a quality education.  Getting together with other home school moms and the conversations drip with it.  What curriculum are you using?  How many hours a day do you guys do school? (And then I wonder when the last time my son wrote a complete sentence).
    The guilt has got to go.  I have reached the threshold of enough.

  8. Petra Bockstahler says:

    very good article, thank you