By Mandy Rees
I can’t remember ever meeting a parent who hasn’t felt guilty about some of the choices they have made. I was beginning to think that it was part of the parent gig – something we accepted when we decided to have a family. What I now realise is this: Yes, it comes with the territory but it can be managed. What I also know is that some guilt is OK.
Guilt has a really bad rap. We are taught that guilt and being wrong or naughty go hand in hand. The Collins dictionary defines it as “… an unhappy feeling that you have because you have done something wrong or think that you have done something wrong.”.
Is this true? Perhaps the time has come to re-write our definition of guilt?
I can’t remember ever meeting a parent who hasn’t felt guilty about some of the choices they have made.
I see guilt as more like ‘what my head does to me when I’m tired, I have too much going on and I’m not sure what decision to make’. I haven’t made a mistake or done something wrong. What I have done is the best I could at that time. I might want to revisit it later and I can change my mind but, in the moment, it was the right thing.
These things will help:
1. Remember where you are right now. Parent guilt hits us when we are at our most vulnerable; often sleep deprived, worried about things we never knew we could worry about and full of self-doubt. Chances are that you’re not thinking entirely rationally and are being much too hard on yourself. Check in with this.
2. Talk to trusted family and/or friends. Use a more impartial ear as a sounding board to get a more balanced view on what’s going on. Speaking something out loud helps to put things into perspective and, you might find that you let yourself off the hook as you talk it through.