my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

July 24, 2015

guilt and shame and selfishness and motherhood

i could write pages and pages on guilt and shame. i feel guilty over everything, whether it was my fault, whether it was beyond my control or not, whether i even actually did anything or not. and when my anxiety flares up so much that i am frozen in place and can't actually do anything, then i remember things that i did in my past to feel guilty about, or i feel guilty about all the terrible thoughts running through my head, even when i don't act on them or share them with anybody else.

and the shame, oh the shame. i feel shame for feeling guilty about all the things that i know in my rational mind i shouldn't feel guilty about. i feel shame about who i am on the most basic level, so much some days that i can barely function. and so starts the cycle over again.

now, if i had another life, i don't know if i would still feel like this all the time, if i would always find some crazy, not my fault, thing to feel guilty about, but i am a mother, a job with guilty built right in. any failing on my children's part i take as my personal failing, and so i feel guilty for it. every time i failed to protect them (even if i tried and they didn't listen), i feel guilty. all the times that i feel like i should be doing something with them, something more helpful or enriching or pinterest inspired perfect, and i'm not, i feel guilty.

and then comes the shame of feeling that i've failed them. or that i can't be the mom that they deserve. or that if i was somehow magically better or different or not me, they'd all have the perfect life. and so i feel ashamed of just being me, even if that's all i can be.

this is all to say that, because of all my shame and guilt and random feeling bad for not being enough, i don't take much for myself. like ever. even the times i actually need a break from them, some time away to recharge, or really need to buy myself things to replace falling apart shoes or clothes worn through, i don't. i feel like i have such little time to give them, with taking care of this home and running the household and trying to find time to spend with each of them individually, that i don't have any time left over to take for myself. (unless i forgo sleep, but running days on little sleep with no way to catch up doesn't make things better.) and i don't go out and buy things for myself, even when my hubby says i should, because for every shirt i pick out for me, i think of all the other things i could be doing with that money. i know kids want things, they are kids and they want all the things, but as their mom i want to try to give them all the things that i can.

and so most days it all comes down to the fact that i feel guilty for not giving them everything i think they deserve and in the same breath feeling guilty for not taking better care of myself so i can take better care of them. i know i need to be selfish, but taking time to relax and then feeling guilty the whole time isn't terribly relaxing. i'm still striving to find a balance, something that works for everyone that i can feel good about. some days i feel closer to it than others, and i think i'll know when i achieve it. i've been a mommy for almost 12 years, maybe in another 12 i'll find it.

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