Late last night as Kevin and I were getting ready for bed, I asked him a question:
Do you feel like a good parent?
Which of course he asked me to elaborate on.
You see, I have this guilty feeling that plagues me most of the time no matter what choices I make as a mother, and I want to know - is it normal? It can be about the smallest things. For example last night I read Violet her usual four or five bedtime stories, told her Daddy was going to come up, and turned to walk out of the room. As I was walking toward the door she called to me...I kept walking. I knew in my head that it was for the best. If I had turned back around as she wanted, bedtime would have been prolonged, it would have gotten late, and she would have gotten tired and cranky. Rationally, in my head I knew this was all true, but I felt like a bad mother. I felt like I should have gone back, cuddled her, soaked up her sweet little two-year-old goodness. Given her a few more minutes of my time.
I felt guilty. But the really really scary part is that I would have felt guilty going back to her too. I would have felt like I was making her less independent, giving in to her every whim, not teaching her that she can't always get what she wants, making her overly tired for tomorrow. How can I have so much emotion and internal conflict over such small decision as whether or not to leave the room at bed time? And what am I going to do as she gets older and the decisions only get harder?
To answer my question, Kevin said that he is generally pretty certain in his head what the right choices are (at least on small things like bedtime), but that he does, like me, often want to do something else - to go back and cuddle her and give her what she wants. What he said he doesn't feel is guilt. He's confident in his decisions for the most part and so he doesn't feel anything that he would equate with guilt in regard to them. So my question to you is - is the guilt it a mom thing? Is it just a me thing? Does anyone else feel guilty on a regular basis about seemingly insignificant daily parenting decisions? I know it's completely irrational, but I'm not sure how to fix it. I fear that it may just be who I am.
One thing that helps a little is that I tell myself that she is loved, she is cared for, she is safe. She has the big things that are really important, and these little decisions aren't going to matter in the long run. Kevin told me that I can't screw it up, but sometimes I worry that maybe he isn't right. It's such a big responsibility - raising a child.
But of course I wouldn't give it up for the world - mom guilt and all.