I have a college degree in family studies. I can cite research on developmental aspects in all stages of life (infants-old age). I am a research snob. I read newspaper accounts of studies with a very pessimistic mindset. I prefer to read the primary source without grappling with another author’s interpretations. I know the root cause of toddler tantrums, infant colic, separation anxiety, poor attachments, and a myriad of other issues.
This is why I feel so dang guilty all the time.
I know it is important to read to my daughter. I rarely can get her to pay attention for 5 minutes, let alone a whole story! Research doesn’t explain how to capture a young toddler’s attention.
I feel guilty that I read only 2 books a day (on a good day).
I know I shouldn’t become irritated when the Queen gets into things. It is a part of her development. She is learning. But, gosh darnit, after the millionth time of taking her away from the trash, I am on the verge of freaking out! I use a harsh tone and grab her hand rather aggressively. (More like firmly, but harder than I would like.)
I feel guilty about the harsh tone, the irritation, and the hand grabbing. I should be doing better.
I know how important it is to hold my little Manly. He needs his mommy’s closeness. He needs his mommy’s love. At least the research says so. Manly has other ideas. He prefers the swing. The swing! Over his mommy’s arms!
I am terrified that he will develop a flat head because he sits in the swing so much. I feel guilty that I am not holding him, even though he doesn’t want to be held.
Tummy time is emphasized all over the research. It strengthens their neck muscles, improves their vision, and increases their core muscle tone. Ah, but for colicky babies it means screaming time. If I put him on his tummy, I will inevitably have hours of screaming to look forward to. No thank you.
Guilt, guilt, and more guilt. I am not doing tummy time. I am a horrible mom.
The funny thing is, I feel guilty about feeling guilty! I know I am too hard on myself. I know I shouldn’t be so nitpicky about my mothering. Good grief, I give other people a break, why not do the same thing for me?
It comes from being a perfectionist. I want perfect children. I want to be the perfect mom. I want to do everything perfectly.
This. Is. Impossible. Impossible! I know this! Why, then, do I ignore my own advice?
I ignore my advice because I have too high of expectations for myself. Since I have a college degree, I should an example.
This mindset is slowly disappearing. Having my second baby chilled me out big time. I don’t obsess over Manly as I did over the Queen. I am more willing to let him cry a few more minutes and put him down more. My guilt doesn’t overcome me nearly as much.
Education is important. I am so proud of my degree. I worked my butt off for it. However, education does not solve every problem. Research is fraught with holes and it normally focuses only on one child. It does not include sections for parents with more than one child. I am beginning to recognize the importance of adapting what I know with my unique situation.
I still use my education. I just use it differently.
As for my guilt? Writing eases my sufferings. I realize that all mothers struggle with the same issues. We want to be the best, but often find ourselves short of that goal. This is important. Very important. I believe this life is a time to learn. A time to grow. A time to seek perfection, but recognize it is impossible. It is the seeking that is necessary. It helps us turn to God for support.
Does guilt torture you?
How do you use your knowledge and education to benefit yourself? To torment yourself?
Do you think education can sometimes be a negative thing?