The Guilt Trip

December 12, 2011

I got a great question from Deanna recently:

“When I do ‘loose it’ and let the kids get to me how do I get back to a joyful state and not live in the guilt trip?”

So, in the past months, I have talked a ton about ways to prevent, cope and deal with anger and irritation as a mom. For more blog posts on this issue see these collection of post – Anger Management for Moms on TJM blog. Or check out this one powerful post I wrote recently that looks at how we can empower ourselves and prevent mommy meltdowns – Empowerment Secrets for Mom.

But regardless of your every best effort, you will melt down every now and then. You are not perfect, you are not a well oiled mommy machine, you are human. And as a human you are programed to fail and if you are conscious enough, to learn from those failures, you do something different next time.

I went through a really difficult time couple years back when I felt that I was CONSTANTLY yelling. To the point where I had stress headaches everyday. I knew the disharmony came from something I was NOT doing, or not SEEING, but I just could not for the life of me figure it out. And the GUILT, oh man, it tore me up. And added to my crap feelings about myself and my ability to be a good mother as well as to the tension in the home.

After a few frustrating weeks, I started doing things differently. It started with changes within me…my perspectives, my energy and my actions. All of those things I worked consciously to align, to pull into a “rightness” – a way of living that felt good. I got grounded. I didn’t rely on my outside world changing so that I could feel better. I began to soothe my soul first. So my actions were different, better, not perfect, but I began parenting from an awake state, listening to my voice within which guides me in all the action (or inaction) I take.

Lately my intuition is telling me that I am not as present with my children as THEY need me to be. Have decided that today that will change. From now on, presence is my focus. And then some days it won’t be….and I will fall off the wagon because I got distracted by ME, my EGO, a thought, a fear, a worry, and I will lash out in an over-reaction of some sort towards my children and I will feel guilty about it. But then I will remember the following and it will make me feel better (it always does):

  • I am not perfect and it is ok for me to make mistakes – even in how I mother
  • This mommy-melt down happened to tell me something – LISTEN! What needs adjustment?
  • Apologize to my children – show them that I am only human and humans do sometimes silly things
  • In the next moment, I have the CHOICE to do it all differently – to even discipline with LOVE! I know I can do better in the next moment.
  • If I hang on to the guilt, I will only recreate the hurt for me and for them over and over. Let it go…
  • Tell yourself ONE good or even awesome thing that you do as a mom or how you are a mom. We are so bad at celebrating what we do right, we only focus on the bad stuff. This will help you move past the guilt and fully let it go.

So, FEEL the guilt, LISTEN for the lesson, LET GO of the guilt, give yourself some LOVE, MOVE into the next moment with joy, and DO BETTER next time.  You see, I think that if we didn’t feel guilt about our over-reactions, the yelling, the mommy meltdowns, then we would not have at our disposal a hard-wired regulating system for DOING BETTER, for learning. No one mother out there has it all figured out. We are all figuring this thing called parenting out as we go! But the key here is letting go. We cannot do better next time if we keep living in the guilt. Another way of looking at it is, letting go of the guilt is really giving your children the gift of the next moment with you. Will you give that gift of presence and love or will you move into the next moment with them still full of self-hatred, anger, frustration and guilt? What would your children want most from you?







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