Ever since my first child was born, you’ve been following me around, clouding my judgment and undermining my confidence. You’re feeding her too much. Don’t you know you’re supposed to nap when the baby is sleeping? You’re holding her too much. No, now you’re not holding her enough.
You kept pursuing me throughout the years, never letting go, even though I tried to ignore you. Show them how to share. Give them their own space. Help them make friends. Call the teacher. Stop calling the teacher. Have a real career so people won’t constantly ask you what you do all day. What kind of mother isn’t there to greet her kids when they get home from school?
A parent is only as happy as her unhappiest child. So you better make sure everyone is happy. All the time. No excuses. It’s not working? That means you are not trying hard enough.
Eventually I realized that you would always accuse me, no matter what I did. For doing too much and for doing too little. For keeping my children too close and for letting go. For the things that I didn’t say and for all the words I did. For the late nights that I worried for nothing and for the days when I should have been worrying but didn’t. For the moments when I cared too deeply and for the times when I was too distracted to listen.
So on this Mother’s Day, I am saying goodbye to your voice of guilt once and for all, and welcoming in your place the voice of gratitude.
Her voice is a lot nice to hear. She sounds something like this:
Each child is precious. Every moment with them is an opportunity for connection. Be grateful for your ability to choose these two crucial things every day: what to focus on and how much effort to invest in it.
Say thank You as soon as you wake up each morning. For the little things that aren’t always so little. And for the bigger things that are bigger than we can imagine. For shelter, water and trees. For health and books and coffee. For your marriage, your home, and your children.
Notice the light in your children’s eyes. Cherish their laughter. Love your children and feel their love. Listen to their stories and tell them your own.
Care too deeply. Hold on for too long. Never let go. Thank the Almighty today and every day for this gift of motherhood. And when things are getting tough, hold on tight to that positive voice inside that chases guilt away and leaves gratitude in its place.
And we need to make sure we don't feel guilty for letting go of guilt! Too often we can fall back into listening to that negative voice, but it is never too late to start over. Begin with today.
Goodbye guilt, and happy Mother’s Day.