When it comes to our hobbies or professions, we accept easily that we have more to learn, why not in parenting then?
I always felt smug that I was (and is still) a better parent. This constant notion of enveloping myself with the best parenting practices to give Inaaya, my daughter, the best has made me ponder over this question about how am I rated as a parent, if any of my actions will affect her!
I remember, when Inaaya was born with a super hyper sensitive skin, I knew this isn’t going to be a smooth ride. I decided to take over a-z control of her. After a month of complete doctor-set followed routine, when her skin rashes didn’t get any better and she was still suffering from skin problems, I asked myself, “Where did I go wrong? How couldn’t I help my baby?” I found myself guilty. Guilt of being an incapable parent, guilt of letting my child suffer.
Feeling guilty is an inevitable part of parenting. The guilty self-talk that plagues our minds can be quite alarming – “I have damaged my child! I am a bad parent! I am a failure as a parent! My child will grow up to be dysfunctional!”
What Causes Guilt Parenting?
- Working mums trying to balance career and kids have a great source of guilt. Research has also shown that women can feel a sense of guilt and failure about having lowered levels of libido and subsequent intimacy with their partners following childbirth.
- Parents with more than one kid, have a guilt of favouring one child over the other.
- Then there’s guilt of technology usage worrying about their children choosing to use phones over playgrounds.
- and much more….
Guilt, by definition, means ‘fear of retribution’. It tells you “Look what you’ve done, what kind of a parent are you? You should have known better!”
Our own role models were imperfect, we are imperfect, how can we expect ourselves to raise perfect babies. Even though it makes us uncomfortable, our children have every right to protest against us when we let them down. We make claims about children’s “resilience” – but do we ourselves have the ego-resilience to hear them out, when they point squarely at our parental lapses?
So, what makes us “good parents“?
It is not about how to get it right for our children, it is not about not making mistakes. Good parenting is about a willingness to acknowledge our mistakes and our lapses and to be humble enough to apologise when necessary. Also, it is about accepting to learn and grow. It is sometimes, okay to enjoy our children for who they are rather than taking our parenting so seriously.
How to overcome Guilt Parenting?
- Don’t Worry – this guilt is normal
We, as parents, always feel we are the worst parent in the world but remember every parent feels like that at times.
- Perfection is impossible.
Dealing with your child who refuses to go to bed will never be easy. Be realistic about your capacity and solve the problem without stress.
- Create your own network of parent groups
Sharing your stories and experiences with other parents will help you find out that you are not alone. Exchange positive feedbacks and come back to your child stress-free.
So, the next time you find yourself reacting impatiently towards your child – and then recoiling in guilt – tell yourself this is a sign that you need a ‘me’ time saving you and your child from a lot of anguish.
P.S. Sometimes, as parents, we need to breathe before tiredness becomes exhaustion.
Thanks for joining me. Hope you had a good read!
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily mirror the views or opinions of any individual.
“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.” – Barbara Johnson