“Did I make a mistake?”, “I think my son hates me”, “ I shouldn’t have done it so fast”. “He is so little”. My gynaecologist told me to stop breastfeeding my son as he turned 1. But my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were against it. I did what my doctor approved. I felt was right for my son. Even though my reasons were clear. I felt this huge amount of guilt. The guilt of not being a good mom when he cried for breast-milk. My mil is right and I did the wrong thing. I am a bad mom. There started my journey of Mom-guilt.
My son is a teenager now. There are clear instances I can recall till date where I felt I failed him.
From the time when I was teaching him to not hit anyone (like 2 years olds sometimes do)
To losing my patience when he forgot numbers while counting.
One time when I took my eyes off him for a second and the child fell on the floor – headfirst.
The worst one is when he wanted his milk bottle at night but I just couldn’t get up from the bed. Hugged him to sleep.
The time when my son came crying to me because he wasn’t taught to hit back – I saw that as my mistake. But I was trying to raise a compassionate child.
Children are too adorable. When they are small they don’t know what is happening. When they are bigger they forget and forgive their mothers for their “mistakes”.
But the mom’s guilt that we give ourselves never leaves.
There are still days when his childhood days cross my mind and cannot help but feel guilty for not doing “the right thing”
Until one day, when my son himself told me, “You were doing the right thing, Mumma”.
That hit me hard.
I was doing “The right thing” all along. Based on my thought process at that age. I was making the right decisions for my child.
We love our children the most. Our decisions are always for their good then why do Mothers feel the guilt?
Many times, the child doesn’t even notice. But the impossible standards we have created for ourselves as mothers. Makes us feel like we should have done better.
Sometimes these standards of a “Good Mom” comes from our mothers and mothers-in-law. Sometimes from our friends and family.
The fact that mothers and mother-in-law have so much life experience. What they say and do can never be wrong. So if we treat our children differently. We start questioning ourselves.
Burdened in work, we sometimes scold our children on their innocent questions or actions.
If we are work from home mothers – The mom-guilt comes in a variety of ways. My child wanted to talk but I said later. I was dealing with a work situation. He would think, my mother, is never free to listen to me.
You made a lovely hot meal for your child. But they refuse to eat it. You being the “I want to raise a grounded child” tell them to eat what is cooked.
Although you will cook his requested meal the next day. End up feeling the guilt of being “too strict” with the child.
It could be your inner voice or your husband’s or your mother-in-law’s
बच्चा ही तो है
कह रहा है तो बना दो न french fries
कल खिला लेना दाल
I am in the second inning of my life. The intensity and frequency of my mom’s guilt are still running wild.
Why do I feel mother’s guilt?
Even though my child is my priority. My day revolves around their routine.
Still, I feel guilty. Perhaps for not meeting my standards.
If my child is eating biscuits – what will my mother-in-law think. I cannot make a healthy snack for him.
What will my father-in-law think?
Will my husband approve of it?
The noise doesn’t end.
Mothers with college-going children face another kind of mom-guilt.
He wants to go on a trip to Goa. All his friends are going. How can I let him go? The things children do these days. I worry if he will be okay. Am I being too strict on him?
It’s Mihika’s friend’s birthday party. She asked me if she could spend the night at her friend’s house after. I know they will be drinking and all. I said, Yes. Am I giving her too much freedom!?
You would think बच्चों की शादी कर दी अब तो Guilt-free हो गए होंगे
God forbid if your child’s marriage is in trouble. Mostly with the girl’s mother but the boy’s mother can feel it too.
हमसे क्या गलती हो गयी कि हमारा बच्चा adjust नहीं हो पाया
If your child is happily married, busy in their house. Unintentionally when they are not able to give you time. then mothers feel bad about not giving the right values that your child doesn’t take care of you.
As Grandmothers, we do not stop feeling guilty. It comes in form of not being able to do enough for the grandchildren.
My mother is a fabulous cook. She is 65 years old. I have never seen another woman who keeps herself so active. Unfortunately, a few years ago, she developed a back issue. Whenever we visit her. She makes sure the children are spoilt with all their favourite dishes.
Once it was monsoon season and my son asked to eat “Dahi Bhalla” from the local chaat waala. This is no big town where you can go to hygienic places to get chaat. So, I told him we cannot have it as it’s the rainy season and we don’t know how hygienic the chaat would be.
We entered the house. My mother went straight into the kitchen and started prepping for “Dahi Bhalla Papdi”. My children are now careful not to make food requests in front of her.
She somehow sensed it.
The woman, always ready to pamper the children, feels guilty about not being able to make yummy dishes for them anymore.
The ache is not her fault. Still, she feels guilty.
The guilt of doing too much – not doing enough.
Being too attentive – not paying enough attention.
Am I spoiling him – being too strict?
A mother’s guilt keeps coming back in some shape or form.
What I go through in my mind is no different than any of my friends. I am sure you as a mother feel the guilt at some point.
हम माएँ बच्चे को पालकर बड़ा कर देते हैं और दुनिया के लिए तैयार कर देते हैं
साथ साथ अपनी guilt को भी पाल कर बड़ा करके और बिमारी बना लेते हैं
What is the way out?
How do I get it out of my head?
No matter what our reasons are. Guilt is a negative emotion.
Negative emotions when not dealt with it or managed. Result in disease in the body.
Notice how women age faster.
According to the University of Michigan, Our emotions have a big role to play in it.
Did you know negative emotions are the reasons why people develop diseases like Cancer, blood pressure issues, heart disease, digestion problems, low immunity?
Our emotions play a big role in our physical health is not a Be positive pish-posh. Or the empty encouragement of Be happy no matter what.
Science backs up the Mind-Body connection. what happens in the mind shows in the body.
There are many studies which show the role of emotions and personality traits in our physical health.
Sometimes we are aware of the situation Sometimes we are not.
Our body keeps collecting the negative emotion and starts showing up in the form of low immunity, inflammation. Resulting in Breast Cancer, Tumour etc.
An action when it is done repeatedly becomes a habit. This feeling of everyday guilt becomes a permanent problem in the body.
If we can create a habit then can’t we break it?
When you sit with your tea in the evening and have some calm around you. Can we reflect on our day and our guilt moments?
What caused us the guilt.
What were we thinking?
I promise 10/10 times you would have a logical reason behind your action or decision.
If your baby got hurt in the park when you were sitting on the bench reading a book – it’s not your fault. He got hurt because a child can get hurt while playing.
If you asked your child to eat the food without throwing a tantrum. You are not being too strict – You are teaching him to value the food.
If your child got less marks in his exams is not because you are paying less attention.
If your child came to talk to you but you were answering an official email. It is a matter of timing not a reason to feel guilty for paying less attention.
Whatever we do as mothers we only want the best for our children.
Give yourself compassion. Treat other moms with understanding.
Catch yourself every time you find judging someone माँ ने यही सिखाया है?
Awareness of your thoughts is key.
When we are clear on this then why the guilt?
कई बार ये सोचना भी ज़रूरी है कि क्या सोच रहे हैं I
Can we be mindful of our thoughts through the day and check ourselves every time mom-guilt hits us?
When our reasons are in place then why cultivate and habit and affect our health.
Our children don’t want “Perfect” mothers. They want happy and healthy mothers.
What is the point of thinking so much and getting sick? Do you think a child will benefit from seeing a sick mother?
from a mother who knows she is human. Who reflects and corrects herself whenever needed.
We hope that you make a promise with yourself today – to treat yourself and mothers around with understanding.
Catch yourself every time you find judging someone माँ ने यही सिखाया है?