An open letter to mama guilt and self-judgment
Dear totally debilitating guilt and abhorrent self-judgment,
I’m going to frank here. Straight up. If there is one thing that motherhood has given me it’s the inability to sugar coat and fuss about any longer. I have something to say, so I’m going to say it – straight shooting.
I am done with you, guilt.
And you, judgment? Well you can go jump… off the cliff edge, off a bridge. I don’t care. As long as it’s a big enough jump so you are be well away from me.
So here’s the thing, I’ve never really suffered from guilt or shame. Well, of course I’ve felt guilt and shame, but I mean only smatterings of guilt and uneventful doses of shame that we all experience – like falling flat on my face, walking UP stairs. But to be overcome by and controlled by guilt, well it’s just (thankfully) not been my thing.
But I never, ever expected for the mama guilt to be so heavy. Such a burden to carry daily. I’ve been told that from the day my little sunbeam flashed into the world in her effervescent way that I will forever be dragging behind me the guilt of a thousand lifetimes…
And you know what, I’m not buying into that. Why? Because even on the worst days – those days when I accidentally knocked my babies head on the world, had a mini meltdown over the nappy change challenge and snapped at her with such intensity she actually looked scared – I’m still doing an amazing job.
Guess what, so is every damn mama out there (ok maybe not every one, but that’s an entirely different letter!)
Or how about those days when I’m chatting to my local mama friends and I hear that one has already enrolled her 10 month old into the best local schools, or how the other one hand makes all of her babies clothes. Or even how another mama uses cloth nappies and hand washes them all, to minimise her footprint on mama earth. Yep, even those days when I don’t feel up to scratch and I can’t compare or compete with any of the above I’m still going to choose self love and compassion. (P.s I choose meditation over nappy washing; truly sorry mama earth but hoping my higher vibrations are helping in some way?)
Then there’s all the stuff I didn’t know how to do in the beginning. And all the wrong turns I made trying to figure out this little bundle of (often, not-so) joy. Did I set myself up for years of struggle because I held her and rocked her to sleep? Have I damaged her forever because I played white noise, loudly, near her little ears just so she would shut up for 5 minutes? Or what about the time I listened to a sleep consultant instead of my heart and I left you to cry (for 10 minutes)… did I damage our bond? Have I permanently caused long-term health issues by vaccinating you? Worst still, will I make the same mistakes again with round 2? Were they even mistakes? How will I ever know?
Even just writing that out, dear guilt, I know it’s time to call BULLSHIT on you.
Instead I choose today and every day to see my greatness as a mama -actually as a WOMAN and HUMAN BEING – and not my flaws. I choose to see what I did well and right instead of where I got lost – I learn from those mistakes, that it more than enough. I know the good outweighs the bad. The positive overcomes the negative. For every thing I’ve missed, didn’t do, forgotten there are 10 more things I remembered, did do and achieved.
No more guilt. No more judgment. You don’t have a free pass to play and terrorise my heart. Like I said, I’m done with you. We are done.
And why am I breaking up with you guilt? I know you are dying to know, you insidious, malignant, festering and down-right cruel emotion. Well, if that description (of you) doesn’t answer it let me break it down a little more.
- You tear me down.
- You leave me weakened and insecure.
- You make me unsure of who I am and what kind of mama I want to be.
- You waste my time worrying and fretting when I could just get on with being the incredible mama I am.
- You find ways into my work, my self image, my mood, my relationships.
- You leave me questioning instead of trusting.
But worse still, is that you are aid me in doing the one thing I do not want to do – and that is to teach my baby girl how to live small, question herself, be insecure and lacking in self confidence. I do not want little S to think that ‘guilt and self-judgment’ is the norm and that the archetype of martyr-mama is something she should carry on.
She shouldn’t. And she won’t. Because we are done – Guilt (judgment, too) and I are breaking up. Officially.
- I’ll meditate my way through the challenges.
- I’ll leave it behind as each day drawers to a close.
- I’ll take the lessons from those challenging moments
- I’ll shed the remnants of that all-pervasive, sticky and cancerous mind-crap we experience called guilt + judgment!
So this is my invitation. Mama or not. If you’re human then take this letter and make it your own. Time to rid yourself and this world of guilt and judgment. There are 1000 better ways in which to channel our powerful minds and thoughts.
There is no anger left here. There is no hatred. It’s my own fault for ever letting guilt and self-judgment in the door. I’ve said my piece. It’s time to make peace. You go that way, I’ll go this way.
I choose freedom from the struggle and call on self-love from now on.
Love + light,