Parental Guilt: Assuaging Feelings Of Failure

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston Churchill

I’m going to be very honest here: Since I’ve had kids, I feel like a failure almost every day of my life. I always wanted to be THAT mother. You know the one. Perfectly put together every day with kids who are always clean and look like they just stepped out of a Gymboree catalog. I wanted to be the mom who easily juggles working outside the home and still manages to bake and have gourmet dinners ready by the time her husband gets home. Instead I’m a mom who was excited this morning that I was able to shower before noon and I had clean yoga pants to wear. Many days, my kids spend most of their time in their pajamas or in whatever I can grab before my daughter tries to roll off the changing table. My house looks like a toy store exploded and even though I’m not working now, I barely have the energy at the end of the day to spell gourmet let alone cook it. Last night, we had Pastaroni.

Everyday I feel like I’m failing because I am not living up to these ideals. Everyday I try harder and harder and get more frustrated because my kids deserve to have the best mom possible. I want to be the prefect mom because they DESERVE perfection.

But then I begin to consider the detriment of having a ’perfect’ mom on my kids, Elliot and Oliver. Growing up, I always struggled with being a perfectionist. I felt a lot of self-created pressure to do things well and if I wasn’t what I deemed ‘good enough’, I quit. I couldn’t handle being seen as not good enough. I don’t play an instrument and I never played sports because those were things that I wasn’t strong at immediately. I don’t want my kids to feel that pressure. I want them to understand that it’s ok to make mistakes and that as long as you try your best, then that is good enough. I think that having a mom who isn’t perfect, who makes mistakes, and who just keeps striving to be better, could actually be the perfect example for them. But then the thing I struggle with is how do I stop feeling guilty? How do I become ok with not being everything that they deserve, but being the mother they need?

As a parent, what do you feel guilty about? How do you deal with it?

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