Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You're Guilty?!

I recently started reading a book called, "Motherhood: The Guilt that Keeps on Giving" by Julie Ann Barnhill. I have been wanting for a while now, to read some books about mommy guilt and motherhood and being a confident mom. When I came across this book at the library, I was pretty excited. Not only was a book on mommy guilt, but the writer is a Christian mother! Woohoo! All I know is I am the GUILT and WORRY queen! And if you are anything like me you probably understand the mommy guilt you go through daily. It's a never ending climb to get from what Ms. Barnhill calls "Mt. Guiltmore" to "Graceland." (no we aren't talking about Elvis' graceland.)

At the beginning of the book, the author asks the reader to write a list of things you are not guilty for. Which, honestly isn't easy...I sat in bed last night thinking of my list....It took me a while to come up with a list...and the pretty miniscule compared to my guilt list. I want to share my non-guilt list with you....

Things I am not guilty for:
- Hugging and kissing Parker as much as I can each day.
- Telling Parker I love him all day, every day.
- Praying for Parker daily!
- Encouraging Parker in his development (on a side note - he rolled over from back to belly yesterday for the first time!)
- Not being scared to call the doctor when I am unsure of something
- Allowing Parker to listen/watch certain shows on tv (Noggin is my friend!)
- Snuggling him
- Being honest about my beliefs as a mom, woman, human
- Attempting to make dinner nightly while Parker plays.
- Giving Parker certain boundaries
- Taking my son to church and leaving him in the nursery
- Loving Drew and taking care of him.
- Letting Parker sleep with a blankie, his Mr. Bear - Webber, having toys in his crib, music playing, lights on if he needs it.
- Making Parker's baby food and making funny faces at him while he eats.

I am sure my list will get longer as I get through this book, but I think this is a pretty good list. Compared to the list of things I feel guilty for (I am going to only do a partial list as if I were to do'd be here all day.)

My guilty list:
- Having him get his vaccines and shots (not because I don't think they are good for him, but because they hurt him and he cries.
- Having him early
- Going through depression
- Going on on dates with Drew
- Holding other babies
- having a drink here or there
- Not bathing him daily (we do it ever other day because of his super dry skin)
- Hiding in the walk in closet when i can't take his crying anymore.
- Not playing with him more
- Not being able to afford more things for him
- Not having his actual bedding set I wanted for him.
- Sometimes wishing he wasn't a preemie.
- Him having acid reflux
- The fact he had to sleep on wedge for the 4 months
- Biting his finger one day when I was pretending to eat his hand
- His eczema
- Wanting to go to Cambodia on a missions trip with my church and leaving him here
- Leaving him in the nursery for the very first time
- Going out with friends and leaving him here with daddy or with a sitter
- WAnting to go on a trip with just some girlfriends - no kids.
- letting him suck his thumb
- Not taking more videos of him
- Feeling guilty for being overweight, not healthy, and not getting off my lazy behind.

You get the point. I really think my guilt started when I first found out I was pregnant. I felt guilty for not knowing right away and continuing to drink Coke like it was going out of style. I felt guilty for all the family illnesses I had to explain to the doctor. I felt guilty that I wasn't prepared. Feeling guilty for working a lot, feeling guilty for wondering if I really could eat lunch meat (subway was my addiction during pregnancy).

Guilt tends to consume my days and a lot of times, that guilt takes over and becomes worry. One example, the first time we took him out...I felt really guilty for it, he got a cough because of it - hence worry took over and I was convinced that doctor was going to take him away for me for taking him out and him getting a cough.

Guilt stresses me out, it burdens me, it bothers me, it can make me sick. I really need to work through this guilt, though I don't plan that it will every really go away, but I would like to get to a full understanding of grace land and God's grace.

So what about you go through guilt as a mom, what would your lists look like?

I plan to write more as I read the book and learn more.


Carrie said...

Wow- I'm glad you've found this book. I know I struggle with 'mommy guilt', too, all the time. Making a list of things I'm NOT guilty about would be difficult, but what a great idea. I may work on that later today!

The biggest thing I'm always guilty about is that I make separate meals for Zachary because of his reflux & his schedule, so we don't always eat together, and he eats some of the same things over & over- mac & cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fish sticks...and on & on, so I don't feel like I feed him healthy enough. Thanks for sharing!

Emily said...

What a nice post, I like getting to know you better! I feel ya on the mommy guilt, thanks for finally putting a word to what I feel a lot of the time!!! But you're an awesome mom, so I hope you are able to find Graceland sooner rather than later! :)

Marla Taviano said...

Great post, Denise! Your honesty is refreshing and inspiring!