My moratorium on feeling guilty

by Katie on July 23, 2015

I’m a new mom.

Which means my tendency to feel guilty just raised threefold in the last few months.

Why are women, and especially mothers, such experts at feeling guilty all of the time?

There is always something to feel guilty about.

Too much tv. Not enough interaction. Too much interaction. Not enough independence. Too many date nights. Not enough date nights. Too much work. Not enough work. The list goes on and on. It is exhausting.

I work from home sometimes so I feel guilty if I’m home working and not spending time with my daughter.

Then I feel guilty when I’m hanging out with my daughter and not getting my work done. It is an endless cycle.

Then of course we feel guilty for feeling guilty. And we feel guilty for struggling.

Shouldn’t I have it more together? Shouldn’t I just get over it, feel grateful, and be happy?

Well yes, we all want to be happy. And being grateful is transformative, especially in the midst of challenge.

But we also need to acknowledge when things feel hard. When we are exhausted and burnt out. When we want to throw in the towel, sell our belongings, and live in an Airstream on a mountaintop (anybody?).

We need to acknowledge our feelings, even when they are uncomfortable and messy.

Of course sometimes feeling guilty is appropriate and necessary. When you’ve been blatantly dishonest. If you’ve hurt someone’s feelings and need to ask for forgiveness. If you’ve just robbed a bank. Then, maybe, you should feel guilty.

But otherwise it is time for us to stop. We are all doing the best we can with the information we have. And feeling guilty all the time isn’t going to change anything. In fact it just makes us defensive and unhappy.

So I hereby declare an end to feeling guilty.

Instead let’s honor the amazing work we are doing. Let’s celebrate how each day we manage to juggle our jobs, relationships, housework, and sanity all while raising our kids and loving them with all we have.

That’s not something to feel guilty about. That is something to marvel at.

But I’m still thinking about that Airstream.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Whisenant July 25, 2015 at 8:12 am

But Katie, that bank deserved it!!

Fantastic stuff here. It is very important for me to acknowledge and accept my feelings and thoughts. But guilt…such a waste. Guilt lives in the past. And I try not to do that today.

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Katie July 25, 2015 at 9:22 am

So true Brian!! Guilt totally lives in the past. Better to be here, in the present. It’s a constant process I’m learning, but so important!

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