A mother’s guilt… (deep sigh)… ah yes the very familiar and unwanted acquaintance that lingers over all we do. I have heard it said many times that when you give birth to a child, you also give birth to a mother’s guilt. I wish (oh, how I wish!) this post was about how to relieve your mother’s guilt, but alas this is simply a let yourself off the hook post or it’s good to laugh at yourself type of post or even better…..you’re definitely not alone kind of a post.
I come humbly to you today to tell you one of my ultimate mommy guilt moments that happened just this morning. Our son, Cooper, is truly a combination of Blane and I in all aspects of his life. This even includes his eyesight. Our pediatrician discovered at 20 months old that one of Cooper’s eyes is far sighted (yours truly) and the other eye is a lazy eye (Daddy, I will refrain from any jabs or smart remarks at this point). We were assured that some of his eyesight problems could be remedied with glasses and a patch. Recently we were told that his prescription needed to be stronger and he would have to return to wearing the patch for 3 hours a day for 3 months. Shew, treatment seemed a little long but Cooper was amazing and religiously wore his patch.
This morning he had his 3 month check-up, which of course he has been excited about knowing that we would most likely be told to discontinue the use of the patch. Cooper insisted that today was the day because he could “feel his eye getting stronger”. So I proudly announced to the nurse and doctor that “WE” had only missed 3 days during the whole 3 months and “WE” did such a great job following the instructions.
The moment of truth came when the nurse began her examination. As the letters were displayed on the screen and his “bad eye” was covered, it was immediate that I could see the panic in his eyes as he could not see the letters on the screen in front of him. My mind raced with every possible question. What could possibly be going on? Why was his eye darting around the room like he couldn’t see? And why….oh, my…gulp….wait a minute… I quickly asked the nurse to double check his chart and verify the eye we should’ve been patching for the last 3 months (which by the way is approximately 270 hours of patch time if anyone is keeping track). It was then that my worst fear was realized. I had been patching the wrong eye the whole time. My pulse dropped, tears filled my eyes and if I could’ve found a hole to crawl in, I would have and then kindly asked the first stranger walking by to take and raise my child so I couldn’t “mess him up” anymore.
Cooper handled it with such grace and responded only how he knows to… with humor. He could see me coming unglued and came over and kissed me and patted my shoulder and pulled his favorite sucking finger out of his mouth just long enough to say, “baby brain!” That phrase has become Parker & Cooper’s favorite line lately anytime I do anything out of sorts or forget something or yes, believe it or not, find the milk or orange juice in the pantry. Hmph!
I have definitely learned to laugh a little more at myself today, which of course goes without saying so I won’t melt into a heap of tears anywhere I go. Can you relate? Apparently I am a slow learner too. I dutifully brought Cooper home this afternoon and immediately put a patch on his eye and yes, much to “my surprise”, I put the patch on the wrong side again, which was only discovered when Cooper said, “Mommy, that’s the wrong eye again”.
Isn’t it good to know that we have all been there, done that and have the mommy guilt badge to prove it. I’m pretty sure if it was a competition of badges I would be winning or at least pretty close to the top (just under my own mom that is).
I think it would be an interesting experiment to make notes of every time we feel guilty for 2 solid weeks. Chances are, it may be a little amusing once we are removed from the situation to look back and see what we spent all those countless moments fretting about so intently. It may be a good opportunity to see just how silly we were about the whole situation or we might just discover that we sometimes wrap our woes around like a warm blanket because we ironically find it more comforting to continue to worry and feel guilty. It happens, we make mistakes and sometimes we will cry and then there are those times that we can belly laugh it out with a group of girlfriends.
Let’s hear your creative side on this one. Can you create an acronym for GUILT that could help other moms laugh their way through it or better yet an acronym that will remind us to surrender the guilt back to God so we can get back to what really matters?
Here’s my first shot at it:
God Understands I Long for a TIME OUT!
What are your ideas?