"I would, but I'd just feel so guilty..."
How familiar does this phrase sound? It's almost second nature to feel guilt. Guilt for wanting children. For not wanting children. For wanting a career. For wanting to change careers. For wanting to stay
at home. It sometimes feels as though there's no choice we can make without guilt ready to pile itself onto you, ruling everything. here are five quick ground rules about mom-guilt that I always keep in the
back of my mind.
1. Having a feeling doesn't make something true
So the fact that youare feeling guilt doesn't actually mean that someone has suffered, or
that you've done anything wrong. Your feelings can play tricks on you though, and make you think that if you feel guilty, you must actually be guilty of something.
2. It's ok to want to be happy and feel fulfilled
This bares saying, even though it seems like common sense. Being a mother absolutely
means that you have priorities other than yourself and putting your family first is certainly important, but you are a part of your family, too. Your life path does not suddenly get less consideration--there are just more factors to account for now, and that's ok.
3. Don't let the voices of others (even including well-intended people) drown out your own thoughts, intuitions and feelings
Maybe you've decided that it's time for a change. Maybe you want something you never thought you'd want, or that you wouldn't have wanted before.It's important to listen to your own voice and not outsource your
decision-making entirely to your friends and family because the guilt is making you feel like you can't count on yourself to make decisions.
4. Do your research
Would making a life change really have the consequences you're imagining? would transitionning into another career, for instance, be as financially difficult as you think? Would staying at home with the kids feel as isolating as you fear? Connect with other moms who've made changes, or who are living the life you're
considering, and learn more about the actual experiences. Gathering information will feel empowering.
5. Never make a decision based on guilt alone
Guilt alone can lead to resentment or bitterness down the line. And certainly guilt has its
place (we all have regrets and wish we'd acted differently sometimes), but unless the guilt is backed by some sort of reasoned thought process, it can really fester and gnaw at you.
Speaking as someone who's taken a few unexpected turns in my life, I can say that hindsight has a way of making life seem quite fortunate.You show up somewhere wishing you were somewhere else, and end up
wondering how you'd imagined any other path. Trust yourself, and trust that you will be ok.