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Archive for January 27th, 2014

Crying it Out

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“Mom, did you let any of us cry it out when we were young?”

There it was, a child to parent question, that can zip my lips faster than crazy glue.

It’s not the only one. There is also,

  • “did you have drug-free childbirth?”
  • “did you breastfeed all of your babies until they were one year (or two, or six)?
  • “how do you feel about circumcision?”
  • “did your kids watch TV as preschoolers?”
  • “did you get your kids immunized?”

My daughter’s question was a fair one, a reasonable one, after all she is a Psychology student, and numerous psychological theories deal with issues of nurture and attachment. But, I was not ready to talk about such theories … I am still, and may always, be living the motherly existence of being chased down by momma guilt.

Momma guilt is a most powerful, dark and destructive force. It can erase the ten good things a mother does with one newspaper article, one crime drama, one conversation with a mom who ‘did it all right’ and is currently wearing the coveted mother-of-the-year crown on her perfectly coiffed hair.

I wrote about Momma Guilt a couple of years ago, especially in regard to those perfect TV moms, that so many of us grew up with.

But, the TV moms of the past have been replaced by the scientific study, or the psychological theory about development and attachment (or the mom next door), and they are so convincing with their charts, their studies and their scientific process.

But what they tell us (and I still keep needing to remind myself) is what they know from their studies, their theories and their observations … today. The results tomorrow might just be different, they might point us to a very different direction.

They are also only telling us one side of the child nurture and rearing process … that of the child, not taking other circumstances into account, such as physical or mental health of the mother, familial circumstances and support (including the role of the daddy), family or cultural history.

The difficulty with being a mom is that no matter what investment we make into the lives of our children, we will indeed make mistakes, and some of them will be whoppers! We will say things, do things and make decisions that will result life-long effects in how our children see themselves, others and their place in this world. We will hurt them, we will make decisions that leave them deficit in areas, we will over-do things that will leave them ‘damaged.’

And, if that is all we consider about our roles as mothers, we will have enough momma guilt to carry our bodies six feet down.

But …

we do what we do, as moms,

with the greatest of intent.

with the most deep desire for success of our children.

with an immeasurable amount of love.

and we know, from the moment that we hold that perfect personification of our heart’s beat, that we simply are not qualified to do justice to our child.

but, that does not stop us from putting more effort into the task,

than we put into any other in our lifetimes.

Today, my three earthly children are speaking to me

each one has hugged, or been hugged by me

I am satisfied to say that today … just today, I am a successful mom,

no momma guilt needed.

And my answer to “Mom, did you let any of us cry it out when we were young?”

“I’ll let you know later … when you are a mom.”

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