I used to suffer from Mom guilt.
A lot of it.
When you put a very young child through a divorce of your own choosing, you never know what lasting effects that decision will have. And you have to go through those times with them where they get tired of going back and forth between their parents and they just wish you’d stayed together.
I’ve also always worked outside the home. More guilt.
I’ve made some hard calls about things in her life. Hard calls about things in my life that would affect her life. And making those kinds of decisions will almost always lead to some type of guilt too.
Sometimes I think I praise her too much for accomplishments and not enough for just good character. But I’m getting better at that, being more mindful of telling her what I value about her as a person that is singular from her looks, her talents, and her accomplishments. Which is hard because she IS talented and smart and beautiful. And most people agree with me on that so I’m not COMPLETELY biased.
It’s a tricky age she’s at right now. Well, they’re all tricky really. But this in between child and woman age is particularly treacherous just because of how impressionable she is right now.
We saw a movie tonight. The female character was a young woman of some badassery. I asked her if she liked to see young women in those kinds of roles. She said she did. I asked her if she thought you could maintain your femininity and still kick butt. She said yes, and that I was doing a pretty good job at it. *heart melted*
And it’s in those moments that the guilt subsides for a while. We go in a bookstore together and she’s in absolute heaven, not begging for something superficial across the street from Forever 21. And I feel good about myself about the child I’m raising. She says something about how girls her age treat other people, and how it disgusts her. And my guilt level drops even further. And then she’ll say something so unique to her personality I feel a surge of pride in the mind I’ve helped shape, and the guilt, for the moment, is forgotten altogether. Because for all my failures, she’s turning out better than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. Proof that God’s grace is real.
I will probably always wonder how things would have been different if I could have been a mom again, had more than one child. But I will never not be thankful, even on the hardest days, the ones where I feel like the biggest parenting failure of all time, NEVER will I not be thankful for this daughter that I was so blessed to bring into this world, the woman she is becoming, and the woman she is helping me become.