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Challenge: WHO Are You?

Let Go of the Guilt That May Come with Parenthood

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Becoming a parent is an all-consuming experience that offers times of utter bliss interspersed with physical and mental exhaustion. At times the demands of having children may seem to outweigh the rewards. It’s hard not to feel that you can never do enough and this can create terrible feelings of guilt.

Most of the time, the love you have for your eclipses anything else, and the love they show back to you makes you incredibly happy. But there are also those times when feelings of guilt, fear and anxiety torment you.

I had battled for four years to have my first child and when he was born, I was ecstatic. However, the feeling didn’t last and I experienced post-partum depression. I would irrationally beg my husband not to go to work in the morning because I couldn’t face the idea of spending all day with a screaming baby who didn’t want to eat or sleep.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that the colic, dirty diapers and sleepless nights wouldn’t last forever and before long, my little one would be walking and talking.

Take time for yourself

Fortunately, when my daughter was born, I was a little older, wiser and less stressed. I began working from home and I loved the fact that I could still breastfeed. There was nothing better than taking a work break to feed my daughter and read to my son at the same time.

I didn’t feel guilty when I took personal time to take a walk, listen to music or read because I knew how important this was for my sanity. I felt so empty when my son was a baby because my health, self-care and relationships had suffered.

Now I even had time to browse the internet. I would look at product reviews for consumers at Consumer Voice to find ratings and reviews of potty training seats, teething toys and convertible car seats. As my kids grew, I would spend time looking at reviews of kid’s tablets and examine all their different features.

Let go of the guilt

There is so much pressure on us to give everything to our kids and we tend to feel immense guilt when every waking moment isn’t devoted to them.

I had wanted my first child so badly and I would spend the whole day hovering over him and watching him at night to make sure he was still breathing. Yet I couldn’t help still feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing enough.

It may seem wrong to take time for yourself when your child constantly needs attention. However, relying on someone else to care for your child for a short while and allowing yourself some time is not selfish – it’s essential.

Find a balance

I wanted to raise my children as independent, resourceful individuals and I had to realize that if I was constantly protecting them, I wasn’t giving them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

The ‘helicopter’ mom – one who monitors every move a kid makes – is a common stereotype today. As helpful as you try to be, sometimes you do too much. Kids need free play to develop self-control and problem-solving abilities. Take it away from them and you can hinder their cognitive growth and sense of wellbeing.

Obviously, your role in your child’s life is very important but I had to realize that it was also important for me to continue to pursue my dreams and live a balanced life if I wanted to be the best mother I could be for them.

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