I feel bad about something different every day- sometimes every minute. Being a mom kind of has that effect on us, doesn’t it? On the best days, I feel bad that I didn’t clean the breakfast dishes before going to work. On the so-so days, I feel bad that I gave the kids brownies for breakfast. On the worst of the days, I feel bad that I screamed and yelled in the morning, when I should have been calm, laughed it off, or reminded my kids how loved they are. On those worst of the worst mornings, it is likely that breakfast was never served at all.
I feel bad when I remember who I was years ago and the real damage I caused. There were times when I missed a birthday party because I was drinking and there were 13 times I was in a hospital detox because I drank myself into a state of pure physical addiction to alcohol. There are times when I remember something that should have been wonderful- like our first family trip to Disney World- and I feel disgusted because my drinking ruined everything during that trip. I feel bad a lot. Feeling bad? Well, it feels bad. But, you know what? It isn’t all that bad, actually. Feeling bad is like intuition’s homework. It is our gut telling us that there is something to be learned, so when I feel bad I look for the lesson.
Sometimes the lesson is as simple as gratitude. One way to combat feelings of sadness, anger, regret, guilt and self-loathing is to seek gratitude. I can always find something to be grateful for and so when I feel bad, I look for a source of gratitude. My giving of thanks usually starts with my health- mental and physical. I am grateful I don’t ruin things anymore -because I am sober and that is a miracle! I am grateful that I get to see my kids after the bad mornings and hug them and say the three important and healing words: I am sorry. I am grateful that the moments that make me feel bad are just that: moments. They pass and so does the feeling bad.
Every mothering situation that left me feeling really freaking crappy taught me a lesson I will never forget, because feeling crappy is a great catalyst for growth. If it hurts us enough, we just may do something different next time. And so I do the best I can- to try, to learn, to grow, to be better. I measure myself not by the number of bad moments I have had as a mother, but by my willingness to learn and grow and become better. If I never had these bad moments, these moments of feeling bad, I would miss out on all the beautiful growing pains that are molding me into a better, stronger, more confident and loving version of myself. It is not easy to see the silver lining in the crap that surrounds us, but it’s there and if you ask me, silver linings are pretty-damn beautiful!