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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mommy Guilt

What is it about motherhood that seemingly cultivates guilt? We feel guilty for not spending enough time with our kids, not enough quality time, too much attention to one child and not another, giving our kids unhealthy snacks, opting for a less nutritious meal for convenience, acting out our frustrations, taking some “me” time – oh, the list goes on and on. And it seems that list grows exponentially for holistic-minded moms who are passionate about making healthy and natural choices for themselves and their families. Suddenly, a trace artificial ingredient, a disposable plate or a plastic straw develops into a mountain of guilt for not being healthy enough, not green enough, not “good” enough.

It’s time moms stop beating themselves up and take a kinder, gentler approach. No matter what our passions, no matter what our goals, this natural parenting lifestyle is a journey. We are approaching each day with unique circumstances, specific knowledge and awareness, and whatever tools we have available on that day. It’s not about perfection – it’s about doing the best we can in every moment. That much-needed cup of coffee after a long night with a teething infant who is attachment parented is not something to feel guilty about. Caving in to let your child watch one PBS show so you can get a 20 minute sanity break is not the end of the world. Guilt is a destructive emotion. Guilt can make you hyper-vigilant and hyper-critical. It can immobilize you and generate a negative script in your head that denies you happiness, creates blame, and always makes you wrong. Green guilt seems to be running rampant. So rampant that it’s got a name: eco-anxiety and it’s own form of therapy: eco-therapy. But awareness is not black and white. Yesterday you may not have heard of BPA. Today you understand its dangers. Move forward, empowered by your new awareness. Don’t dwell in guilt.

And we should no more be dousing ourselves with guilt than we should be criticizing others who are trying to live their best possible life. As a holistic parent, it’s easy to get on your soapbox about everything from your non-toxic nursery and natural childbirth to living TV-free and avoiding junk food. But every person has a unique set of circumstances to manage and their choices may be optimal for them – at that moment in time. That does not mean we should be quiet. Raising awareness is essential to producing healthful change but doing so with positive intention and kindness goes further than with criticism. Help someone make a change for the better - don’t shout them down for failing to do so. Empower people and they will flourish. Shower them with guilt and they will wither.

1 comment:

  1. This is perfect and wonderful and I'm so glad I read it today. Thanks you.

    ReplyDelete

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