“YOU ARE FINE. YOU DO YOU. Be okay with who you are, and feel no shame about anything, ever.” This is a message that we moms hear A LOT. It’s the notion that everything you do is okay, and as long as you are true to yourself that you can do no serious harm. And I bet by the title of this post that you were expecting to get that message again.
Let me be real. There are times as a parent that it is actually right for me to be feeling that awful emotion of just not being enough. There are times when I truly act selfish, in a way that it not the best for the people around me. Like when I let perfectly good food sit in the fridge and go bad because I just didn’t “feel like” cooking. Or when I just choose not to adult because I know we can survive if everyone just stares at a screen all day – mommy included.
Not trying to be the devil’s advocate here, but what if we are supposed to feel bad about that kind of thing? What if we spend a lot of energy making ourselves feel okay about parenting behaviors that we actually ought to feel ashamed of? If your two year old is winning most of the battles and eating Halloween candy before 10 AM, maybe that’s actually a problem? One of the last times I visited my grandmother, we were watching the news, and she looked in my eyes and said, “I just can’t believe the way people feel no shame anymore.” It got me thinking, maybe sometimes shame is the right feeling? And it seems almost absent from our society.
Yes, there is false shame. Yes, there is unwarranted guilt. But how do you know the difference? Real wisdom as a bonafide grown up is being able to distinguish when we need to fess up, apologize, and change verses when we need to be okay with our humanness. Without question, both responses ought to be a normal part of our life. But if we think we can do no wrong and asking forgiveness or apologizing has completely gone missing, then maybe there is some soul searching to be done?
If you’re feeling upset about the bait and switch in this post, then may I suggest something? Perhaps it is the most secure moms who actually have the freedom to apologize – to their kids, to their husbands and partners, to their parents, or their kids’ teachers, or whoever. There is something so mysteriously sweet about not only realizing you aren’t perfect, but also being free to admit your faults to others.