I find that a lot of mothers take any opportunity to add guilt to their already busy lives. Women in general are so hard on themselves, but when they become mothers, it increases incredibly.
Mothers somehow use guilt as a pay-off to feel better: as if feeling guilty confirms that you care, want to be better and do have good intentions. The best of this concept of guilt is that your kids can smell your guilt a mile away and therefor know exactly when to start mixing the ingredients of a devine guilt-cake together. And boy, what great bargaining power do they not get out of a perfectly baked guilt situation?
What if you did not feel guilt? What if your children did not know what the ingredients are to get that perfect guilty pleasure? What if you could live a guilt-free life?
I will briefly tell you my experience of last week and how instead of feeling guilty I convinced myself that I should feel proud for teaching my son a valuable lesson in disappointment and forgiveness. Yip, that is what life coaching did for me. I have the power and skill to turn any situation into great feedback! Ha-ha.
We had a mathematics demo on at his pre-primary school last week. Now keep in mind that this is extremely important, as he is in Grade 0 (Grade R), so such things should not be missed or it might scar your kid for life (tongue-in-cheek).
Not only was the demo one day, but two days (on the Tuesday and Thursday), which means that I had a chance to redeem myself.
I knew about this, but did not completely understand the details surrounding this important event (feedback to me: ask next time). Seeing that he is preparing for primary school (Grade 1) I thought that it is just a Maths teacher who will be demonstrating what great maths skills will be taught next year in turn for the whopping amount of school fees we will be paying, so I did not think it was necessary for me to attend this convincing talk. I was sold already, so did not figure that I had to be convinced any further.
This Mathematics demo was actually an opportunity for the parents to sit in class with their children and be spectators at a showcase of their own child's mathematical skills. OOPS!
I showed up after school and my son was quite fine. As usual we spoke about his day and how it was, but during our drive home it started going from a relatively normal catch-up to quite a dramatic emotional scene of disappointment, blame and shame.
My son was letting me know exactly how I was the only parent not present to see his great skills as a mathematician and that he could NEVER show me this EVER again. This moment has forever passed and I had no way of going back in time to fix this extreme error as a mother.
Let me just nibble at my wrists already...
In that moment I did of course feel extremely regretful and sad for not being present for this important event, resulting in my son's heartbreak, but at the same time I could use my life coaching skills to understand that it is in the past and that there is absolutely nothing I could do about it.
Going through all the options in my mind I soon realized that the most important thing to do now was to validate my son's feelings, apologize and rest by the fact that I was a valuable chess piece in teaching my son about disappointment and forgiveness, because he has to learn that at some point, right?
I stopped the car, asked him to get out of his carseat for a hug and I just held him. I apologized and told him that if I had a time machine, I would definitely go back in time and make sure I was there. I told him that mommies also made mistakes and that it was okay for him to be disappointed, angry and sad.
He luckily answered me immediately (with a lot of tears and extreme traumatic cries) saying that he was not angry, but just really sad. Thank goodness (ha-ha). It was going better than I thought.
I said: "Thank you for not being angry at me, but do you think you could find it in your heart to forgive me?" He did find it in his heart, but it did not make it any easier for him to get over it.
This is what I try to teach mothers during our life coaching sessions:
1. You will mess up more times than your calculator could even handle and it is okay.
2. You are not supposed to be perfect, but you are supposed to be human, which will
teach your children how to be human and how to understand other humans.
3. You will not permanently scar your children, as long as your greatest intention is
love and that you try and learn from your mistakes.
4. You are not doing anyone a favor by feeling guilt. Guilt steals joy and clutters the
space in your head and heart that was meant for better things. Keep the lesson and can
5. Remember that your child is yours for a reason. You are supposed to learn from
them and they are supposed to learn from you. You lead by example and by
allowing yourself to make mistakes you are teaching your children that they are
allowed to make mistakes as well.
6. Life is supposed to be fun. Stop beating yourself up about every single thing, every
single day. You are waisting your energy, your youth and your time. Your kids want
you to be happy, so rather focus on that and you will be the best mom you can ever
7. Be proud of the fact that you will be the greater teacher of forgiveness... EVER!
Let me know if you have any "mommy-fails". I would love to hear about them. The more we talk about how we all mess up, the more normal we will feel.
Happy days mommies and remember... HAVE FUN!!!