Friday, May 25, 2012

The guilt that comes along with parenting

Over the past several months, I have been reading a ton.  I am currently reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman.  I was intrigued by it and wanted to see if I could take away anything useful for my situation.  While a lot of it seems like common sense, one particular section of it keeps coming back into my head.  The author writes about how many of  her American friends feel guilty for wanting time and space away from their children.

I think here, there is pressure to give up our lives to raise our children.  And personally, I can think of a couple of friends or friends of friends who seem to have no identity outside of being a parent.  All of their children's accomplishments are their own.  While I certainly believe that I play a huge role in Luca's life and feel that I contribute to how well she is doing, I do not want her successes or failures to control all of me. 

Why do we feel such guilt as mothers/parents?  I think that we are so afraid of what our actions look like to other parents.  I find that as parents, we are so quick to judge others, or throw in our opinions when they are not asked for.  Parenting is hard.  The best thing we can do as parents is support one another.  Sure we will all screw up.  But we need to learn things on our own and be respected for doing so. 

Parenting is hard for anyone.  Parenting a child with special needs is even harder.  There are fewer opportunities to get away from the job of being a parent, and sometimes I feel like a manager - managing all of her appointments, specialists, therapies, homework, medicines, etc.  The need for personal space/time is even more important to balance the chaos.

I am not quite finished reading the book, but if I have taken one lesson from it, it is that we need to let go of the guilt that so often accompanies our taking time for ourselves.  So I am going to make it a priority to actively let go of that guilt.  Every time I take time away from Luca to regroup, I am going to remind myself that I am my own individual and that I not only need this break, I deserve it.

How do you manage your feelings of guilt as a parent?

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