Every week, Preen tackles motherhood sans the rose-tinted glasses. Our columnists L. Juliano, Marla Darwin, Monica Eleazar-Manzano, Rossana Unson, Ronna Capili-Bonifacio, and Chrina Cuna-Henson tell their personal experiences like it is—at times frustrating, oftentimes confusing, but always enlightening.
I recently had to leave my baby for a three-day work trip to Singapore. It was going to be the first time I would be apart from my daughter for longer than a few hours.
Days leading up to the trip, I was a mixture of anxious nerves and guilty excitement. I worried about whether or not my little one would miss me and I couldn’t decide which I preferred. I was also looking forward to the trip—I would be back in my typical work environment, doing something I’m good at, and even getting a little bit of me-time in the evenings. I found myself facing such tension—the kind that seems to leave no one a winner. I dreaded having to be apart from my daughter, but was also excited about the opportunity. The truth was, I was feeling guilty about going on this trip and even guiltier about wanting to go.
I soon realized that what I was feeling was commonly called “mom-guilt.” I never liked that sound of that term—but somehow it made sense in that moment. I realized that I was more worried about how I was being perceived as a mother than I was about the actual well being of my daughter. Eventually, I was able to navigate through these emotions and be at peace with my decision.
Here are some tips to help you bid farewell to “mom-guilt” and to help you figure out what’s really best for your family:
Resist the urge to shield your child from difficult things
We must avoid feeling the need to spare our children from all things challenging. In order to raise emotionally secure and resilient children, we need to be brave enough to watch them face difficulty. The last thing we want is to have a child that does not know how to face disappointment, inconvenience, or change. Just because they will have a hard time does not always mean that we should spare them from it. These defining moments will mold and prepare them for the real world. Sometimes, mama coming to rescue or bailing them out does more harm than good.
Choose what’s good for your child, not just what’s good for yourself
Overcoming mom-guilt is easy when you know that you have chosen something good for your family. It should not be a win-lose situation. In some cases, it may be good for you but neutral for your child and, that’s okay. It’s not wrong to choose something that is more beneficial to you every once in a while. Families should not live child-centered lives. In fact, it’s good for everyone to learn how to make sacrifices for each other. However, keep in mind that your gain should never ever be your child’s loss.
Don’t focus on other’s opinions but be in agreement with your spouse
Everyone has an opinion about what is best for your children, but remember that you are the one God put in charge of raising them. While it’s good to be open to feedback and advice, don’t be afraid to choose what you believe is best for your child. It’s also become so easy to look around and to grade yourself on your motherhood report card. We unknowingly compare and keep tabs on who is doing a good job at mothering based on what we see from a distance. All of this adds clutter and anxiety. Chat with your spouse and try to filter through which concerns are relevant, and which ones aren’t. If you and your husband are in agreement, you can go forth guilt-free!
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Marian Hukom
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