Wednesday, March 31, 2010

There's No Guilt Like Mother's Guilt

Guilt, it is a funny word isn’t it? Guilt, it is a motivator to do the right thing. Guilt, it is something most mothers live with constantly. Am I doing the right thing by fill in the blank. It could be working or not working. It could be saying no or saying yes. It seems motherhood and guilt go hand in hand.

I didn’t really understand the depth of guilt until I became a mother. It started right off at the baby shower when I was given a gift wrapped guilt-in-a-box, others call a baby book. The basic premise of a baby book is for the new mother to write down all the important dates and memories of their precious newborn. What no one tells you is that you will be so dog-tired and frazzled to get it all down! Yeah, I filled out how much my son weighed, how long and the exact time he was born. I even attached a lock of his first haircut and approximately when he got his first couple of teeth. His book does have quite a few pages filled out.

Then, my daughter was born. To be quite honest, all hell broke loose! He was twenty months old when she was born. He wasn’t sleeping through the night and she had her days and nights mixed up. He cried when she cried, which was pretty much all the time. I was surviving on two or three hours of sleep a night. Did I already say he gave up napping at eighteen months?

After about three months, it finally calmed down a little around the house. A wonderful neighbor came every morning and took my son for a few hours so I could have some time with just my daughter. He finally began to sleep for six hours and my daughter began to realize that when it got dark, it was time to sleep, not party! I looked at her baby book, aka guilt-in-a-box, and realized I hadn’t filled out one single thing! I did manage to fill out most of it from memory but it was just my first brush with the old guilt-o-meter.

Every so often, when I’m bee-bopping along thinking I’m doing pretty good if I do say so myself, the old guilt-o-meter will peg off the charts. Like the time I sent my daughter to school even though she said she didn’t feel good. She wasn’t running a fever, she hadn’t thrown up. Little did I know she had ear infections in both ears! I felt like mom of the year that day!

I’m sure all you moms out there understand the word guilt as well as I do. My question is, why don’t dads feel guilt the way we do? Dads, you know the ones who eat the last piece of pie and don’t even feel one tiny prick of guilt? It is in the Y chromosome not to feel guilty? I can already see the difference in my daughter and my son. She has the guilt gene, he definitely does not. When old women used to talk about the women’s curse, I always thought it was our monthly time. Now, I’m thinking it may be GUILT!

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