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A Mother’s Guilt

Can you guess which is the most common feeling found in all mothers across the world, which tugs at their heart often? Especially working mothers? Did you say ‘Guilt’? If yes, then you are absolutely right. Every mother goes through this emotion at least once a day, and if you are a mother who zooms out of the house in the morning only to return in the evening or some ungodly hour, then it’s bound to hound you umpteen times during the day.

The day you become a mother, your life takes a 180 degree turn, you cease to be the person you were. You are ready to sacrifice your sleep, your hobbies, your passion and even your job for the bundle of joy you had been blessed with. As a working mother I have experienced it all as after the birth of my elder daughter I was on maternity leave for around 6 months. I was a happy and contented mother when I resumed work as I had got good enough time with my child when she needed me the most.

When I started working again, she was secure with her grandmother who used to take care of her more than I could have done. Even then, in the middle of a grueling meeting or work pressure at office all I had at the back of my mind was ‘It is my baby’s nap time’, ‘It is time for breast feeding her’, ‘It is time for her bath’ etc. and I could not wait till I reached home in the evening, hugged her and pampered her to my heart’s content.

I was not so lucky at the time of my younger daughter because I had to resume work a few days before she turned 3 months old. It was a harrowing time for me. I was always a mess, longing for my child, always feeling guilty to have left an infant at home, though she was left with her grandmother and was safe, secure and loved. As a result, when I returned home I was completely drained of energy and on the brink of tears. This lead to the little one’s loss of interest in being breastfed. She was content with the milk bottle and I was always dissatisfied with myself for having never given enough time to her.

Most of you who are mothers must have gone through a phase like this in your life and what is the most common emotion that we all go through during such a phase of life? Again the answer is ‘Guilt’. Now comes the question that what do you do to overcome this? It is easier said than done, there is no magic formula, no self-help strategy which will pull us out of this. Only a lot of willpower to do the balancing act and a lot of time to be spent with the children will ease out things a bit.

I have noticed many times how my mere presence has a calming effect on my children, all they want is you to be around when they are doing their homework or even when they are engrossed in their favorite cartoon show. Just the knowledge that you are at home with them means the world to them and vice versa. Why I say that ‘it will ease out things a bit’ is because no Mother can be hundred percent free from the ‘guilt factor’ because the essence of our very being is being parents, being a mother to our children and to provide the best for them , to be with them in thick and thin and to take away their problems and only let good things happen to them. This is why ‘guilt’ will haunt us till we ourselves are convinced that we are doing full justice to being the best mother we want to be to our children.

Being a blogger since long has given me a glimpse of this guilt in various mommy bloggers too. Not all of them are working, most of them are stay at home moms and in spite of that they are also ‘guilt’ ridden, they also feel incomplete. So it is not entirely about being a working mother or SAHM it is about being a mother and our inherent thirst to be the best and perfect one. We all have our own ways of dealing with ‘guilt’, only difference is that the working Mothers get a bit more bogged down by ‘guilt’ due to the lack of time in their life.

Let all of us mothers try and put ‘guilt’ on the back burner and squeeze in dollops of good memories and love into our children’s life as much life and times allow us to do. On that note here’s wishing a ‘guilt free’ Happy New Year to all of you.

I am Rekha Nair, a Senior HR Professional, with around 18 years of experience, I am a mother and an avid reader and a blogger as well. I have been blogging since 2008 and you can find glimpses of my thoughts at The Balancing Act. I am blessed with two daughters aged 13 and 8 and it’s being mother to them and all the perks and pains along with it which keeps me going in life. I stay in Delhi along with my husband and daughters. I love writing and reading and has contributed to Professional HR blogs as well.