Friday, March 11, 2011

The Red Dress Club: A Mama's Journey Through The Guilt


It comes in every size and in every color. It beckons to the imperfect and holds them captive. It knows no race or sex.....but loves to dwell in the stillness of a mother.

It weighs heavy on her heart. Brings her to tears. Shames her in the mirror. Every snarl, every short response, every grab that was harder than it should have been looks back at her...mocking her. Doubts echo in her her heart....when she sits quietly in the dark. Every time her baby cried longer than he should have, every nighttime feeding that was met with a growl, every selfish moment stolen in the bathroom, every "just a second" as she put the child off to finish some other task.

At night, before going out with friends it laughs at her while putting on her "fancy" clothes and "good" makeup. And hangs on her as she tries to gracefully walk out the door...cries still ringing in her ear. During stolen secret moments it beckons her back as she checks her phone knowing that the child must need her.

It keeps her rushing home and through the door only to discover that the world didn't fall apart...not tonight anyway. It's what makes her tiptoe into the darkness of a quiet, sleep filled room to gaze at her sleeping angel. Her heart aches to read just one more bedtime story, to give one more rock-a-bye, to get one more kiss. The giggles of her young hold her heart captive. Their aches she feels, their joys she shares, their tears she holds. Every moment seared onto her heart. Even the anger of the child can't stop her from holding and loving.

But in the quiet, in the stillness of night, in the solitude that comes with motherhood...guilt rears it's ugly head. Will it cause you to do greater and better and more or will it hold you captive while choking your joy? Will it live and thrive and taunt you of your failures? Or will you admonish it's hold, standing up to its struggle and rise to call of mom?

This post is written in response to a prompt from "the red dress club". Our prompt was to write about something ugly and find the beauty in it.


Andrea (ace1028) said...

This was beautiful. I really enjoyed reading it and it hit so many true points for me. Especially as I went out to dinner w/ friends last night! My daughter is four now, and I still feel the guilt when I walk out the door. She seems to care less than I do. And I SO remember the days when she was younger. Oh, and I totally went into the bathroom and shut the door yesterday, too. :) So, yeah, thanks for the validation!

Pamela Gold said...

I long to be a SAHM. When my son was sick two weeks ago and I had to go to work while he was home with Dad, it guilted me to the core.

I agree...Moms of boys do need to stick together!! I'm off to "follow" you now.

Johi said...

Oh how you nailed this! Brilliant post.

amygrew said...

This is my life too. Good job!

Lizz said...

As a mom who has to, against my choice, work outside of the home, I know this guilt all too well. Every morning when I drop Max at day care, for some other lady to raise.
Thank you for acknowledging it and sharing it with everyone; it's nice to know we aren't alone.

HonestConvoGal said...

I'm with you--a working mom of two boys 19 months a part--a part of me is always with them or feeling guilty for not being with them. You described that internal conflict very well. I hope that you don't feel too tied down by guilt. Too much guilt can cause a type of sadness from which no good comes.

Sluiter Nation said...

oh the guilt. I am so there with you. It finds it's way into every. single. aspect of our lives. And I wasn't prepared for how hefty a dose we get as mothers. Great topic!

Boobies said...

Beautiful!! And a topic all of us can relate to!

Shell said...

I have reverse mom-guilt. I am okay with leaving my kids for a little bit to go something for me...and then I feel guilty that I don't feel guilty. Like that makes me a bad mom.

Tisha said...

Oh, yes...the mom guilt; there's certainly plenty of that going around! I've been trying my best lately to put it to rest, because, really, who does it serve?
I think our kids can sense the love and devotion, even when we must (and yes, we must!) take some moments away for a little "me" time.
Beautifully written post!

Mandyland said...

There's nothing worse than mom guilt. Probably because we're harder on ourselves than we'd ever dream of being on others.

Great post.

Visiting from TRDC.

Slidecutter said...

I went through that guilt when mine were younger. Our oldest graduated from high school and my mother-in-law took her to Italy for the summer; we sent our middle daughter who was 11 and son, then 8, to summer camp. First time in years that the hubs and I had some real alone time and we were lost. It got worse..

The director of our son's camp requested that parents not call or send letters for the first two weeks and we were horrified. When we finally got a call from our son it was awful; tears on the other end of the call and.. "why haven't you written to me?, I miss you" this day, many years later, he still makes us feel guilty and it wasn't our doing!

In the end, all three kids had a fabulous summer that year; us? We wrote letters, sat by the phone and felt miserable.

Excellent post!

Sherri said...

Oh, that darn ugly, but seems to be such an important part of being a mom, doesn't it?!

You captured it perfectly, and I can certainly related.