I have been at my counseling agency site a few weeks now. Today I was able to sit in with another therapist on a session. It just so happened this this particular client was dealing with some issues around parenting guilt. My head wheels started turning.
You see the last few weeks I have been struggling with the mommy guilt that goes along with starting to work long hours a few days per week. My sister in law and at times my sister is picking up my son from school 2 days per week lately and like this evening I didn't get him till 6:15pm. G goes to bed at 7:30 but we start the process at 7pm. So I had a whole 1 hour and 15 minutes with my son before he went to bed and I feel horrible for this. To hear this little guy say I missed you today mommy all because he got a few hours less with me today than normal breaks my heart.
As I sat in on the session today I heard similar thoughts coming from this client that I have had myself. As a therapist in training as this client was talking I jotted down some notes (I wasn't the therapist in this session) notes such as:
Perception of failure as a parent
Deal with own expectations
Parental influence on current relationship with children
Self preservation mode
As I sat listening it made me realize that I to have these issues. I to need to deal with my own expectations of what I consider a "good" mother is. I need to deal with my own perception of being a failure as a parent because I need help with my son. It made me realize that I can truly relate on a deep personal level with some clients. I also had a light bulb moment when I thought about how the majority of parents have some level of this guilt. Don't you? We all as parents feel guilty for some form of something that we have ever done/said/or will do as parents. So how do we deal with this guilt?
I believe it starts with understanding where the guilt comes from. I mean at the very core of your being where does it come from? There is something ingrained in you (and me!) that says that needing help with parenting for example some equates to being a less than perfect mother. Or that needing a break from our children means the same. So start there. Stop and ask yourself why you feel guilty and where that thought comes from. I know this is where I am starting. I will update once I begin to process.