How do you deal with guilt?

Welcome to Group Therapy where you get to exchange wisdom with others in the Mamamia community.

Today’s question is about guilt which is something I know NOTHING ABOUT. Oh wait…..

Sue* writes….

I am home today with my 6 year old daughter who is sick with an ear infection. I’m a single Mum and I work full time. I’m also studying (doing a Bachelor of Communications). Life is very busy as you can imagine.

I have had to call my boss today to say that I won’t be in today because my child is sick. We are in the midst of a very busy time at work and I am guiding my 20 year old assistant through all the work via phone and email from home. I feel hopeless and nervous about my job. I have no choice but to be home caring for my child and I absolutely WANT to be home with her. To make matters worse, last week I had to take 2 days off to take my elderly Mum to hospital after a fall. Again, I wouldn’t have been anywhere else but with my Mum when she needed me but I still struggle with the fact that I am no longer the reliable, on time, hard working employee I used to be.

I’m fortunate to have an understanding boss but still, I feel terrible. Prior to having my child I was very reliable, worked long hours and rarely took time off. Now I just feel torn. I can barely put it into words how awful I feel. I wish I didn’t have to work but unfortunately, I do. I just wonder in winter, with all the colds and sickness going around there must be lots of working Mums around feeling the same.

I thought it would be interesting to hear people’s views about this situation. I wonder how many other Mums are home today feeling guilty and worried about the same thing.

*name changed

Oh this is a doozy. Yesterday I had one of those absurd days when I dashed around giving myself emotional whiplash as I tried to juggle the very different and urgent demands of my kids and my job. One of the children really needed time with me and I totally forgot about a radio interview I was meant to be doing and when I picked up my phone, discovered 11 missed calls and irate messages.

Pretty standard stuff and I guess it gets a little bit easier when you make a certain peace with your inadequacy and inability to be superwoman. But yeah, you still feel like crap sometimes, don’t you?

I often envy men’s ability to just get on with it and not waste all that emotional energy beating themselves up. WHY DO WE DO IT? What purpose does guilt actually serve?

You don’t have to be a working mother to have a masters degree in beating-yourself-up-with-guilt but it sure helps. I’m guilty of being paralysed by guilt myself so I am all ears for advice on this one…..over to you….


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