Some days I want to put myself in the corner in time out. Mom guilt, wife guilt, career guilt. It can be all-consuming. This age of social media makes it even worse. We often compare ourselves to our peers and feel like everyone else's life looks perfect, so why isn't mine?
The reality is that everyone else's life isn't perfect. And, we need to stop beating ourselves up with so much guilt. We need to give into grace.
I met an amazing individual this year - a mother, wife, entrepreneur, artist and writer. My husband introduced us after meeting her at a work function. We had lunch just once, but it was a conversation that gave me perspective for which I will forever be grateful. She is the source of inspiration and experience of lesson three in the 2016 Trilogy of Change.
We were sitting down for lunch and I was discussing my shifts from a full-time career to being a stay-at-home mom and moving back into the work world. I told her of the state of flux I found myself in, bouncing back and forth between guilt and frustration. I felt guilty about returning to work, but at the same time I was so frustrated as a full time-stay at home parent. I felt guilty about time spent taking care of myself and not them.
I even felt guilty about being frustrated.
She said something simple that no one had ever said to me before. It went like this:
“You need to give into the grace.”
"What do you mean?," I said.
She said “Allow yourself to take in the grace.”
(At this point I'm making a weird expression with my eyebrow and questioning whether I fully understand the definition of grace.)
She explained that she meant I needed to let go of the guilt. I needed to recognize the good things and stop focusing on the negative. You can never truly enjoy and appreciate what you have been given if you can’t let go of the guilt. She told me her story of how she used to struggle with the same guilt, and how she overcame its burden. She told me to accept that I need time for myself, accept that I am doing a good job as a parent and that to my kids, I am their world.
Many of us fall into the guilt trap, and I believe part of our problem is that we don't talk about it. Because we are comparing ourselves to our peers, against a false perception of reality we gain from social media and society, we instead hold in the guilt and the frustration boils up until we eventually explode.
If you’re like me and you struggle with guilt or pressure to perform whether as a parent or a spouse, just take a deep breath.
Hold your wee ones, give them a hug, and give into the grace of their sweet little cheeks and admiration for you.
If you missed lesson one or lesson two of my 2016 Trilogy of Change, I invite you to catch up. As trilogies go, this is the last of the three lessons. However, 2016 was a year of great awakening and I will continue to share experiences and lessons learned in hopes of helping others. I welcome any comments, thoughts and shared stories. Thank you for reading!