Motherhood involves a lot of guilt. Apparently, it’s a part of being a mom (although some would argue that there are societal and institutional factors at play). I know dads who experience guilt as well, so it’s not just a woman thing, but it seems to be more prevalent in moms. Our feelings of guilt typically emerge when we feel we could have done something better, that we are not doing our best. With today’s overload of information about motherhood, the conscientious mom can pretty much always find someone who would tell her she could do better.
When I feel guilt about not doing well enough for my human kids, I typically take action right away. I make a plan for a week of healthy meals and make time to cook more; I make an effort to spend more quality time with my kids; I enrol them into random classes (we are starting music classes next week!). However, when I feel guilt about not doing well for other “kids” – including my dog, my blog, my volunteer time, or other random little projects – I tell myself that it’s ok, because I have so many other things to do. It’s not that bad if my dog only gets two walks now instead of three. It’s ok if I don’t volunteer this year. It’s ok if I don’t update my blog every single week. And the truth is that, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a big deal.
But in the case of my blog, it’s a bit of a snowball. I haven’t had time to write a post last week, so I better make this week’s count. Oh, I didn’t write a post three weeks in a row, this week’s post has to be a big one. And now, all of a sudden, I have to write this fantastic post that would knock all of my (four) readers off their chair and make them feel like it was worth the wait. I know that no one actually sits on their computer obsessively checking their inbox for my new post, but still. I feel that I have to do better.
But, as you can already tell, that big awesome post? It ain’t coming. My next one will (probably) have actual content to it, but I write about little things; daily things; mundane things. So I’d like to take this opportunity and let you know what I have planned for me this fall.
This fall my main task will be to finish my data collection. Since I’m sitting with every child for an hour (in two sessions) and I still need about 60 kids, this would take a fair bit of time. My other task would be to work on my course – I’m teaching an introduction to developmental psychology course in the winter – so that I don’t get too flustered come January. I’m working on two journal papers right now and trying to get a good dent in my PhD document so that I can, you know, finish my PhD at some point. I’m also a student member of the ethics committee in my department, which means I will be reviewing research projects and looking for ethical issues (I’m really looking forward for this one). We also have music classes for my son starting next week, not to mention his birthday is coming up in October (REALLY excited about that one), and I’ve signed myself up for a Pilates class (finally!). And I would really love to write a blog post every week. But I’m being realistic here and saying that that might not happen. In the same way that we might miss some of the music classes throughout the fall; in the same way that I’m likely to miss some of my Pilates classes; and in the same way that I might show up to class unprepared and flustered (that one is actually fairly likely – I get flustered with more than 10 people in the room and my class enrolment is currently at 114).
Your turn: what will your fall bring? And – dare to share – what do you feel guilty about?