Do you feel guilty about letting your children watch TV? Letting them eat sugar? Having them in daycare? Yelling at them? Being on the phone in the car when they are in the backseat? Do you feel guilty when you leave them at home for a night out? Guilt…guilt…and more guilt. This is getting ridiculous… and quite constrictive! So, what is the answer? …never leave your kids’ sides? Take the TVs out of your house? …Never let them eat a morsel of sugar? Never talk on your cell phone in their presence? Will we stop feeling guilty then? I doubt it, we’d just find something else to feel guilty about.
Speaking to a friend this morning in the preschool parking lot, we discussed the guilt that comes with Motherhood and how we experience this in our daily lives. My friend talked about feeling guilty about putting the TV on to clean the house. And since our conversation I thought, “Is there a difference between feeling guilty about letting our kids watch 30 min. of TV a day versus letting them watch 4 hours of TV a day? “ (And believe me, I am well versed in what the experts say on media’s negative effects on children. )
Instead of feeling guilty every time one of those things happen (or something else that has you feeling guilty), look closer at the guilt induced activity and check out its layers. Ask yourself if you could be ‘okay’ with just 1 or 2 TV shows that day without feeling guilty? Maybe your guilt threshold boundary would be to go out once a month with your friends instead of 2 times a month while leaving your kids at home. (Wouldn’t it be worth going out once a month without any guilt?) Allow yourself 5 minutes of guilt free cell phone conversation in the car instead of the usual 20 minutes.
The key is to proactively identify what your guilt threshold boundary is, that will help shed a layer or two of guilt. We won’t be able to completely eliminate all of our guilty feelings this way, BUT, we can certainly learn a way to take some guilty weight off of our shoulders. Think of it as allowing yourself to set a boundary (See Peaceful Boundaries, Tip #21) guilt free!
Identify what triggers your guilt, then create your guilt threshold boundary.