If you are a parent or about to become a parent then guilt is something that you will become very familiar with from now until your kids leave home. I think that hoping that the feeling of guilt will depart your life with your offspring leaving home is probably being a tad optimistic. Just face it if you have chosen to procreate then for the rest of your existence you will more than likely be riddled with this feeling.
As a man you may be lucky enough to avoid that guilty feeling a bit longer than your suffering spouse. I would say that you should not expect more than nine months grace or so before that guilty feeling kicks in. For the females in our lives that guilty feeling will be a permanent fixture from the moment they conceive.
At first the guilty feeling will be whether or not they are taking care of their bodies and the growing foetus enough. Are they eating the right things; how many GMO’s are they unknowingly consuming, is a little addict growing inside them because they ate something laced with MSG and a host of other irrational thoughts designed to make them feel bad. They will even feel guilty about the fact that they may not be getting enough sleep. As anyone who has shared living space with a pregnant female can attest to; this is not a problem!
The pregnant female’s guilt in the beginning stages of pregnancy will also extend to her partner. Is she paying enough attention to the father, is she being too mean to him due to her mood swings and is he missing sex since she started denying him that privilege for the irrational fear of damaging the unborn child! But do not worry the guilt that is felt towards us men does soon dissipate as soon as the mood pendulum swings back to the Satan setting.
Once the child is born then the real guilt starts. As a small baby the most things that you will feel guilty about are generally out of your control but this does not mean that you will not feel this emotion. Mostly it is minor things such as waking the little one up when they were so contentedly sleeping; even though the little monster feels nothing to wake you up. You will feel guilty that you left the little one to cry as you had no idea what else to do and you were at your wits end and just needed your own timeout. You will feel guilty due to making them do things that clearly makes them upset but have to be done. There are times when the baby requires medicine or those nasal sprays and even though you can see the distress they are going through you just have to administer the required treatment.
Then about six months pass and your guilt will kick in proper. As a man you would have been dealing with this for a while. Due to the fact that paternity leave is not a common thing you would more than likely have been at work from very soon after the birth. As a woman you may have been lucky enough to have a number of months of maternity leave to spend with your baby. In our case Julia had six months with both our girls. After those six months you have to take this precious little child and leave them at a stranger with a group of similarly aged children for about ten hours a day. This is heart breaking and leaves you wracked with guilt for most of those ten hours.
When you start disciplining your child you will feel that maybe you were too hard and maybe you shouldn’t shout so much. Then you remember that often it feels that your little mini-me can really push your buttons and just be a little sod when they want to be. Just when you think of this and start to feel better, then your mind will remind you that maybe they are only playing up to get your attention. This once again sends you into a guilt spiral as you feel that you do not pay enough attention to them.
As your children get older they will learn about this wonderful tool at their disposals called guilt. They will use this weakness of yours to their utmost advantage and get you to do spirals around their little fingers as you circum to their demands. You will buy them toys and sweets and silly little trinkets as you try to justify it as rewarding good behaviour where we all know that it is just to pacify our guilt.
What we as parents need to realise is that we are the ones that are too critical of ourselves. Our children do not expect us to feel guilty with regards to our short comings as parents. They do not hold it against us when we have to go off to work. They may tell us they do but that is just their coping mechanism. What they do want from us is our attention and Love when we do get to spend time with them. They Love us unconditionally and this is all they want from us in return. Our attention is far more important to them than any material things.
So when that guilty feeling comes knocking on your mind’s eye then send it on its way as you have nothing to feel guilty about; you are trying your best and that is all that life can ask of us. On the other hand make sure to try and make junior feel that guilt as I am pretty sure that all children are trying to kill their parents very slowly and painfully. It is about time they felt a little bit of guilt towards their evil intentions!