When I imagined being a mom, I knew there would be worry, and I expected hardships. What I never imagined is that it would be accompanied by the constant, burdensome, and nagging nuisance named guilt. I often wonder if I'm the only mom that receives frequent visits from this "nagging nuisance," which seems determined to make me feel like a failure and crush my dreams of becoming mother of the year, every year for the rest of my life.
Most of the things I feel guilty about aren't life-altering or character-changing. After all, my little E has only spent 9 baby months in my care. Even so, I still feel the guilt. The first time he fell and hit his head, it was obviously my careless fault. Undoubtedly, I had caused permanent damage. The first time I raised my voice in front of him, I had surely caused him to forge an everlasting opinion of me as his angry and uncompassionate mother. Due to our current financial circumstances, I'm working part-time. This has to mean that I'm spending too much time away from him, which will cause him to feel severe neglect and will most definitely result in lifelong feelings of deprivation. I once became busy and realized that it was 30 minutes past the time I was supposed to feed him. I was sure he would soon become lethargic and the authorities would be on their way to pick me up on account of alleged malnutrition.
Mistake after mistake, I have found myself feeling like quite a screw-up in the department of motherhood. After much self reflection, however, I realized something. Maybe the fact that I feel so badly about even the smallest things makes me a good mom, not a bad one. After all, if I didn't care so darn much about being the best mom I can be, none of it would matter.
Here's what I've learned: I've learned to forgive myself. How will my son ever grow up to learn about the importance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the importance of forgiveness if I'm so busy beating myself up over every tiny mistake I make with him?
I truly believe that children can sense negativity. I want my son to recognize that it's ok to make mistakes and it's important to not only forgive others but also to forgive ourselves. Who better for him to learn this concept from than his mom? So the next time I forget his diaper bag on a day trip to Grandma's (yes, I've done this) or forget to clean behind his ears, I can say, "It's ok, Sarah. I forgive you." And so will little E.