On a normal day, with every ordinary mommy out there, a certain amount of guilt is always hovering in the back recesses of their mind.
Should I have sent that coat along to school for Jim?
Did I go overboard with Lori's birthday party?
Am I being too protective? Or not protective enough?
The "mommy guilt" can be overwhelming if you let it get too big. That doesn't even take into consideration all the outside influences constantly being thrown our way. A consistant barrage of social headlines and tweets from all our mommy friends and family, the countless blogs, vlogs, and articles floating around the internet on a daily basis. It's just a veritable smorgasbord for self doubt, mommy guilt central.
I don't have "normal days" every day and I am not an "ordinary mommy". No matter how I fight against it, that's just not the case. This post isn't designed to make it appear as if my mommy guilt is worse than everyone else's. I don't want people to think I am just sitting around saying, "Oh poor me, I have things much worse because I am chronically ill.", because I'm not. I have no interest in a one-up competition over who has more mommy guilt than someone else. Things are just what they are. Which means, like it or not, that added to my normal mommy guilt is also my Sjogren's mommy guilt.
Usually I can just shove that extra guilt into a cob-webby corner of my brain and get on with life without giving it another thought. Lately, though, I have had it popping up without invitation, mostly due to our experiences with our daughter. I have not written about this previously because I wasn't ready to. But I feel like I can admit that my daughter has generalized anxiety. Yes, she has a doctor, we have game plans, and things are mostly under control with it. (I say mostly because I feel like working through anxiety issues is a constantly evolving thing that can bring up new anxieties as other ones are resolved.) Quite a lot of L's anxiety revolves around doctors. Medical procedures, ER visits, mentioning that she looks paler than normal, simple strep swabs, and run-of-the-mill ear checks during yearly physicals are some of the things that have caused the anxiety to come on. The point of sharing this is to further explain my "extra mommy guilt" that I have thanks to Sjogren's.
Lately, I have been wondering if my girly's anxiety would actually be what it is had my husband and I decided to not clue our daughter in to my illness. Did I cause my daughter to have this anxiety? Honestly, I know that it wouldn't have worked to keep her in the dark because she is so so so intuitive that she would have picked up on the fact that I can't do things that other mommies can do. (Like splash in the water and sun all day, sled in the snow for hours, or sit on a floor and play for long periods of time.) But that doesn't stop me from feeling guilty just the same. My brain gets stuck in a hamster wheel of thoughts and they go tumbling over and over each other. Does it help to wonder these things? Probably not since the choice to share or not share has come and gone long ago, but that seems to be a small comfort to me right now.
As I am writing this I am feeling completely vulnerable about this issue. I feel as if one word of validity to my feelings would see me crushed and second guessing every instinct as a mom. Which sounds terribly dramatic to me after just having read that. Ha! Truthfully, I don't know if I'll ever have the bravery to actually post this or not, but it helps me immensely to get my thoughts out.
Perhaps, in my thinking I need to keep in mind that God gave my daughter to me as a gift. He alone chose me to be her mom. Me. (That causes little tiny shivers to dance down my back when I think about it long enough.) So God knew what he was doing in blessing us with her. And blessing her with us. A that thought that is a huge comfort to me. And that... has the power to kick my mommy guilt in the butt!