We talk a lot about mother guilt. We talk about screen time and homemade food, about putting down our phones and picking up a story book.
And most of the time that's all we talk about.
Mother guilt. It's so cute, the way we hover and worry about breast milk vs formula and tummy time and bouncy seats. Should our kids have fancy birthday parties and cell phones and lives that look like Pinterest? Should we be embarrassed? Should we compete for who had the craziest morning and who is drinking the most wine at bedtime?
Can we talk about the darkness.
Can we talk about looking at the life you have created, that generations have created, and the deep, insidious pain that comes with knowing you have perpetuated a cycle of dysfunction?
When you look at your life of chaos and realize it's always been one step forward, two steps back, to infinity, and you started off SO FAR BEHIND.
When you can't even whisper your shame.
Mom guilt isn't just a cutesy affliction, wrapped in a tablecloth from Target stained with apple juice. It is a place of pain, of sorrow, of deeply ruminating anger. It can drown you in a sea of unforgiving harshness.
Invariably the cheerleaders will come and tell you it's not so bad, you have no reason to feel the way you do. People who weren't there.
Or the people who, once upon a time, were just like you. And learned to dull that pain.
I'm not looking for sympathy, or pep talks, or it-gets-betters.
I'm just trying to sit with my pain.
I'm trying to look around me, wonder why I got here, how I got here.
I'm trying to figure out how to make it better.
Tomorrow, I am going to get up again.
Focus on making things right. Try not to make the same mistake twice (or a hundred times)
But for now, I'm going to look my guilt in the face and say "I hear you. You have a right to be here. You were well-earned. And you are going to help me put it right. That's why you are here."
Guilt. It's part of my truth. It's a vital component to my story. And it, ultimately, is what will set me free. I am thankful for it.
It is only in my sorrow that I can see the way to repair.
It is only in regret that I can push for a future free from it.
It is only by touching my guilt, that I can forgive myself, and seek forgiveness. It is only by pushing through the darkness that I can see the light.
It's only by touching the cage that I can open the door.