A Different Kind of Mommy Guilt

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It wasn't technically “yelling” and probably does not seem like a big deal to most of you, but I felt horrible afterwards, especially after seeing how defeated she looked. She doesn't have to say, “You'll be sorry when I'm gone…” anymore because those words are now engrained in me and the thought almost automatic. As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted it and was consumed by guilt for a long time afterwards. For the rest of the evening, I kept thinking about it and talking about it to my husband. He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just apologize and let it go.

After replaying the incident in my head, I realize that I snapped at her because I felt her gasp was a criticism of what I had done and I knew she was right. I used poor judgment trying to multitask while holding the baby. I was annoyed with myself for creating the potentially dangerous situation. In my harried, sleep-deprived state, I took it out on my mother who was only expressing concern.

Of course, I called her twice afterwards to say that I was sorry. And of course, she told me it was okay, that she used to snap at her mom, too, but that her mom always knew she loved her. This anecdote just made me feel ten times more guilty. Her mom is no longer around and my mom can’t tell her she’s sorry anymore.

After some introspection, I’ve realized that my guilt over this interaction stems my underlying anxieties about the future. As we get older and our parents age, we begin to realize that our parents will not be around forever. When I was younger, I used to wish in some ways that I would die before my parents so that I wouldn’t have to live without them. But being sandwiched between my role as a daughter and a mother now certainly changes how I think about that. Nonetheless, I am nearly paralyzed with fear when I think about the inevitable truth that someday my parents will be gone. I sit here with glassy eyes, a sunken heart, and a knot in my stomach from just typing out those words.

 

 

Photo Credit: mi55er.

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