Mother's Guilt - who, what, when, how why?
by Tina M. Games
Thanks for the opportunity to join you on your blog today, Cheryl! And thank you for your interest in my book, Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother's Path to Self-Discovery and its accompanying deck of 54 journaling prompt cards.
I believe that mothers are a significant part of the "ripple effect" - that will transform the world into a more loving, more nurturing place. Imagine for a moment a "pebble thrown into a pond." It creates a ripple that goes on and on and on.
When a mother is living life with complete authenticity, she's subconsciously giving permission for her kids to do the same. She's truly at her best - creating powerful change for her family, her community, and for the world at large. It's all part of "the ripple."
It's my belief that "a happy mother makes the best mother" - and our kids really do want to see their moms happy!
But what if something goes awry - and "the ripple" stems from a place of frustration, confusion, disconnect or unhappiness?
My work with the moon phases came out of my own experience of connecting with the moon during a really dark period in my life. Shortly after the birth of my first child, and after making some fairly significant life changes at the same time, I fell into depression - a place that felt so foreign to me, a place where I felt like I had fallen into a black hole with no way out. It was during this time, a period that spanned over two years, that I had disconnected from everything that made me happy. Because my son suffered from chronic illnesses related to serious colds and severe ear infections, I made a very difficult choice to give up a successful career in order to care for my son full-time. I hadn't realized until this experience how much of my identity was tied into my career. Without it, I felt very lost and very unhappy.
It was during this time that I fell back on a great passion of mine - journal writing. And as a mom of a baby who did not have a normal sleep schedule, I found myself exhausted and emotional much of the time. So night after night, after I'd get my son settled and after my husband went to bed, I'd grab my journal and retreat to my favorite chair - beside a big bay window where I caught a glimpse of the moon. It was the moon that taught me the meaning of transition. I'd watch this beautiful lunar goddess, night after night, move in and out of her various phases. And before long, I began to connect her phases with my own emotional tides.
I noticed that the moon always began in darkness and gradually, she'd move into full light - and cycle back around again. And I noticed the contrast between dark and light - the darkness of the night sky against the beautiful full moon light. I started connecting to this - as if I was being divinely guided through my own transitions of dark and light. I began to notice the ebbs and flows of my emotions. There were good days and bad days.
So when I came to the point of writing my book, I wanted mothers to realize that every human transition begins in darkness and gradually moves into light, where we get a glimpse of what is possible. And then we retreat, to ponder the many ways we can manifest these possibilities into reality. This requires deep work, where we step into our own truth and into our own power - and where we can emerge in the most authentic way possible. This is what I call the Blue Moon phase - when we finally realize that we are here on this Earth to be WHO we are, to put our personal thumbprint on the world in the most truthful, most authentic, most unique way possible. Each one of us are individuals being divinely guided on our own purposeful path.
I'm a big believer that each and every one of us are living OUR life story - in whatever way that story needs to play out. And for many of us, this story involves lessons.
In order to learn OUR lessons, we must journey through the challenges. This is where we grow - emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And for mothers, these challenges often include guilt.
Guilt is a normal emotion for every mother. We're always feeling guilty about something we've done - or not done - for our children. As mothers, it's very natural to put our kids above ourselves. And while this may be necessary some of the time, it's not necessary all the time. As the airlines so smartly proclaim, "Always put the air mask on yourself before assisting a child or another adult passenger." In other words, "Take care of yourself, so that you can assist in the caretaking of someone else."
I often ask moms to describe what the guilt is about - and we work from there, trying to unravel its deeper meaning. What is the guilt trying to teach us about ourselves? What is it that we need to work through so that guilt doesn't rear its head time and time again? And how can releasing the guilt help us become better mothers?
I've devoted an entire chapter in my book and an entire moon phase in my self-discovery process, to mother's guilt. This is how big a role it plays in motherhood and it’s why a mother needs to face it head-on. See guilt for what it really is - an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and why it plays such a significant role in our life story. There's a lesson wrapped up, beautifully disguised as mother's guilt. What is that lesson - for you? Once you discover it, you can shift the grip it has on you.
Wouldn't the world be a much better place if we were all following our hearts? If we could truly live life with passion and purpose, everything would have a richer and deeper meaning. It would create a ripple of positive and loving energy that could literally heal the world.
Self-empowerment is a beautiful thing!
* For more information about my book and the work that I do, please visit: www.JournalingByTheMoonlight.com and receive my 12 best tips for journal writing.