Not Guilty


I’m having “Mom” guilt. Actually, I have being a mom guilt as well as daughter guilt. I’m getting hit at both ends and it’s because I’m allowing it. And enough is enough. Enough of feeling guilty and enough of thinking I’m not enough. Not doing enough, giving enough, engaging my kids in enough, with them enough, cooking from scratch enough, cuddling long enough . . . do you see? Do you see the number I do on myself? There will be no proven guilty here because I am declaring myself not only innocent, but enough. Not just good enough but great enough.

At the same time, ironically, interestingly, in juxtaposition that should put it all in perspective, I feel like I am not giving enough to my own mother. I’m working through some “stuff” for lack of a better word, some leftover anger, disappointment from childhood that I recognize it’s time to move on from. Knowing it’s time to move on is not the same as moving on. I’m being patient with myself and allowing time. And it’s working. I can feel the tides turning. I am gaining strength. In the meantime, I asked for space from my mother. I haven’t cut off all contact, I have simply switched to email rather than phone, and I have my kids call her directly. Last week I even had them do a Skype call with her. I was in the other room the whole time and when it was time to hang up—decided by me, on my terms—I called to my kids “It’s time for dinner now, say good-bye to Gramma.” And then I went to the computer and just said “OK Mom, we have to go eat dinner, talk to you later. “ Since she is as overwhelmed by Skype as most people are by their tax returns, it took a few minutes for her to hang up. While she was doing this, I caught her expression and body language. It was as if she was trying to reach for me through the computer screen. Her face looked drawn and old and sad. I had a familiar pang of anxiety, of guilt. I should call her now, I thought, she needs more. But, I did not call her back. I had set my boundary and honored it. When I recounted this to a friend she called her a “psychic vampire,” someone who sucks the life out of you. And it was apt. It will never be enough what I give to my mother. No matter how much I do, call, share, give, it is never enough. And that’s not about me. It’s about her. So, I need to give and do what works for me. I need to feel good about what that is and be OK with it. I want to get past my “stuff” with her and I can feel it happening. That feels good. I also want to be true to myself and honor my needs. I do love my mother and she loves me, but I won’t be the victim of psychic vampirism.

I also want to give to my own children. And, I do. In buckets. Buckets full of love. I want them to feel loved and cared for and I know they do. Writing that about my own mother helps me to see just how different I am with them than she was with me. I’m not perfect, but who is and what message would that send my kids? They have space, security, love, and positive energy around them. And they are so loved. They are cuddled and read to and engaged with. They are given down time when they need it, hugs, kisses, tickles, ice cream and cookies and pizza sometimes because everyone should, healthy food most of the time, because everyone should do that too. They take swimming lessons, and go to museums and movies and play and ride bikes and go on vacation and have two parents who love them and each other. They have two cats, Star Wars Legos, Batman underpants, at least one parent to put them to bed almost every night—and usually both—to give kisses and cuddles. They are loved enough and more than enough and that is pure innocence.


  1. Leslie Holland says:

    Good for you for being true to yourself Jenny. That is huge! You’ve worked through a lot of stuff already and it shows. Big Hug to you.


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