Feeling Regret instead of Punishing Guilt

I’ve taken a lengthy hiatus from my series inspired by my time at Postpartum Progress’ Warrior Mom Conference. There has been lots of other stuff to write about, but the truth is that I’ve rewritten this post six times… and deleted it five. It’s really hard to talk about guilt. When I think about my darkest offenses, tears well in my eyes and my lip quivers. I hold them and continue to punish myself. I need to change. I need to forgive.

#8 – She understands the difference between Guilt and Regret and chooses not to punish herself unnecessarily

What is the difference between guilt and regret? Guilt is the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, or wrong. Guilt in the sense that I talk about it ventures from real to imagined. Punishment is the corollary of guilt. Regret is different in that it is a feeling of remorse, sadness, or disappointment.
Tuesday when I got home from work, our nanny greeted me. I hadn’t seen her in almost two and a half weeks. (She comes everyday.) I’ve been home 12 days in September. That means I’ve been gone an equal number. To say I feel guilty, is an understatement. I’m not entirely sure the punishment I’ve meted to myself. I have called myself a bad mom… out loud… to my three-year old. She assured me that I’m a good mom. Deep down, I know I am one good mom.
I shouldn’t be guilty. No crime has been committed. I don’t think my children feel wronged.
Instead, guilt should be replaced with regret. I feel remorse for taking on too much travel this month and as the schedule came together I realized my mistake. I’m disappointed about missing out on time with my kids. I regret being so tired upon returning from all the travels.
I’m working on changing my perspective and treating myself like I would a dear friend. I’m practicing accepting that a deed is done and cannot be undone. Sometimes a solution can be found and I can try to rectify the situation, but if not I must let it go. The deed is in the past and nobody can change the past.
Are you with me in this, friends?

This is the eighth post in a series inspired by one of my favorite sessions of the Warrior Mom Conference (#WarriorMomCon). Kate Kripke presented on Thriving After PMAD (Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders) where she asked all of us, “What does a thriving mother do?” Her list of ten blew me away and they aren’t just for moms with PMADs… they are for everybody!

#1 – Thriving mothers know feeling anxious is a normal part of motherhood

#2 – She is willing to be Good Enough (and understand that mistakes are even important)

#3 – Thriving mothers understand the need for self-fullness and that self-fullness is in service of her child(ren)

#4 – She understands the difference between habit and instinct or intuition and she gives herself the time and space to listen. Carefully.

#5 – A thriving mother accepts and maybe even prides herself on her vulnerabilities

#6 – She understands the need for community and she uses it well

#7 – Thriving mothers understand that by doing the work NOW, she is making it less likely that her child(ren will have to do it later



3 thoughts on “Feeling Regret instead of Punishing Guilt

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