Our spring-break did not turn out as I had hoped. For reasons beyond my control my plans for quality time with both my boys failed to happen and I was left with a sense of guilt.
It seems since the day SD was born I acquired the innate ability to feel guilty. I have a tendency to carry this emotion in my backpack allowing it to weigh me down and complicate my journey.
Guilt and motherhood
I think being a mum is fertile ground for guilt and this is magnified when you are the mum of a child with special needs. It isn’t easy to explain but my experience as a mum for my son’s is completely different. I have spent hundreds of hours trying to help SD learn stuff that JJ simply woke up one day able to do. Success for a child with such complex needs as SD is often measured by things not getting worse. This level of complete dependence and high level input can leave me with an overwhelming sense of never doing enough.
Just recently I read a really helpful blog titled ‘A better way to say sorry‘. It’s worth a read and helps formulate the process of repentance and forgiveness in four easy steps.
I’m sorry for…
This was wrong because…
In the future I will…
Will you forgive me?
We have employed these principles with JJ and they are now stuck to our fridge as a reminder to us all.
With my emotions still fraught after the school holidays I went for an early morning run as part of my ’emotional management programme’. (See my photo as proof) Don’t be too impressed though, my usual response to emotional baggage is to eat and when jogging I look more like Phoebe from friends than Jessica Ennis. However, one of the feelings I needed to tackle was the extraction of the pointless weight of guilt occupying my backpack as a result of a false sense of what I ought to have done with the kids at Easter. So while my breathing became laboured, my trainers hit the pavement and I began to pray going through the four steps;
I am sorry for feeling guilty for circumstances beyond my control
This was wrong because instead of changing my behaviour I just felt bad about myself and displayed this to my kids.
In the future I will try to be more realistic about my expectations, recognise my limitations and let go of feelings that only act as a burden.
Will you I forgive me? Erm…yes
Living in forgiveness
It was a helpful process, not only did my spirit feel lighter but I began to recognise how my guilt had warped my perspective. The spring-break had been a difficult couple of weeks but it was also peppered with many small, sweet memories created by my wonderful family. And the next time I need to deal with rogue emotions my only hope is that a run isn’t necessary, although the guilt free chocolate brownie afterwards did work a treat.
There is a brilliant book currently at the top of the non-fiction charts called ‘The Chimp Paradox’ by Dr Steve Peters. In it he talks about being hijacked by emotions. Are there any emotions hijacking your life and making your journey more difficult? Is there anything taking up far too much room in your backpack? Tell me about your strategies for dealing with these emotions, I’d love to hear of some less sweaty or calorific techniques.