17 October, 2017
On Monday last week while visiting our local supermarket I became separated from our son.
More specifically, I lost him.
As I did my civic duty and recycled my soft plastics, he slipped away behind me and walked off in a different direction. I paced up and down the forecourt looking for him.
Two minutes, three minutes, four minutes passed.
My heart felt like it was lifting, millimetre-by-millimetre up in to my throat. My breath became laboured. Large doses of adrenalin started coursing through my nervous system.
I ran to the stairwell and thought I heard a scream… or was it the elevator doors? My mind was really going to town.
Within 10 minutes, I went from relatively calm to almost hysterical. I threw the baby at the store manager and started running down the isles of the supermarket, but he was no-where to be seen.
More ‘worse case scenario’ thoughts came flooding through. My body was alive with adrenalin; I was in full fight or flight mode.
Those of you that have also experienced something similar will attest, 10 minutes separated from a 3 ½ year old actually seems more like 30 minutes.
Then along he comes, holding the hand of my next-door neighbour who had found him in the car park (the bloody car park!) He had taken himself back down the escalator and out in to the car park to wait by our car.
More ‘worst case scenario’ thoughts (even though he was in my arms and safe).
It took him about 15 minutes to come right. I on the other hand took about five days to come right.
That same night, it took me three hours to fall asleep. More ‘worst case scenario’ thoughts (even though he was safe in his bed, sound asleep). A well-known feeling of ‘not good enough’ started creeping across my whole entity. This was mum guilt at it’s worst.
Mum guilt is a common affliction, and tends to worsen in times like school holidays when the expectations of who we think we should be clash with the stark reality of who we actually are.
I sat with the guilt for a few days. It was like a pernicious black tar seeping through my thoughts, leaving me feeling emotionally drained.
It started to impact my physical health too. My body was suffering under the stress of guilt.
I needed to get back on the path of wellbeing.
I wanted to go back to feeling at peace again.
But what was the best way for me to make peace with the guilt?
Firstly, I spoke to other mums about my experience. This made me feel better because I realised that the crazy stuff that happens to me, happens to almost everyone else too.
I asked for guidance in my meditation. I had a clear intuition and the message was… “You are doing your best”.
This situation served me to make me remember what/who are the most important things in my life and to demonstrate how other worries are not really worries at all.
I also learnt that if the situation is long resolved, and the other parties have forgiven you and moved on. Then continuing to suffer in guilt becomes a form of self-sabotage that needs to be addressed immediately.
You’re an imperfect human being. Accept this now or continue to suffer!
Are you guilty of mum guilt? How have you been successful in acknowledging and releasing these feelings? Feel free to drop me a message in the comment box below.