Several conversations this week in which I pointed out that mothers always feel they could have/should have done a better job. It seems to be part of being a mom that you always feel any problems your kids have are your fault or your lack in providing the parenting that would have maximized their potential.
This used to be believed as fact -- I worked at a psychiatric hospital on a children's ward, and there was a weekly therapy group meeting for the mothers, who were considered the source of most of the problems the kids had.
Now we know better, but don't actually believe better -- one conversation this week was about the parents of a teen who murdered some neighbors -- and why didn't the parents pick up on their child's murderous tendencies!
But murderers aside, I've been thinking about why moms feel regrets --
I've noticed how often very young children and grandchildren are considered to be brilliant and precocious, merely because from a crying feeding pooping critter, they miraculously and brilliantly learn all on their own to WALK and TALK and THINK! It is always truly amazing to see this process!
So every child seems to have the potential to be brilliant, achieve great things, make lots of money, be happy.
But like the poem about kittens
(The trouble with a kitten is that
it eventually becomes a cat ((Ogden Nash of course))
and babies and toddlers eventually become PEOPLE
and we all know what PEOPLE are like. Mostly not brilliant, successful, happy.
So mom has failed.
What's wrong with this picture?
By simply believing your child is perfect and your grown up child is perfect as they are (with of course always room for improvement) you can believe yourself a perfect parent! It seems to me there are cultures that do believe in this way.
And BTW another reason Christmas is so great -- we celebrate the birth of a child. The birth of a child is always cause for hope, every child is possibly our savior, the hope of the world.