“Worry, worry, worry, worry. Worry will just not seem to leave my mind alone,” croons folk singer Ray Lamontagne.
There are several useless emotions, feelings that do nothing but feed our fragile egos and sap our energy, while rarely getting the results we truly seek. Worry and envy are two of these emotions. When I was a little girl, my mom used to tell me that nothing good ever came from worrying, that it would just make me weary and, in the end, whatever was meant to be would be.
One of the joys of getting older is the developing the wisdom to cast aside useless emotions that suck the life out of us. I’m adding a new one to the list, guilt.
I’m not talking about real guilt, like the kind of guilt you feel from a serious transgression like breaking the law. I’m talking about the guilt we feel about little silly things - like eating an extra cookie, sleeping in or saying no to something. I’m also talking about the guilt that we as women, especially as mothers, for some inane reason feel compelled to bestow on one another when we don’t approve of others’ choices.
We’ve all done it…
”You let your child do that?”
“You’re child isn’t doing that?”
We judge other people’s parenting choices. In essence, I think we do this when we were unsure of our own choices, and need to denigrate someone else’s in order to reassure ourselves. But ultimately, no one has the right to tell another parent how he or she should raise a child. What is good for one family or child may not be good for another. By making other women feel guilty for making a different choice, we only serve to undermine one another and weaken our collective sisterhood.
I will not feel guilty for eating the extra cookie. I will not feel guilty for sleeping past eight on a rare occasion. I will not feel guilty for saying “no” when I have too much on my plate. And I will not feel guilty for making a different choice for my child than yours, nor will I make you feel guilty.
What do you say? Why don’t we get it together, ladies, and stop the digs? I’m in if you are.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.