It's that time when we are sitting on the toilet and the yell comes from the other room. Or how about when your child is an infant and they are seated in a chair in front of you WHILE you use the toilet/shower. GUILT! Why do we need to use the toilet?? Why do we need to shower?? Why do we need to brush our teeth??
I am guilty. Guilty every single day as a mother. I was brushing my teeth the other morning, and my child was calling to me from the other room with an "urgent need." I felt guilty. Guilty I was brushing my teeth and couldn't run right in. No, I didn't stop brushing, I kept brushing and kept feeling guilty.
The same feeling came again when it was time to clean the bathrooms. We have to leave our children to play "alone" or with their siblings to clean. GUILT! I shouldn't be taking so much time to complete household chores!
But this morning, when it was time to clean the bathrooms, something wonderful happened. He wanted to help me get the chores done. (And no I don't anticipate that to last).
That's when I realized all the feelings of guilt, are really lessons for our children.
Lessons for Our Children Derived from Guilt
Lesson 1: Household chores (like cleaning) are essential and part of everyday life.
Learning how to do chores and completing them is important. We can't always just play whenever we want - we do have to get our household work done.
Lesson 2: Sometimes we need privacy in the bathroom.
Although this is a difficult lesson for children it is an important one. Everyone needs to use the toilet, take a shower, brush their teeth and maintain their bodies. Let's let them do that so we can all be happy (and not smell).
Lesson 3: Laundry needs to get done, loaded, unloaded, folded and put away.
Children watching and helping with laundry teaches them the value and importance of tasks. It's not taking anything away from their time with parents. It's adding to it.
How about leaving your child with a babysitter and going out to a quiet night out with your partner? Shouldn't we be at home enjoying the night with our child? (Night after night after night after night). What's going to happen while we are gone? Will our child get to bed? Will the child behave? If I go out the world might end (or that's how we feel right?).
Lesson 4: Your child will see you and your partner love each other when you take a night out.
They will love you, even more, when you return to them. There will be bigger hugs and so much relief at your return. Those few hours away are essential to keep cool, calm and collected as parents. Your child will learn what a positive, fun, relationship you have with your partner.
How about working? Yes, that's right - that dreaded word! We need to work to earn money. Or we need to work for ourselves and our own personal career. There are many reasons we need or want, to work. But that's a whole lot of time we are away from our kids right? What's going to happen to them? Will they be delayed in learning while we work? Will they know who we are when we return? How much work is too much work? How long should our work days be if we have kids? Should we work at home, even when our child is home? All questions we ask ourselves to handle (or not) the guilt we feel.
Lesson 5: Your child sees you are a hard worker, but you still love them.
They see you are responsible. They see you enjoy your career. They see the importance of choosing something they like in life. If you don't like your job, and you don't like working, they will see that also.
Although we will all carry some guilt we shouldn't! We should remember our children are learning from us. They learn to love, hate, do or don't do all from us. Turn the guilt around and make it a learning experience.