Guilt Be Gone: You Are Doing Your Best

There is no room in motherhood for guilt.

I’ll never forget when I first heard these prolific words. Aidan was two years old and burned his right palm on a clothes iron that I had placed on my nightstand – and turned my back on. Less then five seconds later, the damage was done.

In hindsight, that was quite a week in my house. Aidan burnt his hand, and his sister busted her chin. 

His little palm was covered with the biggest blisters that I had ever seen. Second-degree burns – all because I turned my back.

And then came the guilt – overwhelming waves of guilt – until an elder friend of mine comforted me with these words, “There is no room in motherhood for guilt.”

Ten years later, that truth still resonates with me.

Life happens, and we don’t have the time or energy as mothers (or fathers) to question our decisions or criticize ourselves for what we’ve done or not done. We must keep moving forward.

Especially us PANDAS moms and dads. Life is coming at us so quickly, and our search for answers to our children’s condition is endless. PANDAS consumes our homes, our families, and our minds.

And yet, sometimes we feel guilty. I realized this when I read another PANDAS mom’s post on a support forum. She felt guilty because she went to her husband’s holiday work party and had a really nice evening. She felt guilty for enjoying herself.

We can really do a job on ourselves if given a chance, can’t we? We feel guilty for letting the house fall to shambles, guilty for giving our sick child more attention than our other children, guilty for enjoying a night out, guilty for yelling at our PANDA to stop yelling at us.

Whether the feeling of guilt comes from something someone else says or does, or from within ourselves, we owe it to ourselves to put a hand up to the face of guilt.

Aidan still figured out how to play with water without getting his hand wet. He was resilient from the start.

At the end of the day, trust that you have done your best as a mom and caregiver – even on the really bad days. You survived, and sometimes that IS the best you can do.

Just as we cannot turn our backs on our children, and we shouldn’t turn our backs on a hot clothes iron, we sure as heck cannot turn our backs on ourselves.

Our days don’t allow for trips to the gym, coffee dates at Starbucks, or mani and pedis. We are doing well if we pull off a hot shower and luke warm cup of java before mid-afternoon.

We can’t remember what we ate for breakfast or if we even ate breakfast. But we can remember these words.

There is no room in motherhood for guilt.

And if an evening out makes you feel like a new woman – even if only until your PANDA awakes the next morning – then kudos to you for not turning your back on the invite.

MJ Keatts is a mom of three – one of whom inspired her to start this blog. A journalist by trade, minimalist at heart, and a stunt girl in her dreams, MJ proudly admits that she’s learned more from her kids and husband than she could ever teach them herself. She loves to laugh – especially at herself – and one day hopes to amaze her husband and be ready on time.

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