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The role of the mother is the role played by women most severely assessed by the environment. No matter what they do, you can always point out their mistakes and make them feel guilty. And a mother's guilt is especially destructive. Why is this happening and how to deal with it?

Are you bottle feeding your baby? Immediately a kind person will say: "This is wrong, you are doing it for the sake of comfort and depriving your baby of valuable ingredients contained in mother's milk." Or: "Breast after 1 year of age? What are you doing? After all, your milk is worthless, and you will "make your baby dependent" on you. Are you giving your baby sweets? You give him caries and overweight. You're not giving sweetness? Let him try it, or he'll throw himself at it someday. Do you want to go back to work after maternity? Do you think selfishly, what about your child's needs? Have you decided to take a parental leave? You lose your chance for a career, you will fall out of the job market! Did you put your child in a nursery? What a mother you are, you put them under stress and disease. Do you have one child? It will be selfish, pampered, and will not fit in with a peer group. Do you want a foursome? This is an exaggeration, you will get stuck at home. " And so one could go on and on. Every young mother knows this from her own experience. And the worst thing is when a child has any problems - with he alth, development, and then with relations with peers, with learning. Because probably the mother has neglected something … Faced with the constant evaluation, the woman becomes convinced that she is not trying hard enough, that she is not a good mother, that she is clearly doing something wrong. Why is that?

Gender chosen for the sacrifice

In most animal species, it is the female's responsibility to take care of the baby, its feeding, safety and development. This is also the case with humans. Despite social relations evolving towards full equality between men and women, women most often stay at home with their children. - It should also be remembered that the first bond that is built between a mother and a child is a bit different than that between a father and a child, because it is formed from the period of prenatal life - says psychologist Marlena Trąbińska-Haduch. - Dad builds relationships a little later. In the very beginning, he does not experience the child like the mother. Additionally, after giving birth, a woman feels that only she is able to read wellthe needs of your little one, satisfying them and that he is most needed for development. - I call it the maternal omnipotence. This applies to the first 3-6 months of life - explains the psychologist. - During this time, the mother's attention is focused on the toddler, which often involves taking the partner away from matters related to the child.

No consent for errors

When a woman becomes pregnant, she often realizes that it is largely up to her who the child will be, how it will develop, and how it behaves. This means that she would like to be the perfect mom. Then she makes less and less of herself to make mistakes because she knows that if she stumbles, it will have a negative impact on her baby.

Guilt can arise from any failure during pregnancy or childbirth. Later, when the child grows up, it can be triggered by any lack of "how it should be" or various difficulties of the child, e.g. emotional.

A woman may also feel guilty that the child's life is not absorbing her sufficiently because, for example, professional matters are important to her. Not only that, however, mothers often have a lot to complain about themselves, they are also judged by everyone in terms of their efficiency and effectiveness. They are to reconcile home and work duties, be well-groomed and at the same time provide the child with the highest quality time. - Mothers are socially imposed that they should be perfect, not make mistakes and deal with everything perfectly. And they make mistakes and feel guilty for not meeting these social expectations, says the psychologist. - In fact, they are not able to fulfill them. There are too many of them and they are often contradictory.

Worth knowing

Criticism by partner

It is not uncommon that when a child has problems, the father blames the mother for neglecting something. This applies to diseases, e.g. congenital ones, as well as to various behaviors of the child. This shifting the entire responsibility for the child to the woman may result from the lack of competence - the father does not care much for the child, because he believes that he will not cope, so he lacks basic information about the care, development and problems of the child: "You have autism", " Cries because he is hungry, because your milk is too skimpy ”. It is easier to blame a woman than to learn about a given topic and get involved in solving problems.

The second aspect results from beliefs about the role of a mother, taken from the family home. The man thinks that what his mother did is natural and that his partner will do the same. And she may have other patterns and plans, e.g. she thinks about her professional future and does not want to stay at home with her child until she is 18, even though her motherpartner did so. Moreover, men find it harder than women to cope with failures, and they believe that the way their family functions builds their self-esteem. When something is wrong in the family, they want to believe that they have stood up to the occasion, which is why they often blame their partners with responsibility: “It's because of you that he screams as much as he wants something. You taught him that "," Take care of it, I don't have time. " But often when a woman asks her partner to show how to do something different, she hears, "It's your role, I wash my hands." HOW CAN I GET OUT OF THIS SITUATION? One way is to involve the partner from the very beginning in caring for the child, sharing competences, but without lecturing or scolding. This is where the 3xP principle works: show, practice, praise. And then it is worth withdrawing so that the partner can take care of the toddler himself more often. The longer a woman moves a man away from caring for a child, the more difficult it is to give up this field. At the same time, she falls into a trap, because then the man can easily judge her.

Debut has its rights

When a woman makes her debut as a mother, she finds herself in unknown ground, even if she thought she was well prepared for it before. But you can't learn everything from books, movies, or in a birthing school. These skills are learned through action. A mother often intuitively knows what her child needs. He is constantly learning to read the signals sent by the baby and react to them appropriately. This task is often very frustrating.

At the beginning of the maternal journey, a woman often feels lost in the face of the enormity of norms and recommendations. You have to use common sense in all this, distinguish between the advice of experts and the advice of "advisers". And choose what suits the mother and baby and change what doesn't work. It is also worth looking for support from your own mother, who once experienced the same thing, as well as from their peers, because their experiences can be invaluable and inspiring. - Each woman brings up her child a little differently - emphasizes Marlena Trąbińska-Haduch. - We come from different families, these families had different rules, different limits of functioning, a different message about the role of a woman and a man, so you can also afford different things in some families and not others. Nor can the mother be persuaded that she alone is responsible for the family. The generation of our mothers and grandmothers gave in to it. - But thinking about the family should be holistic. You cannot blame the child, family or marriage on only one person - says the psychologist.

Destructive guilt

When raising a child, it's hard not to feel guilty about doing somethingnot so. But when a mother, for example, yells at a child, it does not mean that she will traumatize it. But then she should explain her behavior to him and ease the situation. - The feeling of guilt should be adequate to the harm caused - emphasizes the psychologist.

When the mother thinks that she is guilty for something, she must ask herself: "What was I responsible for in a given situation, what did I have influence on and what was not?" If she made a mistake, she should try to do it differently next time. This is the only wise solution.

Cultivating your guilt is a road to nowhere. At the same time, it distracts from the most important thing - the child. - When your mother feels very guilty, it is worth talking to a therapist. You have to get out of this vicious circle and start enjoying motherhood, says the psychologist. - The children will leave the house one day and the mother is to be left without feeling guilty. But they too are to go away without her feeling guilty.

There are no perfect mothers

There is really no one correct recipe for being a mother. Motherhood is a very personal matter. For a woman, it is the most important of her life roles and each of them tries to fulfill it as best she can, caring for the child and giving him the most of herself. But at the same time, parenting is learning from mistakes. It is thanks to them that we change and develop.

Years ago, Dr. Donald W. Winnicott, a distinguished pediatrician and psychoanalyst, said that a mother was supposed to be good enough. It means trying to listen to your child, responding to his needs, and on the other hand, he has the right to make mistakes because he does not know how to deal with everything. She is an instinctive mother who learns her child not from books or handbooks, but by being with him. It is the one that develops with the child, accompanies him in everyday situations and supports him in times of stress. A mother may have doubts, and sometimes she may also do something wrong. It happens that, overwhelmed by duties, she sometimes rebels. But she is ready to learn and develops in her motherhood. Constantly tormenting oneself with remorse disturbs this, makes it difficult to understand the child and being close to him. It does not need our self-flagellation, but an attentive presence.

According to an expertMagdalena Trąbińska-Haduch, psychologist, therapist, Materpater therapeutic and educational center in Warsaw

Traces of childhood

In psychological work, most therapeutic trends return to the past, checking what the patient's childhood was like, what is its basis. Therefore, it has become common to think that psychologists believe that if something is wrong in adulthoodgoes out, the mother is to blame for everything. This is a big mental shortcut. It's not about blame, it's about responsibility. And this does not only apply to the mother, because the partner or father of the child is also responsible, as well as the environment in which the child grew up. However, this mental shortcut stigmatizes mothers. And because the average person is not fully aware of what psychotherapy is, using this shortcut, he hurts his mother.

In therapy, it's not about the patient blaming her and saying: I'm already he althy. The trick is for him to see the real mother in full light - that there are indeed things that she is responsible for that she has done wrong, but also that she has done a lot of good things. It is also done in order to teach the patient to take responsibility for his life, but also to distinguish, to give himself the right to mistakes and successes. The point is not to blame the mother and account for them. Although sometimes patients have such a need, and for some families it is cleansing when an adult child comes and talks about what he has to do with his mother. However, the point is not to cultivate the feeling that mom is to blame for everything. She is responsible for so many things and aspects of a child's life, but at some point this motherly responsibility ends. The second point is that the mother will be held accountable for the entire adult life of her child. Because only adult people are a testimony of being brought up by their parents.

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