Mom guilt– it never seems to end. There are the normal parent guilts that get us; such as not spending enough time with our children, the screen time debate, healthy foods vs. foods our kids will actually eat, yelling too much, comparing ourselves to other parents, etc.
Here’s a mom guilt, or really an anyone guilt, that I haven’t seen discussed much… the guilt about getting involved in causes. The drinking straw debate is one that has been in the news quite a bit recently. This cause is important, obviously, because no one wants straws taking over our oceans or hurting sea creatures like turtles. Some other causes needing attention are global warming, the Monsanto crisis, immigration separation, school safety, alternative energy sources, medical marijuana, toxic blue/green algae in our waterways, animal cruelty, and the list goes on and on (no matter which side of the debates you are on).
Causes are Everywhere!
Causes pop up everywhere in our digital/social media world. We see them on T.V., Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, you name it. Sometimes these causes even come up in conversations between parents at the park, parties, or playdates. There is a whole website dedicated to causes (causes.com), whose mission is to “empower people to create change in the world through online organizing.” And each cause seems to pull me in; I want to read about it, know about it, be involved in it. I want to help, I want to rally, I want to sign petitions, I want to contribute, I want to make my voice heard, I want to create a better world for our future generations. I. WANT. TO. But I can’t help them all. I want to! But I’m already spread so thin between being a mom, a wife, having a full-time job, being with family and friends, and trying to find some time for myself too.
Then, the guilt seeps in. Other people find time to help and join these causes. Other moms become passionate about issues in our world. Other parents get their children involved in fighting for these causes. Why can’t I find the time? Am I being selfish for not MAKING the time? Am I a horrible person for not getting involved- especially since I really do care? I don’t want to come across as heartless, indifferent, or lackadaisical.
I want to help- truly I do- but how can I possibly help everyone/everything that needs it, while still giving my all to my family and friends that deserve my time and energy too? How do I find that balance? I’ve tried! I have signed petitions online, emailed people in positions to do something about the issue at hand, participated in races benefiting charities, and I’ve even attended two rallies in the past year for a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. And I do try to teach my children about these causes, and why we fight to make things better.
So, I do try… but, yet, I still feel guilty. Guilty that it’s not enough, that it’s not making a dent in the actual problems, that I’m taking precious time away from my children for something that I can’t fix. But at the same time, how do I Not Try to fix it for my kids’ sake? And herein lies the GUILT!
What Can We Do?
I’m not sure what the answer is, other than for parents to contribute where they can, when they can. To teach our children that these causes deserve attention, and that even the smallest little bit helps. To choose the ones we feel we can make the most impact with for our own communities; and pour our love into that cause. But to donate all our time, money, energy to every cause, it’s just too much. I want to- but I’m sorry, I just can’t. So, for now I’ll continue doing my personal best, and hope that the guilt doesn’t take over completely… because I am trying.