Sometimes the guilt can be overwhelming. There is so much to do–keep the house clean {or at least decent}, make dinner, wash and fold the laundry, bathes, doctor appointments, homework and on and on. There are moments I feel myself start to buckle under the pressure. It’s pressure I put on myself, of course, to try to be perfect and hold it all together and make sure everyone’s needs are being met all the time.

A few months ago things started to become a bit clearer for me. I had been feeling guilty because I hadn’t taken David to the doctor for a flu shot. I told myself, “If he gets the flu, you are going to feel awful.” I berated myself saying, “If you were a good mom, you would take care of this right away.” In the midst of busyness and the ‘not being able to get it all done’ the guilt was eating me up.

In the midst of struggling with feelings of guilt over not getting David a flu shot, we headed to LA to see his pulmonologist {respiratory specialist} and we planned a quick trip to Disneyland to ride a few of our favorite rides.  At the doctor’s office, she asked me if David had received a flu shot and I sheepishly admitted, “No, he hasn’t.” She asked, “Would you like us to give him one today?” Hallelujah, right? My prayers were answered. “Yes!” I replied, “That would be fantastic!” Now I could move past the guilt and save that energy for more important things. I felt a burden lifted from my shoulders. David would be protected from any nasty viruses and I was a good mother. Phew.

Until we arrived at Disneyland a couple hours later. I could tell David was feeling icky. He usually has a mild reaction to the flu shot–just kind of mellow and achy. The guilt kicked in again, “If only I had planned better, he would be happy and energetic right now.” Usually David loves all the colors, people, and sites at Disneyland. But he clearly wasn’t enjoying himself and it was all my fault.

Then I had a light bulb moment.

Guilt doesn’t play fair.

When I hadn’t taken David for a flu shot I felt guilty. But then after he got the flu shot I felt guilty. Guilt was hitting me from both sides and no matter what I did, I couldn’t win. Guilt wasn’t helping me, it was hurting me.

Since then I’ve been trying to let go of guilt. When that little voice tells me, “You’re not good enough,” I tell it, “You’re right. I’m not perfect. I’m just going to do the best I can.” And when guilt whispers, “You’re a bad mom, you’re a failure,” I remind myself that my boys are happy and thriving and growing every day.

So guilt, I’m not playing your game anymore. I’m admitting right here, right now, that I’m imperfect. And that’s okay.

Where are you feeling guilty? Can you let yourself stop playing the guilt game?