5 years ago, if you were to Google “guilty mom”, my photo would’ve appeared front and center. Proof of my maternal neglect… a mommy mug shot, if you will.
There were baseball games I missed… there were family dinners I ate alone… there were goodnight kisses I didn’t get… because I was working. I was meeting with clients and unfortunately; their needs came before the needs of my family.
Then one night’s events at the dinner table rocked my perfect-to-everyone-on-the-outside world. I came home late with my briefcase in one hand and a stack of files in the other. My husband, bless his soul, already had supper on the table. It was Hamburger Helper but supper none-the-less. My husband knew I hadn’t had much time with the kids so he encouraged them to sit by me during supper. “We don’t want to sit by mom… we want to sit by you” they chimed together.
Right then and there, I felt like I walked outside on a freezing, below zero day in January… my breath was taken away by the cold. How did I get here? How did this happen? While my clients were getting all of me, my young children were getting my emotional leftovers. They were going to grow up to be suicidal, serial killer adults and it would be all my fault! GUILT!
Then I learned the two steps that allowed me to remove the guilt.
Step 1 – I made a list of everything that was important to me.
Step 2 – I put these things in order of their importance.
Here’s what happened… I realized I wasn’t living according to what my priorities were. No wonder I felt so guilty! I said my family was important… I said my marriage was important but the number 4 thing on the list got all my attention!
My learning didn’t stop there… I then started to use this stack-ranked list to make better decisions. Often times I was faced with making a decision based upon two conflicting priorities… like my son’s baseball game and meeting with a client. The ‘before-list-me’ would’ve met with my client but the ‘after-list-me’ can confidently choose the baseball game because THAT is what matters most. I no longer make decisions based upon what others think I should do… I now make decisions based upon what I value most and this has removed 100% of the guilt from my life.
So what about you? Are you a guilty mom or guilty dad? Take out a piece of paper right now and make your lists. Comment below with the first 3 things on your prioritized list. By living according to this values-based list, I promise you’ll get rid of the guilt and it’ll change your life. I’m living proof.