Guilt of a Wife/Mother

How is it that somewhere in midst of achieving all of my dreams I lost myself?  Or rather lost what I wanted for myself?  I’m not sure which question is more accurate.  For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted for my life was to teach children with special needs (which I do), have a husband (which I do), and have children (which I do).  Part of me wants to blame my parents for not expecting more of me.  But what more could they expect?  I don’t conciously remember my parents ingraining these goals in my head.  They always told me that I could do and be whatever I wanted.  I thought this was what I wanted.

There’s this part of my brain that keeps throwing thoughts into my conciousness.  Is this it?  Will the next 50 years be spent tending to my children’s needs, my husband’s needs, my student’s needs?  I want more.  But more of what?  When I try to pin down something that could fulfill this want, I can’t come up with anything.

I take time for myself and do things I enjoy, but it’s not good enough anymore.

Here comes the guilt.  Shouldn’t having a good marriage and the love of my children be enough?  I think of the women I know that are in miserable marriages or going through a divorce and think how lucky I am.  I see couples struggle to have children and I see parents struggle to have a relationship with their children and think how much I love my own children.  I don’t regret getting married and I don’t regret having my children. 

I want to scream at the top of my lungs that there is more to me than being his wife and their mother and the special ed teacher.  But if someone asked me what else is there, I can honestly say I don’t know.  And I feel guilty that being his wife, their mother, and the special ed teacher isn’t enough for me.



Filed under children, dreams, family, feelings, husband, teaching, woman

4 responses to “Guilt of a Wife/Mother

  1. missharleyquinn

    A few years ago, when my imps were small, I faced a dilemma of identity. I was someone’s mom, someone’s spouse, someone’s daughter…but I wasn’t a proper noun anymore. I was always placed in regards to someone, as if I was insignificant without them. I was Skyler’s mom…it was never , “Oh, look there’s Glenda and her daughter”. I felt at a loss of what to do…I needed proper noun time. Oddly enough, 5 years ago I went on a weekend trip with my best friend, just us and no kids, and we had the whole weekend planned out to the nano-second…we wanted to squeeze every drop of life out of our kid free weekend. We got to Butte, Montana and we’re right on time to get to Missoula, MT that afternoon, when one of us said, “I wonder where that road goes?” As we drove by an access road …And we took it. Schedules be damned, plans be damned, we were explorers…that was the day I became a proper noun again. We gave into our desires to be daring. It sounds so small when I write about it, but it helped me find myself again. I wish you all the luck in your journey and hope you too get back to being a proper noun. 🙂

  2. Hmmmmm. This was, to me, a very interesting post. I have a couple of thoughts, which may or may not be relevant.

    1) Knowing or feeling that you could have more satisfaction in your life doesn’t make you ungrateful. People can only see as far as their particular plateau permits them to see. You can look down the mountain at the people who are still struggling to get to where you are, and wish you could give them a hand up, and be happy that you’re where you are. From their plateaus, they look up and see you, and that’s what they want. But from your own plateau, you have a different viewpoint regarding what’s above you, and that’s perfectly OK.

    2) As someone who pays ridiculously minute attention to habits of language, it strikes me that the way you identify your roles as wife and mother are couched in terms of other people owning or claiming you. “His wife.” “Their mother.” Your job is also one of people claiming or needing your time and effort. Maybe it’s not a question of there must be more to you, so much as a question of how you identify the things you are, and why you do them.

    It would be interesting to know what “more” means to you. Do you want a different kind of recognition? Do you want a different sense of accomplishment? From the plateau I’m stuck on, being a loving and responsible partner and parent looks like the most astonishing achievement imaginable. 🙂

  3. trured73

    1) Thank you for that. Putting it in that light, I feel better.
    2) I’m not sure how to re-define what I am, though. And quite honestly, I don’t know why I do them. Maybe I need to probe into the why in order to re-define.

    And that is part of the problem. I don’t know what “more” is.

  4. It might not be a question of redefining yourself so much as it is a question of rewriting the definition in a way that you yourself determine, rather than using the one that circumstance or other people have given to you.

    There are, for example, so many different meanings for the concept “wife.” Maybe the definition you’re using is one you were taught, rather than the definition that fits how you interpret that role.

    I think that sometimes when we think about redefining ourselves, we believe we’ll come up with a different word — but redefinition, is just that . . . redefinition. Same word, different meaning, perhaps.

    Just musing, as usual. 🙂

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