I have never felt more guilt than I have for the past six years.
It’s been six years since I gave birth to E.
Yes, there is a connection.
The guilt is stronger on some days and barely a whisper on others, but it’s always there, always present.
The guilt of not paying more attention to him.
The guilt of paying him too much attention and neglecting work.
The guilt of getting frustrated and cranky at him.
The guilt of being too strict.
The guilt of being too lenient.
The guilt of causing him untold childhood trauma because of all my hang-ups that will result in him having the same hang-ups or a lifetime of counselling.
The guilt of giving him too much screen time.
The guilt of giving him too much pressure with schoolwork.
The guilt of rushing so much I sometimes forget to see him.
To know him.
To understand him.
To be there for him.
Tonight, the guilt felt especially strong.
At bedtime, as I lay next to him in bed, I whispered: “I’m sorry for all the wrong things I’ve done. I will try to be a better mum.”
He snuggles closer to me and whispers back: “You don’t have to be. You already are.”
The love from this little boy burns bright and strong. It never wavers and it looks right into the core of my heart.
I suppose it is much like the love of the God I know. The God who knows I’m not perfect but am trying to be better every day.
He looks into the core of my heart and He understands.
And He loves me anyway.
Good enough is good enough.
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Melody Tan is project manager of the Mums At The Table multimedia initiative, which supports and encourages mums in Australia and New Zealand through video and written content, as well as online and local groups. She lives in Sydney with her husband and their preschooler son.