One phrase that has always annoyed me is 'Catholic guilt.' I have never really understood it. I converted with my Mom and Dad and four siblings when I was 12. The sacrament of confession was one thing that attracted us to the Catholic Church. Assurance of God's forgiveness (of course under certain rules)? Sign me up! I have always loved this freeing sacrament- I like the fact that the priest is bond to secrecy. Maybe I'll celebrate being a Catholic by going to confession and then watching Hitchcock's I Confess. In any case, I suspect the phrase 'Catholic-guilt' is used by those 'recovering' or 'cafeteria' Catholics that aren't much into Catholic sacraments. Anyways- shouldn't you feel badly for something bad you have done and isn't it wonderful that the Church has remedies for those feelings?
So I don't suffer from 'Catholic-guilt,' just Mommy guilt. I second-guess myself a lot as many mothers do. Are the children studying enough? Are they polite enough? Do they watch too much television? Are they eating enough veggies? Are we doing too many activities? If any other mom talked the way that I do to myself, I would tell her to give herself a break...
Today brought the guilt home. My youngest has had a very, very, very bad diaper rash for almost a month. The rash has spread to other parts of her body. Her poor little face has spots. We've started giving twice daily baths, cutting out juice and sugar, adding probiotics and more. But I finally broke down and took her to the doctor. I made an appointment and packed up all four kids in the middle of the school day. No one was at the doctor's office except one couple with a week-old baby.
I couldn't help but contrast life with one baby and then with the little crew that I have now....
First baby- Daddy comes to the doctor's appointments
Fourth baby- Daddy knows you can handle it and keeps working to pay the co-pay, deductible and percentage
First baby- Mommy has a large, pink Coach purse to carry baby's needs
Fourth baby- Mommy puts two diapers in her purse, forgets the wipes
First baby- Mommy got treated to a pedicure to wear with her new sandals
Fourth baby- Mommy hopes to get a pedicure by Christmas and wonders if the salon is open really, really early Saturday mornings when everyone is still asleep
First baby- Mommy and Daddy holds hands as they walk into the examination room with the baby
Fourth baby- Mommy looks the other way as the three older kids watch Shark Tale and is relieved they are occupied during the hour and a half wait (no kidding and no exaggeration)
First baby- Mommy and Daddy listen attentively to the doctor's instructions and advice
Fourth baby- Mommy listens for toddler boy to get bored by Shark Tale in the waiting room and start crying
so I feel the guilt...
And all of this was because of a bad diaper rash that probably could have been prevented. Poor fourth baby! Even though we all love her up, she can get lost in the shuffle. Maybe this was her way of getting attention. I have learned my lesson- maybe Mommy-guilt can be a good thing if it reminds us to be more loving and attentive of our precious babies.