Guilt Ridden Decisions Lead to Compassion FatigueMichelle Balaun
Oh, the Mommy Guilt is on a roll, right? I hear it from everyone these days- it feels like we are juggling 50 pound balls of our individual demands as well as our mother roles. At some point, we are bound to burn out because this gig is taxing. Whenever life circumstances change, there is a part of us that wants to keep up with the status quo and fight the change until it becomes too overwhelming. Most of us did not anticipate starting another school year virtually (for those of us with the kids at home), so many of the decisions made in March were haphazard and temporary, like – positioning your child’s desk or study area in a common living area or sitting next to your child during their Zoom classes while simultaneously trying to work, cooking three meals a day, cleaning up to a spotless house, and working the 9-5, staying up a few extra hours to complete the work because your child wanted to watch two movies after the hour at the park and book reading. I am not shunning any of this, but, actions such as these can lead to major burnout and often forgetting why we’re doing all of this in the first place.
It has gotten to the point that as parents, we need to reframe and adjust our system. Many parents are tired and overworked, multitasking is a lie, but let’s just pretend it’s true so that we can get that much more done because, at the end of the day, it still feels like there is so much more to get done. Take a moment and take stock of the decisions you have made over the course of the past few months. How many of them were guilt-ridden, anxiety-based, or copy-pasted because someone else is doing it and it sounded like a good idea just to get it off the To-Do List?
Take stock of how many decisions were made with clarity during this time period and compare the list. Most of the time, we confuse decisions from a compassionate standpoint with guilt, because we feel bad about how this affects the other person. Of course, it is important to take your family members into consideration, but how much of the decisions made nowadays are for the greater good versus trying to quelch the inner critic that calls you out on not being a good enough parent or spouse? Guilt-ridden decisions are devoid of clarity and lead to compassion fatigue because the greater good that they are based upon don’t include you. Compassion fatigue is physical and emotional exhaustion. A decrease in the ability to empathize and feel for others, usually the ones you care for the most. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The more you try to keep everyone happy and bend the rules as much as you can because you feel bad for your child given the circumstances, the more you feel like a contortionist until you can’t figure out how to get out of that bind. If this has been your experience, reach out. When we’re stuck in a box it’s hard to see outside of it all and find solutions to lead a better life that includes you in it.