Mother’s Day: 24 Hours of Celebration or Guilt?

Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus

Mother’s Day. It’s a holiday that should make me feel loved, but I always find it a smidge awkward. Whether living with an illness or not, we mothers (including me) are sometimes experts at finding our faults. We have an uncanny ability to magnify even the tiniest of flaws. Add a disease with a hereditary component to it, and oh, we’re wading thigh-high in guilt.

Personally, I overanalyze. I think about something I did to help my two children or husband, and question if I should have done it differently or could have done it better. Although we all run into tragic and painful moments throughout our lives, imagine if we put more of our energy into celebrating being mothers and feeling pride in our roles instead of extending what feels like a sometimes never-ending guilt trip?

It is often said that moms who work feel guilty. As a working mom living with MS, I often feel like I work two jobs. Both my career and my MS take me away from my family, and both leave me feeling an unshakable guilt. I feel uneasy with the isolation I experience from my “two jobs,” however, I have found that this little bit of guilt is not always a bad thing.

Using Motherly Guilt to My Advantage

Although it doesn’t always feel great, guilt can be a positive emotion. It makes us more aware of our relationships and our accountability to them. I use my guilt as a motivator to strengthen my relationship with my children. I’ve learned that I can’t control the fact that I have MS, but I can control some of the impact it has on my kids. Guilt doesn’t need to leave you isolated – instead, it can be the catalysts toward improving the relationships with those you love the most.

Embracing Mother’s Day…Guilt and All

If you’re like me and feel guilty on what should be one of the happiest days of a mother’s year, embrace this day with all your might. Instead of using it as a day to celebrate me, I offer it as a gift to my children. I won’t accept gifts for Mother’s Day, but I always spend time that day making memories with my kids in whatever way I can. Even if every part of me wants to stay curled up under the covers, I make sure I get up, get out, and do something special with my boys, just for them.

Should I feel guilty on Mother’s Day for having MS? Of course not. Do I? Of course. I feel it all of the time. But can I turn this day into a gift for my kids? Yes.

So if you are like me, let yourself feel it, and then let yourself use it for good. Turning Mother’s Day into Celebrate My Kids Day, well, hopefully that is what they will remember most.

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