I am literally sitting in the dentist’s office right now writing this as I watch Kaitlyn get a filling in her tooth. I’m feeling the mom guilt right now. I only wish I could say that this was our first time here to get a filling done. I wish I could say that none of my other kids have ever had to get fillings. I wish I could blame it on genetically soft teeth or diabetes or anything else … except the fact that we haven’t been really good at flossing teeth.
In fact, every six months we go to our regular checkups, and I parade all my children through the dentist’s office and wait for the report. I dread hearing what the dentist will say! At best, it’s “Good job brushing. Their teeth look really good, but keep working on that flossing!” At worst, it’s hearing that one of the kids has a cavity. Ugh … One more reason to feel guilty as a mom.
One thing I know for sure is that moms are professionals at feeling guilty. Not a day goes by that we don’t feel guilty about something. Like not getting all five mouths flossed every day. Not having enough vegetables at every meal. Allowing the kids too much screen time and not drilling them on their math facts and spelling words as much as I should. Extracurricular activities — are we doing too much, or am I not giving them enough opportunities to let them build their talents?
Diabetes brings on a new dimension of mom guilt. Am I keeping the numbers in range? How are her A1Cs? Am I changing her sites as often as I should? Are we making routine adjustments in basal rates and carb ratios as often as we should? Is she eating the right things? Am I teaching her enough or too much all at once? Am I scarring her emotionally?
If I’m not careful and don’t remember to have a healthy perspective, I can fall into the deep pit of guilt and depression — a pit that doesn’t seem to have a bottom. It just keeps going!
Let’s face it: We can’t do everything. I know what you’re thinking … you’ve seen those moms too! The ones who seem to have everything totally together all the time — house immaculate, kids dressed and pressed to perfection, organized and accomplished in every way. It’s simply not possible. Although they may seem perfect on the outside, even those moms are missing something. This life is all about trade-offs, and we get to choose where we spend our precious time and energy.
So give yourself a present this holiday season: Put a lid on that guilt pit and focus on all the things you’re doing right. Like fitness expert Tony Horton always says, “Do your best and forget the rest.” It’s a perfect time of year to remember the blessings and the successes we experience every day. I’m going to try to do the same — at least for today. I choose not to focus on the cavity or any of the other thousands of areas I have to improve. Today I’ll remember that my kids are loved! I put my life into taking care of these kids, and that is enough!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.