Our grandmothers didn’t suffer from Mommy Guilt. These liberal ideas about children’s rights and child psychology are not a part of our ancient history.
Our grand dads had no such complexes either. In my dad’s time it was perfectly normal to beat children and lock them up in dark rooms without dinner. Mothers beat them too, sometimes simply because they needed to vent.
Parenting was about sacrifices then – give birth, keep nine months in the womb, feed mother’s milk, plan their future, always want the best for them.
In return they wanted only that you do as you were told.
The guilt belonged to the child not the parents.
Raja Harishchandra sold his son as a slave, a teenaged Kunti was given the responsibility of taking care of Durvasa known for his temper. No over protection in those days.
In more recent times Rani Laxmibai was married at 9, to a 45 year old King. Childhood didn’t matter then.
We sent child widows to vidhva ashrams. We gave girl children up as devdasis.
These were the norms then. Parenting was easier before Mommy-Guilt. Even in the west.
One of my maids told me her mother had sent her away to be adopted by a couple who agreed to pay for her – but she cried so much she had to be brought back. Who felt guilty? The inconvenient child.
We haven’t changed much, but now modern ideas of child rights, control our expectations from our children. Like one hears, “If it goes on like this, we will find children calling 911 every time we raise our hands on them.”
Before Mommy-Guilt mothers left babies in cradles hanging from a tree and worked in fields, fetched water etc – if the baby cried an older sibling took care (still does). Children worked in the fields too. Babies fell in wells and ponds. (still do). Richer babies had nannies and nurse maids while mothers took care of whatever was their priority. No momma-guilt.
Then women became westernized, started earning and becoming selfish. Children started being neglected. Mothers (and fathers also) started wondering if they were doing the right thing. And thus was born, Mommy Guilt!
It isn’t such a bad thing though… read all about it here 🙂