Guilt - What if you DID NOT do the best you could?
Okay, I need honest and uncensored advice.
Many people say "as long as you did the best you could, don't blame yourself"... Well, I have three sons ( 20 - 17 - 8) I am doing everything I know to make sure my 8 year old son is happy and will become a strong and capable man.
I was divorced when my two older boys were 8 and 4. The dad took no responsibility for the boys and I was left to do things on my own physically and financially. I got a full time job and worked to provide food shelter and clothing. However, I DID NOT DO THE BEST I COULD.
I was very resentful because I was left to raise them alone. I also focused a lot on how unhappy, poor, lonely or tired I was; I felt sorry for myself. Consequently, I was not as good a mother as I could have been. My middle son presented so many challenges from the start and I was angry at him, his dad and God. He got alot of spankings (paddle on the butt as many times as his age) and I often told the boys to play in their room with each other or play outside with friends.
The question is this: Do I forgive myself for that now? I was selfish and wrong and my middle son is still VERY disruptive. I find myself giving him more grace than anyone advises me to because I feel like it is my fault he is so bad. Many people say "you did the best you could" but the truth is, I really didn't.
I am a much better mommy to my 8 year old son. I was 30 when he was born and I learned so much from the first two boys. I am doing the best I can now with him and the other boys. My 17 year old is hurting our family and disrespecting our home. He is a BAD BAD BAD example for my 8 year old. Do I deserve to forgive myself for not encouraging him as much as I should have? He was nearly 11 when I really started to get my act together.
I give him chance after chance after chance because I feel responsible for the way he turned out. ANY ADVICE IS APPRECIATED!!