Cheer Here #4: You Are Responsible But Not To Blame

We are currently living in a multi-generational home. My husband and I lived the navy life for 7 years. But last year, we decided we’d spent enough time far from family – over a decade!

So, in February, he separated from active duty service and joined the Navy Reserves. Home we came and into my in-law’s house. At first, we were just waiting for a job, but with their blessing, we decided to start Marabou to provide postpartum support to moms after childbirth.

Multi-generational living is awesome. My in-laws get to see their grandkids every day and foster relationship with them. We share responsibilities: meal preparation, yard work, etc., and these previously overwhelming tasks are now balanced and easy. There are extra eyes and hands in the house. It’s easy!

But, things still get tricky here and there! And it’s made me realize something about motherhood.

Children are children. They are rambunctious and bouncy and loud and don’t naturally understand social norms. At first, it was hard for me to not assume fault for everything my kids did. I still struggle with this:

They woke someone up early on a Saturday. Ack!

They dug holes in the yard. UGH.

They make messes and now we have ants. Noooo!

My husband told me to not blame myself as long as I did my best (which made me question: was I really?). But, I still felt something – mom angst! – every time there was an incident involving my kids. I finally realized what it was:


The captain of a ship is ultimately responsible for his ship. Out at sea, if there’s an incident that happens, the captain is the one who takes the heat, whether he was there or not. This scandalized me at first. I remember hearing of one such case where a captain was fired and he wasn’t even awake during the incident! I said to my husband: But, he wasn’t even there.

Being a captain is a terrible honor, but I realized it’s the same thing with motherhood: we are responsible for our children, but we cannot be blamed for everything they do. It’s impossible to watch and preempt their every move. Nor is it good for them (or us!). We can only do our best, train them wisely, and prepare to take responsibility when it’s due.

This sounds intense and scary. But it’s also freeing. It allows us moms to stop blaming ourselves (finally!) for what our kids do. It’s not your fault! Kids are still learning about life and they are going to make mistakes. You are allowed to stop feeling guilty for those mistakes. Sure, the buck falls to you. But, I’m here to tell you you’re a good mother regardless of the liability your children drag you into. You haven’t done anything wrong. Do your best and forget the rest.

You are the captain of this ship, mama. Yes, you are responsible. And yes, you do need to fight the continuous battle of training your children to be good humans. But, let yourself be free of guilt for things you have little control over. Still: you are rocking it.

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