The Bride wanted to know if this malaise (of mommy guilt) affected moms in a different generation from hers. I'd say that it was endemic!
The first time you accidentally poke your poor baby with a nappy pin, you die of guilt. (The fact that the said baby was wriggling away to high heaven is completely besides the point). The baby who was safely immobile, suddenly rolls over and lands on the floor, screaming. The infant who tumbles out of your arms and falls, and throws up........ remembering all this will induce guilty nightmares, I think.
Then the years of school, and homework, and unwilling to do the said homework children and your reaction to them. Smacking your kid because he/she didn't lay out his school uniform the night before and is now hysterical because the wretched school tie can't be found in the morning rush.........
The scared faces of your kids when you and the spouse are engaged in a gargantuan fight. You wonder how deeply you are scarring them, but the battle continues....
It goes on. The reasons for the guilt may change, but the guilt remains. With grown up kids, again, you can feel guilty about practically anything.
The SRE and I had gone to Bhutan last July. Our tickets were booked, and we were leaving early on a Monday morning. The youngest kid was home from college that weekend, and I also had a house guest whom I had to entertain. The son was not too well on Saturday evening, and on Sunday morning was running a high temperature. Our doctor was consulted and medicines were started. Our guest was sent to the airport with the driver. We seriously contemplated cancelling our trip, but were duly scolded by the unwell son. We thought we could drop him to the hostel on our way to the airport, but we had a very early flight, so that didn't make sense either. My trusted maid works only part time, but she promised to look after him and feed him, and said she was just a phone call away, if he needed anything after she had left.
The driver was also given a shopping list of soups and fruit to buy for the invalid. I knew that the boy would be miserable all alone and ill, but he insisted that he would be alright and that we had better go as scheduled.
We called him as soon as we landed at Paro, we called him from Thimphu. I'm sure we were calling him with irritating frequency. We were pretty miserable holiday makers ourselves until we spoke to him on Tuesday afternoon- he was much better and was back in the hostel. (Afterwards he did acknowledge that being all alone and ill was no fun at all).
Talk about a guilt trip.
I don't think you can ever be immune to mommy guilt, even when your kids are adults, leading there own lives, running their own establishments. If you are aware of anything wrong in your child's life, it's probably your fault anyway!