I've never been analyzed by a professional, although the MOG casts doubt on my sanity on a regular basis. "You're acting NUTS!", he says. "Well, you're MEAN." I counter. Jess: 1, MOG: 0.
But this guilt complex, it's exacerbated by motherhood. Motherhood is 40% guilt. (I made up that statistic.) It starts when you're expecting, with the caffeine and the horseback riding or what have you, and then it escalates, because you are hormonal and neurotic, whether or not your children came to you via old-fashioned methods or through copious amounts of paperwork. It becomes clear to you very quickly that you are walking on a thin line of totally screwing up your kids and someday, they will tell a therapist that you did, or did not, feed them chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs. Either way, the excess or lack of dino chicken nuggets will be the reason that they are super, super messed up. And you know that.
And you have to think about these things, all the time. You take a stand, for whatever, and inside your head, you are thinking, "Man, I hope I got that right...". They sense your weakness. You are guilt-stricken for being weak. You become stern, putting your foot down. You are guilt-stricken for being too hard on them. It takes a lot of work, ignoring it. Sure, we put on a brave face for the newer humans, but in our vulnerable moments, sitting with our equally exhausted friends at the sticky PlayLand table at McDonald's, we say, "Maybe I should start cooking. Or something. Maybe I should find their toothbrushes, and teach them how to use a fork." You and your friends sit for a moment, uncomfortable in the reality that we are doing it all wrong.
And then you forget about it, and you do what you know to do. I take some perverted comfort in the thought that children who have been given a far more posh or organic or nurturing or structured experience than mine probably still paint with feces on occasion, and some day, they will think their parents did it all wrong, too.