Dealing with mom guilt is not a joke. I believe mom guilt is something that new moms and “pro” moms deal with. Personally, I have been dealing with a lot of mom guilt recently. I turned to research. While researching, I realized I am not alone. I felt the need to share what I learned, and what personally helps me, to help out my fellow Mamas.
“No more martyring myself.” -Sharon E. Rainey
“Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”-Nathaniel Branden
“Self-care is how you take your power back.” -Lalah Delia
Dealing With Mom Guilt- 7 Tips to Ease the Burden
1. Evaluate what you are doing.
Take a step back and decide if what you are doing is, for lack of a better word, wrong? This can be tricky because we all have different ideas of what is “wrong.” Did you stay on the phone longer than normal, when your little one was begging for your love? Did you choose to watch the last 15 minutes of a TV show because you needed a break, instead of sitting with your oldest while he ate a snack and talked about his day?
All those things can make the mom guilt rear its ugly head, but is this something you do all the time? That is what I try to remind myself. I’m usually never on my phone and I never get to finish that TV show that I started before naptime, so if I need a day to vent on the phone or find out who got the final rose then it is ok to choose myself first from time to time.
The analogy that I have heard used very often is the oxygen masks on a plane. If you don’t take your mask first, you won’t be conscious to help your children or the people sitting next to you. Self-care is very important for moms. You can read my post about self-care tips for moms here.
2. Create space between people that cause you to feel mom guilt.
Are there certain people that tend to stir up the mom guilt in you? Personal boundaries are very important to your mental health. I had to deal with this head-on last year. When my anxiety and panic attacks became so bad I had to realize that some people are not good for me to be around.
If these “trigger people” happen to be family members it can be more difficult. You might not have the choice to completely cut these people out of your life. If you are around someone that makes a snarky remark, then just leave the room and allow yourself time to calm down. This is so much better than throwing a glass of water in their face. Just saying.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
– Jack Kornfield
3. Connect with your children.
I read a really great article that pinpointed where a lot of mom guilt can stem from. You can read that article here. Basically, if you don’t feel like you are connected to your children it can make you feel like a bad mom, creating a cycle of mom guilt. The mom who wrote this article shared her 4 ways to reconnect:
- Connect with statements, not questions.
- Put the phone down.
- Have regular individual time
- Make time for yourself too.
Which leads me to my next tip.
4. Take a day and spend fun, quality time with your children.
Do something different. Adults don’t like being stuck in a rut, and neither do children. Take a day and switch it up. If you are a stay at home mom and you usually just stay at home all day, then do something else. Go to the park, the movies, the arcade, take a day trip to a museum, etc… This will feel like a treat to your children and it will be good quality time that can help you reconnect with your kids.
5. Schedule your time.
This one is huge for me and a really big help when it comes to dealing with mom guilt. It is so important to get your schedule/calendar running like clockwork. I schedule everything, even the little things. It helps me feel more productive. For example, my son and I started playing a game together on the Wii. I schedule 30 minutes a day to play with him on this game. He is so excited to get that one on one time with me and loves that we have almost beat the game. He can’t believe his mama is a “gamer.” Hahaha. At least he thinks I am cool, right?
6. Resolve to let things go and don’t get caught up in “what ifs.”
I have chosen to pick my battles. I don’t always fix my son’s hair before school, sometimes he wears mismatched socks, and sometimes I don’t brush his teeth in the morning (oh, the horror, I know!) However, I can’t get caught up in this. I can’t look at this as failures or the guilt will eat me alive. While I might choose to have him look “perfect” each day for school or have a house that is always ready for guests to stop by at any moment, the reality is I can’t do it all.
Don’t get caught up in the “what ifs.” Working moms and stay at home moms will all experience mom guilt. If you are a working mom you might feel guilty for not being home enough or missing out on some activities. If you are a stay at home mom you might feel guilty for not bringing in a paycheck that could help you buy those shoes that “Johnny” needs for basketball this season.
7. Realize this won’t last forever.
Life changes quickly. I know it might sound funny and maybe you have heard it a million times, but you will miss these days. Dealing with mom guilt might be something that you have to learn to handle, but it is so worth every crazy tear-filled, sleepless night that you might spend worrying about your children. To be completely honest, the fact that you worry about messing up your children or if you are being the best mom shows that you are a great mom. In conclusion, basically, try to enjoy every crazy, exhausting, stressful, funny, sticky moment that life as a mom brings.
Dealing with mom guilt can feel very overwhelming, but you can learn to work through it. Take time to find what works for you. Keep in mind that what works for other moms might not work for you, but don’t give up. You deserve a peace of mind and comfort in knowing that you are a good mom, with some tough days, but you are doing your best and those little ones (and big ones) love you very much.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -Isaiah 40:31