I’m going to skip a long intro, you’re here because you want to know how to get past mom guilt once and for all. So let’s begin.
What is mom guilt?
Mom guilt is an emotion that arises from a thought process (as most emotions do) telling us that we’re not meeting our expectations, we’re not doing a good job or we’re just not getting it right.
Where does it comes from?
it usually comes from expectations and preconceptions we’ve either made ourselves or others expect from us.
These feelings stem from way back when we were small and the influence our parents, carers or friends had on us.
When we’re children we don’t know how to decipher easily the opinions of others and we take a lot of what is told to us as truth – meaning if someone punishes us or treats us in a certain way as a result of our behaviour, we will hold a lasting impression in our brain.
Children that are often made to feel guilty will grow into adults that feel like they have caused harm to others when they haven’t, constantly feel the need to apologize and feeling inadequate.
Throw this into the vulnerable journey of re-self discovery that is motherhood and you’ve got the perfect recipe for mom guilt.
How does guilt affect us?
Guilt, if not dealt with can seem like it eats us a little inside, feeling like a knot in your tummy.
It consumes you, makes it harder to think clearly and prevents you from letting go and enjoying life – and your children.
Not to mention having physical by-effects eventually, as everything we leave untreated emotionally takes its toll on the body.
So what can we do for it?
5 remedies for mom guilt
1) Identify the cause
The first step you’ve got to take if you want to not only recover from mom guilt but prevent it from coming back long-term, is to get clear.
Get your journal out, or if you don’t have one already, now’s the time to make a little investment in yourself!
Write down the moments when you start feeling guilty and why. Next, write down the expectations you had of motherhood and as your role as a mother.
Perhaps you saw yourself socializing much more than you do, making nutritious meals every day or bonding straight away with your baby.
Maybe it was thinking you could continue a lot of things you did before becoming a mom, so you feel guilty because you can’t keep up with what you want to do.
Whatever it was you imagined, it’s time to analyze these and change them to realistic expectations.
The more precise you can be, the more you’ll get out of this exercise.
2) Give yourself some love
If you can get in some alone time every day then that’s great, but we’ll touch upon that later.
As there won’t always be an opportunity for alone time when you want it, it’s essential to learn to recompose yourself even when you’re with your kids.
Avoid escalating to a state in which you need an escape from them, as you’ll likely feel guilty for having shouted, lost your patience, etc.
The more you can find calm amongst the chaos, the more positive outlook you’ll have to your response to parenting.
I will be writing a post soon on how to keep calm when you feel overwhelmed by your kids, so look out for that.
3) Drop the comparison
So I think it’s completely normal for us to compare – it’s part of human nature.
That said, we now know that entering in comparison mode does us no good and makes us feel worse about our own life and skills as a mother.
As I pointed it out, it’s normal or us to compare – so let’s change HOW we do so, to cope with comparison when it does come around.
For example, admire rather than judge, be proud of someone rather than feel jealous.
Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and ask if you’re feeling down, that he/she gives you a reminder that you’re a great mom.
Equally, it can be friends or family – someone you feel close to.
The thing is, we often assume that women know they’re doing amazing but even people who seemingly have it all together struggle with self-doubt.
Don’t be afraid to let another mom know she’s great too!
4) Spend quality time with kids
If one of the things you’re feeling guilty about is not spending enough time with your children due to work, household chores or other obligations, enjoy the time you DO have together.
Children, in my opinion, don’t need your attention all day long, they just need you for snippets of time – and the more present you are during these times, the more satisfied they’ll be.
When they feel loved, safe and heard by you, they will naturally become more independent.
Talk to your kids, explain that you feel sad sometimes because you miss them and ask them what they’d like to do with you during ‘mummy time’.
Here are some quick ideas:
- Going for a walk
- Baking a cake
- Helping you tidy
- Play ball
- Watch a movie
- Cuddle on the sofa
- Go for a milkshake
- Play hide and seek
- Dance to fave music
- Sing or play an instrument
- Read together
- Build a Jenga Tower
- Make a den
There are lots of ideas already, you will choose what is the most age-appropriate for your child.
If they’re stuck for ideas – show them this list! Sometimes they want to spend time with you, but don’t know how.
By being with them and listening to their needs, mom guilt will slowly fade away.
5) Adopt a self care routine
Now I know this term ‘self-care’ is a craze at the moment, but let’s come back to the essential meaning:
Self care, really, is about taking care of you, instead of putting yourself last.
Mothers tend to be natural leaders of the family, we take the emotional toil of everyone’s good and bad days and provide support.
But it’s absolutely vital that we think of ourselves first, to be able to give the other family members what they need.
Taking care of yourself does not mean luxurious spa days, going on shopping sprees and those kind of things.
Not that there is anything wrong with indulging once in a while, but basic self-care means how you treat and show up for yourself every day. Instead it can look like:
- Listening to your body’s needs
- Carving out time for you
- Meditating to gather your thoughts
- Creating a routine that adapts to you and children
- Knowing and respecting your limits
- Keeping your friendships going – even if by text
I once read that instead of doing lots of ‘self-care’ activities, you should create a life you don’t want to escape from.
While it’s not always possible to love every aspect of your life, try to really enjoy what you do.