Figuring out how to deal with mom guilt is a battle that many, if not every mom, has to fight. It’s important that no mom ever feels alone in their struggle with mom guilt and that moms come together to support each other.
This post is all about how to deal with mom guilt and build a community of moms so that no mom ever feels alone in it.
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How to Deal with Mom Guilt
What is mom guilt?
Mom guilt is a combination of self-doubt, anxiety, shame, inadequacy and even confusion surrounding your own parenting choices. With so many varying opinions on how to handle screen time, education, religion, play time, clothes, vaccines, working vs. not working, and more it’s no wonder moms are left to question their decisions.
We look at the supposedly perfect moms on social media and we scour the internet to try to make sure we are doing the right thing. So whether you struggle with stay at home mom guilt, working mom guilt, mom guilt for going out with friends, or your feeling guilty about parenting mistakes, in the end mom guilt comes from a place of wanting to do the very best for our kids. While of course that isn’t a bad thing, mom guilt is something that we need to be aware of and talk about together with other moms. Otherwise, it can begin to consume us mentally and emotionally.
Is mom guilt normal?
Every mom friend I’ve ever known has had struggles with mom guilt in some aspect(s) of their parenting. However, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to just ignore it! Mom guilt can have a drastic impact on a mother’s well-being if it is not dealt with and talked about. Start by determining what is causing mom guilt for you personally.
What causes mom guilt?
Society has lots of expectations for moms. We feel the pressure to stay at home, make every meal from scratch, have the perfect routine, have discipline down to a science, get our kids outside for hours a day, limit screen-time, have every activity be educational, and the list goes on. But every situation is different and every kid is different. There isn’t a cookie cutter method to motherhood.
Moms have a TON of responsibilities every day. Amongst the cooking, cleaning, play dates, and errands, we also want to spend time with our kids as much as we can. This is an especially large source of mom guilt for working moms and work from home moms. Every mom has many responsibilities to fulfill and unfortunately our kids have a hard time understanding that, as much as we may try to explain.
But all that work you are doing is necessary to provide for your family and there is nothing to be ashamed about for that. Some days it’s good to let the house be messy and just play but other times you can’t and that’s okay. It’s not only okay, but it’s good to encourage your kids to play alone sometimes.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy. Comparing your mothering to someone else’s will either make you feel inferior to them or superior. Neither is good or healthy. So start comparing yourself to the mother you were yesterday and start making small steps forward to become the best mom you can be. Don’t comparing yourself to your friends or the moms you follow on social media. If you really struggle with comparison, unfollow the supposedly perfect moms or take a break from social media all together.
With each new stage of motherhood, we bring our own personal expectations with us. We expect to be the perfect mom to our babies, toddlers, and teens. But the problem is, you can’t know what that stage is like until you are in it with your child. Plus, every child is different. While I expected to have my six month old sleeping through the night by now like my son did, she just isn’t. She still wakes up multiple times a night and her timeline is different than I expected.
So be careful to set goals, not expectations. Goals are something to strive for and work towards. Expectations are assumptions of the situation. Every kid is different, every family is different, and every day will be different. As a parent, you can’t go into parenting and even a single day with expectations. Set goals but be flexible to adjust as you need to. (because you probably will need to)
It’s not uncommon for your own family or your in-laws to try to tell you how to parent. While many times they could be trying to help, it often comes across to moms as though they are doing something wrong. So, while it may be awkward, have a conversation with your family and ask them to stay out of parenting matters.
We Love Our Kids
As a mom, I would do anything to protect my kids. Mama bear doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel when someone disrespects or hurts my kids. However, we often turn that same aggression onto ourselves and become hyper critical of every parenting choice we make. Remember to give yourself a little bit of grace. Nobody can be a perfect parent.
How to deal with mom guilt
Challenge Unrealistic Expectations
One of the best ways to challenge your own expectations for yourself is to write them down. Some days I enter into the day with an unrealistically long list of expectations in my head. But the days that I write out a to-do list or a schedule for myself, I am far more realistic on what I can accomplish.
Same goes for any expectations you have surrounding parenting. Step back and write down all the bars you’ve set for yourself and you’ll quickly realize why you are so overwhelmed. Once you write them down, adjust them accordingly and make sure that you are realistic with yourself.
Talk with Other Moms
One of the best ways to challenge mom guilt is to talk about your struggles with other moms. You’ll quickly realize that nobody has it all together, even if it appears that way sometimes. Talk about the battles you have surrounding your kids’ sleep cause I’m SURE they have similar struggles. Talk about the guilt of taking time for yourself. Talk about the struggle to make good food at every meal. You are not alone in your struggles.
Try Scheduling Your Day
Scheduling is a great way to deal with mom guilt surrounding balancing responsibilities. Scheduling my day lets me set realistic goals for the day and also prioritize the things that are important to me. For me personally, one of my largest sources of mom guilt is needing to do household chores when my toddler is asking me to play with him. However, when I plan my day out ahead of time I can set aside time at the beginning of the day to play with my toddler. This way, he knows he will get his time and I know that I will have time later to get things done.
Don’t Be Afraid to Admit Mistakes
Mom guilt largely stems from a massive fear of messing up our kids. But mistakes quite frankly are a part of parenting. Plus, showing our kids how to admit when they make mistakes is a powerful life lesson.
Make Time for You
If you struggle with mom guilt, the thought of taking time to yourself may stress you out. But it’s important that every mom finds time to take care of themselves first. Your patience, your discipline, your creativity, and your enthusiasm with your kids will suffer when you don’t carve out time to go do something you love. Even if it’s just a half hour bubble bath with a glass of wine, it will make a difference.
Seek help if needed
For some moms, mom guilt can contribute to depression and it starts to affect their daily life. So don’t be afraid to talk to a mental health professional about it if it begins to consume your mind. Overcoming mom guilt is an all too common battle and it is nothing to feel ashamed about.
This post was all about how to deal with mom guilt and start supporting your fellow mom friends who might be struggling with it as well. We all need to stop pretending we are the perfect mom and start supporting each other in the beautiful chaos that is motherhood.
-Beautifully Busy Mom