There is nothing that cuts at my soul like mom guilt. I’m not sure if I can accurate explain the feeling so you could understand if you haven’t experienced it before. But mom guilt is the part of motherhood that at times literally hurt, it paralyzes me emotionally and makes me feel so darn heavy. I think the first time I experienced mom guilt was when we discovered my daughter had food allergies, she was allergic to four different foods at the time (thankfully she outgrew most of those) and I somehow felt like it was my fault. This is what I would do, I understood on a rational level that I’m doing my best and learning as I go but that never stopped me from beating myself up and being really hard on myself. I made a decision a few weeks ago, to figure out ways to fight mom guilt when those awful feelings overcome me. I’ve been experimenting with a few ways to deal with mom guilt and I wanted to share those that seem to make me feel better:
1. Non-negotiable Me Time
We spoke about Me Time back in January but I wanted to stress how important it really is for us to have time to just be ourselves and decompress. Although, this isn’t exactly directly related I experience more mommy guilt when I don’t spend time doing things for me.
2.Accept your strengths and weaknesses
There isn’t a perfect mother, there is no mother who can do every single thing flawlessly. Even former FLOTUS Michelle Obama shared that she’s dealt with mom guilt as a working mom. No mom is immune so just do your best where you can.
3.Look at the big picture
Don’t feel guilty that you sometimes have long work days or to travel for work. We all need to take care of our children, so don’t feel bad about leaving them to work. Focus on the fact that by going to work, you’re providing for them. I remember taking two back to back trips last year to conferences and my children missing me really badly. But everything I did was to make our family goals happen and knowing that makes me feel better about being away from them.
4.Talk to your kids
My daughter is such a smart and intuitive 6-year-old. I like to talk to her about where I felt like I fell short as a mom and she would actually give me a little feedback. I’ve even apologized to her when I felt like I was indeed wrong. I know there are many parents who would feel like this is a sign of weakness but for me, it’s important that my children see that I am human. I’ve also noticed that my daughter is more comfortable apologizing as well since I started doing this.
I usually go to my friends when I am overcome with mom guilt to talk about how I feel. Women understand these feelings much better in my opinion, especially fellow moms. If you don’t have any personal friends, look for a Facebook mom group where you can feel safe to talk about those feelings.
6. Don’t Judge Moms (including yourself)
Unfortunately, motherhood seems to make us all target for judgment.We’re judged from the minute we give birth, about everything from the size of our baby, to how we feed our baby, to how our baby sleeps and it just goes on and on. But that doesn’t mean that we have to indulge in judging. I know it’s really easy to look at what other moms are doing especially when it’s different to us but let’s do that with compassion. The less I judged myself and other moms the less mom guilt I’ve experienced.
7. Enjoy your children
At the end of the day, your kids aren’t going to remember that they had takeout for almost an entire week when you were too busy to cook or that they missed a music lesson because you got sick and couldn’t take them. Let’s stop feeling guilt about these things because they’re going to remember the good times that you had together. So when you’re experiencing mom guilt get down and play with your children. Fight the awful mommy guilt feeling by enjoying them.
How do you deal with mom guilt?