Give yourself a break (for everyone’s sake)!
Today we’d like to talk about “Mom guilt,” which is a very real thing only made worse by our always-on, social-media-obsessed culture. And it doesn’t matter if you work outside the home or not…the Mom-guilt monster can rear its ugly head at any time!
Maybe you feel guilty when you spend time with a friend, away from your child. Maybe you feel guilty when your kid misbehaves at school. Maybe you feel guilty because you had to miss a dance recital because of a work trip. Whatever the case, we know it’s a bummer—so we just want you to know we feel you, and we’re sharing a few of our own personal tips to help!
(1) Just remember, we are all trying our best out there!
Being a mom isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition; you’re not a “good mom” or a “bad mom.” So it all starts with how we speak to ourselves (and each other); we need to be kind. Obviously you want to be the best mom you can be, but we all make mistakes sometimes. And guilt is that little voice inside that pounces when we’re down. If you hear this voice saying, “I’m a bad mom,” shut it down. That kind of negative energy isn’t helpful to you or your children. Learn from any missteps and move on. (Oh, and give yourself a little credit when you go above and beyond, rocking your all-star mom skills!)
(2) Ask yourself -“What do I feel guilty about?”
And be very specific. If you think, “I feel guilty because I don’t spend enough time with my kids,” that’s not productive and doesn’t get you anywhere. BUT, if you think to yourself, “I feel guilty because I let my son play video games for three hours when I could have instead played catch outside with him,” this can be fixed. When you can pin-point guilt about a particular behavior, activity, or issue, you can take action if needed.
(3) Do you feel guilty because you truly think you are doing something wrong, or because you feel other people are judging you?
This is the real question! If you feel you should be doing something just because people around you (or on your Facebook feed) would judge you if you didn’t (hello, breast-feeding!), then stop right there and acknowledge that you need to do what is best for YOU and YOUR children. Every mom, every kid, and every family is different, and your friends and acquaintances (though they may mean well) aren’t living your life. Nine times out of ten, you know your own decisions regarding your children—which take into account a wide range of circumstances and reasons—are best.
(4) Don’t feel guilty for feeling guilty. Don’t feel guilty for not feeling guilty.
Being a mom isn’t a game you win or lose. Are we too strict with our kids, or not strict enough? Do we push them too much academically, or not enough? Do we let them eat candy, or should we never let them eat candy? Anything and everything can make us feel guilty if we let it. But, many times there is no “right” answer or “wrong” answer. And once we accept this reality, it frees us to move any feelings of guilt off of our shoulders. (But then don’t feel guilty for not feeling guilty!) Kids will always be kids, and moms will always be moms. Keep doing what you’re doing, give yourself permission to mess up sometimes, and strive to do the best you can! We’re right there with you!