Ugh, it’s so hard to shake, isn’t it?
As moms, we all struggle with feelings of guilt from time to time. Some more than others. But why is it so hard to get over?
I want to share with you some hard truths about mom guilt I think you should know. If you’re struggling with mom guilt and don’t know how to shake it off, keep reading.
But first, I want to share with you my personal struggle with guilt and I hope that you won’t feel so alone.
I work from home while taking care of my two boys and now homeschooling as well. My time has to be very well managed.
In a perfect world, I am able to effectively divide my time between work and home, meeting everyone’s needs including my own.
However, this rarely happens and sometimes it chews me up inside.
My youngest son needs my constant and undivided attention. My oldest who is special needs and homeschooling, is bored out of his mind and frequently needs my help to keep him on track.
All while trying to focus on work, planning the days meals and squeezing in my cleaning and self-care routine at the same time.
I know this is just not possible, I’m one person. But being the stubborn person that I am, I try anyway.
Unfortunately, after trying to juggle too much at once, my patience crumbles and my tolerance becomes limited. I get snappy, I raise my voice and I become inflexible.
All of this brings intense waves of guilt. I hate it.
Welcome to the world of motherhood. Mom guilt is par for the course.
Can you relate?
If you do, take a deep breath, and relax because you’re not alone.
I’m going to dive into 5 realities of mom guilt that every mom needs to know and ways to manage it, so it doesn’t consume your life.
1. It's normal and it will never go away.
Mom guilt is a normal part of motherhood. It doesn’t matter how confident and present you are as a mom, guilt will creep up on you.
There are many causes of mom guilt and the list is long.
Some examples of mom guilt include: Putting your child in daycare because you have to work, more screen-time than you want, you choose to bottle feed instead of breast feed, not spending more time with family, the home isn’t clean enough, etc. It goes on and on.
If you are a parent, you will have days that you are not meeting demands and that you feel you are failing. But that doesn’t mean that you are!
The first step to manage mom guilt is to accept that it is normal and when it shows itself, acknowledge it but don’t let it consume you.
Take a deep breath and divert your focus on your values and your goals. One thing at a time. Baby steps because you can’t do it all, all at once.
2.It can be both unproductive and productive.
Mom guilt can be a significant source of stress and a drain on your mental energy. If you let it, it will leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
The truth is guilt rarely leads to positive outcomes. Instead, it hinders your ability to be present and fully enjoy your motherhood journey. It’s also going to be much harder to solve a problem if you’re putting all your energy into beating yourself up.
On the flip side, mom guilt can be productive. It can sometimes prompt you to take action on a recurring problem. That is of course if you know how to channel it.
When mom guilt hits, stop and remind yourself that you are doing your best and to focus on what matters the most. It takes practice but learn to redirect your energy toward something more meaningful to you.
3. It's a sign you're not taking care of yourself.
One of the main causes of mom guilt is neglecting self-care. As mothers, we often prioritize the needs of our children and family over our own too frequently. It’s important to remember that when you don’t meet your basic needs, you will be running on an empty tank.
You cannot fulfill your job as a mom and meet your self-care needs on an empty tank. When you neglect your own well-being, daily functioning will be a struggle. When you’re not functioning at your best, it will affect your mindset and it will make you vulnerable to unnecessary mom guilt.
Taking the time to practice self-awareness will help you manage negative thoughts more effectively and keep guilt at bay.
4.It's a sign you need to make a change.
Surprisingly, mom guilt can be a blessing in disguise. Hear me out!
Whether mom guilt is coming from outside pressure, lack of self-care, or heavy workload, it can help you make changes to solve a problem.
I’ve noticed that when I’m running into a problem that frustrates me, but I don’t take any meaningful action towards solving it, negative self-talk begins, and it activates the mom guilt.
Now, when I start feeling guilty and start using the “I should…” language, I take that as my sign to make a change in my mindset and approach to the problem.
When something in your life isn’t aligned or working for you, don’t let guilt or negativity take hold. Divert your focus on a solution. This can be a fast way to remove yourself from the negativity of mom guilt which can be so unproductive and even damaging.
Identify the problem. Is it your workload, your relationships, or something else? Identifying the cause will empower you to make the necessary changes and reclaim more mental balance.
5.It's a sign you're doing too much.
This may not always be obvious to you. If you’re feeling mom guilt a lot, it’s likely you are already overwhelmed and are doing too much.
Moms often fall into the trap of trying to do it all and comparing themselves to other moms. This will leave you feeling inadequate. Know your limits and know when good enough is good enough.
Delegate tasks, seek support from your partner, family, or friends, and let go of the unrealistic expectations you place on yourself.
Don’t forget to set boundaries (with yourself and others). When asked to do something or when making a decision on what to put your focus on, it should count toward your values and goals.
Maybe you already know these truths about mom guilt, but you can’t seem to overcome it.
You are not a bad mom, and you are not failing. Always remember that.
It pains me to say, that mom guilt will never disappear. But when it does show itself, you now know what types of action to help you manage it.
Here’s your recap:
- Accept and acknowledge your mom guilt.
- Channel mom guilt productively.
- Prioritize self-care.
- Use mom guilt to solve a problem.
- Reduce your workload and set boundaries (with yourself and others).
If mom guilt is a non-stop battle, bookmark this page to read when you’re struggling with mom guilt and a reminder that it’s completely normal.
If it’s become too much of a burden for you to handle, consider speaking with a licensed mental health professional. Not all moms get the support they need and being able to talk to someone can help immensely.
Remember, all moms experience this. But don’t let it ruin your journey as a mom or hinder your goals.
In moments when guilt starts to creep in, take a pause and reflect on the bigger picture. You are doing more than you give yourself credit. Always show yourself some kindness and grace.