The various sorts of parent guilt we experience and how to turn it into something useful!
Guilt as a mother. We can’t avoid it!
Perhaps you feel bad for not spending more time with each child one-on-one.
Perhaps you feel bad about returning to work after delivering a baby. Maybe you’re resentful of yourself for not returning to work! Maybe you’re feeling guilty as a mother for allowing your child to spend so much time in front of a screen.
The list goes on and on.
Much of the advice we receive suggests that we should endure, ignore, or even reject our mother’s guilt.
But what if motherhood guilt isn’t necessarily a negative thing? What if it turned out to be useful? What if it’s trying to communicate with us?
We’ll look at the different sorts of mom guilt and how to turn it into something positive in this piece.
What Is Mom Guilt
Whether you’ve never heard of mom guilt or can’t seem to shake it, it’s the constant sense that you’re not doing enough as a parent, that you’re not doing things correctly, or that you’re making decisions that will “mess up” your kids in the long run.
Mom (or dad) guilt may be fleeting, as I experienced this week when my kids watched too much Peppa Pig. It could also be a longer-term issue, such as whether we’ve enrolled them in enough activities throughout the years.
Some mothers feel a sense of dread or a weight on their shoulders, while others feel panicked as if they must solve the problem right away. Shoulds, ought to, and other moms are… clanking around in your head as you try to make it through the day.
How To Overcome Mom Guilt
1. Determine the root of your guilt
Investigate the true causes of your guilt, which may date back to your childhood. The severity of your mom guilt may be determined by one or more of the following factors:
- If you’re trying to enhance a parenting method that your parents didn’t perform effectively, or if you’re parenting a child with an obsessive-compulsive disorder or other mental health issues,
- if you’ve been through a traumatic experience in the past
- Try writing or jotting a quick note on your phone when you’re feeling pangs of parent guilt, and patterns may emerge over time.
Perhaps you’ve realized that the majority of your guilt stems from your participation in the following activities: It’s particularly noticeable when other parents talk about their children’s exploits. Perhaps the majority of it derives from your child’s eating habits or his or her relationship with school and studying.
It’s easy to keep an eye out for these triggers after you’ve identified the regions that are producing the discomfort. It’s also a wonderful place to start if you want to make a small shift rather than a whole lifestyle change.
2. Know Your Truth
After you’ve recognized your childhood triggers and upbringing, you can move on to discovering your own personal truth as a parent.
A mission statement is written by certain families. Others are simply aware of their core ideals. In any case, using this statement as a yardstick against which to make decisions is critical.
If having pleasure is more important at specific times, how much time they spend watching a fantastic movie or having free play may not be as vital. If you place high importance on sleep and wellness, you may want to limit your TV viewing time so that you may go to bed at 8 p.m. Whatever you value, recognizing it and sticking to it will help you feel less guilty as a mother.
3. Trust Your Intuition
Mother’s intuition isn’t a myth; it’s a powerful source of wisdom and decision-making power that we, and women throughout history, have relied on to keep our children safe and healthy.
When I can distinguish if my 1-year-old is sobbing because he’s cranky or because his leg is (deliberately) jammed through the crib slats again, I notice it. To become a better parent, I’ve been learning to hear, listen to, and trust that discriminating voice in my head.
Children are great sources of information for determining whether your decisions are functioning and where you should and shouldn’t feel bad. If your child begs you to construct a puzzle with them while you’re at work, you’re in trouble.
See also: 10 Simple Habits Of A Happy Mom
4. Encourage Other Moms
When it comes to mom guilt, where does it come from? Mothers of other children. Don’t be the parent at the park trying to persuade someone that pacifiers are the devil if you’re breastfeeding (hint: they aren’t), or that a child raised on a daily diet of gluten-free, dairy-free kale salads has more attention than one who eats ice cream and Doritos on occasion.
When you’re posting on social media, be wary of appearing to be bragging or pushing an agenda on other moms. We can eliminate mom guilt by encouraging one other to follow our own mom hearts rather than spreading it. (At the same time, if you have a proud mother moment, share it.)
See also: 16 Awesome Signs You’re A Great Mom
How To Use Mom Guilt
So, back to your guilt over missing your child’s soccer competition due to a business trip.
When you go home from your trip, you may schedule a time to focus on building a strong relationship with your child.
You can signal your brain what you want it to focus on by actively doing something (planning quality time with my child).
Concentrate on an advantage rather than the guilt.
You’re not only giving a good example of how to deal with bad emotions, but you’re also going above and beyond to ensure your relationship with your child is solid.
Do you see how the guilt has been transformed into something more useful… even lovely?
There is a small amount of maternal guilt that might be beneficial. If your child is eating nothing but junk all day, every day, and you have a sneaking suspicion or gut feeling that it isn’t the best decision, it’s worth paying attention to.
However, when mom guilt begins to influence a decision you previously believed to be proper — one that is based on what is best for your own child and family — it can be damaging.
Let’s imagine a working parent decides to formula-feed her baby from the start for several personal — and valid — reasons. Then a well-intentioned friend posts on social media about her special bond with her breastfeeding infant, complete with a list of the numerous physiological and emotional benefits of breastfeeding.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with discussing personal successes, and the friend in this scenario isn’t attempting to humiliate anyone.
However, posts like these can be discouraging if the working mom is already doing the best she can and is feeling regretful about her decision to formula feed.
If you’re experiencing these feelings, it’s conceivable that mom guilt is becoming a larger issue in your life that needs to be addressed.
Things You Should Not Feel Mom Guilt About
If you believe your children are obnoxious. Your children are obviously the cutest, kindest, and most loving people on the planet…except when they aren’t. And that’s fine! You don’t have to stare at them starry-eyed for the rest of the day. Kids can be annoying at times…and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. It’s quite acceptable to wish your child would stop asking why, over and over again.
Parenting boredom. Why isn’t there more discussion about how boring parenthood can be? Of course, it’s a lot of fun to play games with your kids and see them learn new abilities. But, every now and again, your child requests that you read Goodnight, Moon for the tenth time, and you find yourself a little…bored. It can be difficult to care for a child who is fully reliant on you but lacks social skills, especially when they are young. The sense of relief you receive when you finally get to have an adult talk is priceless!
Not breastfeeding, or not breastfeeding long enough, or not savouring each and every moment of breastfeeding. This is a difficult one, especially considering everyone has an opinion on how your child should be fed. Your mother-in-law advises that you breastfeed until your baby is 18 months old since she did it and her son is amazing! (But that’s a topic for another blog entry.) Your friend claims that nursing is torturous and that you should stop doing it as soon as possible – if you haven’t already started! Meanwhile, #breastisbest crusaders abound on the internet. The truth is, you must make the best decision for you and your child… You shouldn’t feel bad about it, either.
Asking for help. The truth about motherhood is that you’ll need some aid to get by. Don’t be shy about asking for help from your partner, a babysitter, a daycare, your mother, or any combination of the above. There is a limit to how much you can accomplish in a day. And overstretching yourself has negative consequences for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Plus, you’re deserving of some assistance. So take the time to ask for it, and tell guilt to get out of the way.
Returning to work…or not returning to work. How is it that you will feel guilty no matter what decision you make? You’ve probably heard it before: going back to work means missing out on important bonding time with your child. You’re also setting a negative example if you don’t return to work. You’re doing the best you can for your family, just like you are with every other decision you make. Make peace with it and let the guilt fade away.
Allowing your children to be bored. If you look at Instagram, you’ll notice that moms always have Pinterest-perfect crafts and activities ready for their kids. When your kids complain about being bored, it’s natural to feel guilty as a mother. What’s more, guess what? It’s fine if they’re bored! Toys, books, and imaginations are all available to them. It isn’t always your responsibility to entertain them… they can find it out on their own.
Being embarrassed by your kids. Your child will humiliate you, whether it’s your toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store or your preschooler telling their teacher about your tattoo that you hope no one ever sees. It’s unavoidable. It’s also nothing to be ashamed of! Remember, you’ll laugh about this in a few years!
Allowing kids to have extra screen time. Because all you need is ONE MOMENT to hear yourself think. Yes, keeping screen time to a minimum is desirable. On the other hand, on some days, that strategy must be abandoned.
Dealing With Mom Guilt Everyday Bottom Line
We might reach the end of parenthood and discover we’ve missed out on so many precious times fretting about what we’re doing wrong. We may come to regret not listening to other ladies and supporters who told us how well we were doing.
Most significantly, we may see how wonderful our children turned out and recognize that our guilt didn’t contribute one iota to the person we raised, but rather hampered our ability to enjoy the experience.
So love your kids on your terms, in the magnificent way we know you can, and don’t let what others do (or say) put a damper on your parenting fire.
See also: The Secret To Being A Calm Mom
Free Resource For You
I’ve created a free pdf just for you! If you are struggling with finding a routine, or need to create more intention in your mom life this pdf will help you.
This free pdf will help you:
- Set aside time to write down your thoughts
- Teach you how to be more intentional with your time
- Gives you 30 days of space to write in
All you have to do is download and print if you like.