Once you become a parent, you learn that a little guilt comes with it! Getting over mom guilt is important in order to live your life, and these tips can help any parent.
Congrats, you’re a mama! In addition to every other parenting hurdle, you’re now going to face mom guilt. You will begin to blame yourself for every bad thing that happens to this little human from now on…great. It’s normal to question your parenting decisions, but feeling guilty about them shouldn’t hold you down. Getting over mom guilt means reminding yourself that failure is OK. Moms are people too! Fiona, the founder of Posh Peanut, has a few tidbits of advice from a mother and business owner to help moms of all types accept that mom guilt is normal and it does not have to rule your life. You are a great mother, and your child adores you. Trust us.
What is Mom Guilt?
Ever feel anxious or guilty about the things you let your children do? That’s mom guilt. Do you tell yourself you’re a bad mom for a decision you made? That’s mom guilt too. Mom guilt is a psychological reaction to the pressures society puts on women and the corresponding pressure we put on ourselves. Raising decent humans is a lot of pressure, OK?! For many parents – of course dads can experience this too – shame of a behavior turns into “mom guilt” that leads you to feel like a bad parent. In reality, every parent feels this way sometimes. Every time you say “no” to your kids, there’s a voice in your head saying you’re too hard on them. Getting over mom guilt is no easy process, and it’s particularly common for women who work outside of the home to feel guilty for leaving their child, but you should never feel shame for it.
Mom guilt shows itself in a lot of ways. Some parents experience depression or anxiety with negative thoughts about their parenting skills, but others can go so far as to develop addictive behaviors like drinking or drug use to cope. Because we are overwhelmed with beautiful family photos on our social media feeds, mothers aspire to show that they, too, are a “good” mother through consistent social media use or overscheduling themselves to constantly DO more. Being a mom is both the best and the worst job in the world, and getting over mom guilt starts with acceptance.
Advice for Getting Over Mom Guilt
Accept Imperfections: It’s OK if you feel guilty sometimes about your choices and actions as a parent. Truly, everyone does! Start by accepting that you are not perfect. Absolutely no one is perfect. Your mom felt this way, and her mom felt this way and your kids will one day feel this way too. Accepting your imperfections is the first step to getting over your mom guilt so that it doesn’t eat you alive.
Trust Yourself: You make your choices for a reason. Trust that you know what you’re doing! After all, worrying about everything won’t solve anything. Focus on actions that you think will help your kids and learn to ignore feelings of doubt. Trust that you’re doing a good job because YOU ARE. In a way, feeling guilty about your parenting just shows how much you care about your kids.
Change your Thought Process: When mom guilt creeps in, ask yourself “why am I feeling like that?” and you’ll find that many thoughts are your brain overreacting and spiraling for no reason other than anxiety. Rework those thoughts to say why you’re actually a better mom for doing that. By focusing on what you are contributing to your family and your children’s wellbeing, you can start to tune out mom guilt.
Ask for Help: It’s OK to ask for a break! We often try to do everything (sometimes overcompensating for our guilt) and we simply can’t. Let your friends and family support you on days when that voice won’t stop nagging you. Getting a few hours to yourself can be the best medicine sometimes.
Truthfully, you don’t always have to ignore the voice in your head. Let it make you a better parent, but don’t let it run your life. You are an amazing mother and parent.
Do you have any other tips for getting over mom guilt? Have you experienced parental guilt?