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Mommy guilt. I think we’ve all had it. Especially all of us working moms out there. I had to return to work when both of my boys were little, which is why I have made this list of tips for Overcoming Mom guilt.
I was so torn up inside, I felt so guilty having to go back to work when they were so little but financially I had no choice.
I have had to fight feeling guilty for not spending enough time with my boys, for feeling like I was missing out on all of their important milestones. And, since my son started preschool I have felt guilty for having to miss out on various school events and activities.
I have felt like the worst mother in the world. However, I know I am not alone.
Many of us mamas go back to work, either because we choose to or because we have to. And it’s ok. I have learned that it’s not the end of the world for my boys. They have adjusted and are doing quite well.
However, those feelings of guilt sometimes still show up. So how do we, as busy moms, overcome this mommy guilt? Well here are some of the tips I have started to implement in my life to work on overcoming mom guilt.
1. Decide if your feelings of guilt are really justified
Is what you’ve done something you should really regret? If not then move on. If it is, use it as a learning moment.
We need to really take the time to analyze whatever it is that is making us feel guilty and see if it is really justified. Are you feeling guilty for something that you had no control over? Then you have to let it go and move on.
If it is something that justifies those guilty feelings then analyze it, what led to that action, to that moment. You can feel bad and then you can use it to learn.
Take away a lesson from that action and use those feelings of guilt to help you do better in the future.
Motherhood is a constant learning process. A perfect mother doesn’t exist. We will all make mistakes and do things that we will regret or feel bad for, but we can learn and grow from them.
2. Let go of the really unimportant things
Sometimes we feel guilty over the little things that, in the big picture, aren’t really that important.
For example, one time my son’s teacher sent me a note on a Wednesday that for Friday morning I needed to make a puzzle for my son to bring to school. I needed to find a specific picture, print it, color it, laminate it, and cut it out into puzzle pieces.
I’m a full time working mom, I don’t have a printer or a laminator at my home. I just didn’t have the time to do all of that.
I felt bad, like I must be the worst mommy ever. I’m probably the only mom who doesn’t complete all of her son’s school projects. But you know what? Thinking about it now, it was not actually an important thing.
Did it affect my son? Not in the least. He never even mentioned it. He is four, he will never even remember this, and it did not affect his education. So, is it worth beating myself up over? No! As parents, we are going to have so many incidents like these. We can’t beat ourselves up over every unimportant little detail that maybe we forget or just simply don’t have the time for. We are not bad moms for this. We are human.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s easy to look at other mom’s and think they really have it all together, they must not ever make the kind of mistakes I make. They seem to somehow maintain a perfect home and their kids are always perfectly groomed and well behaved and etc.
We can’t get caught up in those feelings. We don’t know the reality that they are living, the help they have or don’t have, how much time they may have compared to you, etc. You cannot compare yourself to others.
I have had to stop comparing myself to others and just realize that everyone’s journey in motherhood is unique. We can’t feel guilty for feeling like we don’t measure up to someone else. We all have our own challenges to face and our different ways to deal with them.
Just let it go and focus on your own reality.
4. Take a moment to breath before you react
Some of my biggest feelings of guilt with my eldest is when I snap at him or yell at him when he is misbehaving. Maybe I am tired, stressed or super busy and he starts acting out or doing something he shouldn’t be doing and I snap at him.
A good way to avoid this guilt is take a moment, take a breath, before reacting to a situation to avoid saying or doing something that will only make you feel guilty after.
5. Try to find realistic solutions to the big things that are making you feel guilty
If one of the biggest sources of your guilt comes from not spending enough time with your kids (this is me) then try to find practical solutions.
Maybe take a day off just to dedicate to spending time with the kids. Try setting aside an hour here and there to focus completely on the kids, playing whatever game or doing whatever activity they want.
6. Set up reminders, use your planner, and get yourself organized
I’m sure most of us busy mamas have forgotten activities or events that our kids had scheduled before. Surely can’t be the only one who has forgotten it was movie and snack day at my son’s preschool and forgot to send the popcorn or special snacks.
Sometimes forgetting the simple things can bring a boat load of guilt later on. So, an easy, practical way to avoid this guilt is get ourselves organized so we won’t end up forgetting these little but important details.
Set up reminders in your phone, use your planner or calendar and get all those activities, events and details noted down so you can avoid feeling guilty later on by forgetting.
7. Ask for help, and don’t feel bad about it
This one is difficult for me. I know we want to be able to do all of the things. However, he reality is that sometimes we just can’t, and that can make us feel guilty, like we are failing.
You know what? It’s ok if you can’t do everything on your own and you need to ask for help. It really is. You are going to be tired, stressed out and overwhelmed at times.
Whenever you feel like that, just ask for help. It doesn’t mean you are a failure or not doing enough, we have all been there, and there is no shame in that.
8. Distance yourself from people who make you feel bad
When I first became a mom, it seemed to me that everybody was a critic, everybody was judging me. I felt that I couldn’t do anything right. I was constantly feeling guilty, like I was the worst mom in the world, everything I did, I did wrong.
Do you know what I realize now looking back? The problem wasn’t really me. I was overwhelmed but trying to learn and instead of having support I was being critiqued.
Motherhood is difficult and challenging, and if the people who surround you are not supporting you and lifting you up, the problem is not you, it’s them.
You need to distance yourself from anyone who will make you feel bad. You have a heavy enough load, you don’t need other people adding to that by their criticism and judging.
In conclusion, we will never get rid of these feelings of mommy guilt completely, and that is a good thing, because these feelings mean that we care.
These feelings mean that we love our children and are constantly trying to do our best for them.
The important thing is to not let these feelings overwhelm us and, to a certain extent, we need to just embrace them and know that they are just simply a part of being a mom.
We are our own biggest critic and we need to learn to give ourselves grace.
There is no such thing as a perfect mom, we all make mistakes, but the most important thing is the love we have for our kids. As long as we learn from those mistakes, and let go of the little things, our little ones will be just fine.
So relax mamas, you are doing great! I hope these tips will be helpful to you in Overcoming that mom Guilt.
Now over to you, what are some of the things that you all feel guilty for and what are some of the ways you try to overcome it? Comment below!