There’s nothing quite like the feeling that you’ve totally screwed up as a parent, even if those feelings are completely unwarranted from an outside perspective. Perhaps you just discovered that you shouldn’t have fed a specific food to your toddler, or your little one is behind developmentally and you feel like you should have done more to promote development in a certain area. Maybe you just had a bad day and snapped at your preschooler when they really didn’t deserve it. What happens when all is said and done? Mom guilt sets in.
It’s all about perspective
As a natural optimist, negative feelings are tough for me. When these emotions creep in, I will do just about anything to remove them. In my experience, guilt is the most challenging emotion to control. If you don’t address it, the feeling will consume you and will likely affect those close to you as well. That’s not to say that you can’t control it. Managing your guilt is all about perspective.
Mom Guilt Means You Care
The first thing I try to remember when I realize that mom guilt has set in is that guilt means you care. If I didn’t love my little guy beyond expression, why would I feel so guilty about the fact that he didn’t get enough play time today? As contradictory as it may seem, mom guilt can actually be viewed as reassurance that you are a good mom.
Once I have accepted that this guilt I am feeling actually means that I must be doing something right, I turn the focus to self-forgiveness. Whatever it was that I did that lead to this feeling of mom guilt can be forgiven. Depending on the situation, I may apologize to my son, even if he doesn’t completely understand me yet. I’ll explain what happened, why it happened and why I am sorry that it happened. Another great way to forgive yourself is to stop and play. Give your child(ren) 100% of your attention and be present with them for a bit. Before you know it, their giggles will have you smiling again. Accept that you are not perfect and that your child(ren) will always love you regardless.
It Could be Worse
Whenever I express my feelings of mom guilt to my mother, she almost always finds a way to remind me that kids have survived and thrived in much “worse” conditions. There are babies all over the world who don’t have all these learning and development toys and they still somehow manage to learn how to function as adults just fine. I truly think one of the hardest things about being a modern mom is the amount of information we have available. We know all the risks, which means that we fear everything. You can’t feed your kids this, they can’t sleep that way, and if you don’t do such and such they won’t develop to their full potential. Sometimes you just need to trust that your kids will be fine.
Mom Time Guilt
One of the biggest challenges for moms, especially new moms, is the feeling of guilt that comes along with doing anything for themselves. I talk a lot about this on my blog because it’s something I feel very strongly about. Moms are still human and deserve self-care as much as anyone else, if not more! After a few months of struggling as a new mom, I made it my mission to find ways to incorporate self-care into my life and to not feel guilty about it. Taking care of yourself is the only way that you can be the best mom for your little one(s). Take a break and get some mom time in every day and know that it is not only good for you, but for your family as well.
What do you do to snap out of it when you feel mom guilt?