That voice inside your head, you know the one telling you that you aren’t good enough… that’s mom guilt. It is a feeling of worry, regret, or shame that you get when you make a mistake or think you did something wrong.
If you ask a group of women to describe mom guilt you will likely get different responses. Why? Because we all associate feelings of guilt differently given the situations we are in. We asked some moms in our community to describe a time when they felt guilt and here are some of the responses:
“Feeling knots in my stomach when I’m away from my baby taking time for myself” – Madie
“Deciding to stop breastfeeding” – Jackie
“When I went back to work, baby was 16 weeks” –Dboer
“Baby losing too much weight after birth” -Alison
“Feeling like I’m not doing enough despite giving all I actually have.” -Bekah
“It usually hits me when I’m falling asleep. Did I do enough today? Was I enough for them?” -Leah
“What I lose my temper” -Syeda
“Switching to formula because I could produce” –Megan
“What I work and miss a first. I’ve told my husband to stop telling me”
“Having to switch to formula. I felt like I failed him. I failed as a mother” -Kayleigh
“Feeling like everything that doesn’t go well is your fault. I feel it everyday.” –Tanna
“Much more than I expected. Especially with breastfeeding and occasionally not wanting to” -Kimberley
“Thinking of giving my baby a bottle because breastfeeding is exhausting”
“Leaving kids behind to have me time” -Celina
“Working out after work and coming home to a crabby LO because I was gone extra long” -Meredith
“Messy House, neglected first born” –Sana
“Such a horrible feeling, when I snap or when I want a moment for myself or miss aspects of childless life” -Nicky
How do you move past the guilt?
We all feel guilt at some point in motherhood (sometimes it’s more often than we would expect), and I hate to break it to you, but it’s just a part of parenting.
Here are some of our favorite tips to move past the guilt:
- Breathe: Seriously, it works! Listen to the sound of your breath and focus on that air moving in and out of your body instead of whatever went wrong.
- Embrace the guilt: Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, and that you are the best mom for your child. Once you realize how amazing you are (because you are!) the guilt will disappear.
- Get outside and reset: Pack up the stroller and go outside for a walk. The fresh air helps send oxygen through your blood and allows your lungs to work at full capacity. When in nature, most people experience a more positive mood and better cognitive function, which in turn will push the negative thinking out and the positive thinking in.
- Give yourself some grace: You can’t do it all, even if you wanted to. Set realistic expectations for yourself and remember that you are doing the best you can.
- Working mom guilt? Allow yourself to enjoy working: It’s okay to love your job and want to escape from home. In fact, being away from your kids has a positive impact on them because they learn to be independent, instead of relying on you to help make their decisions for them.
- Stop comparing yourself to Sally on Instagram: The truth is, you really don’t know what Sally’s life is like outside of her bright and colorful Instagram feed. All moms make mistakes. I bet even Sally herself lets her kids watch tv all day and put the baby’s diaper on backwards at least once. If your kids are happy, you are doing a great job.
- Journal: Go to target and pick up something pretty to write in (trust me it helps). Take 10-15 minutes out of the day to write down your thoughts and feelings. It can be something simple like, “My baby rolled over today”, or “I drank my coffee hot”, anything. Just write it down. When you journal you are giving yourself the opportunity to stay centered and embrace yourself.
- Learn to forgive yourself: You can’t get rid of mom guilt if you can’t forgive yourself. Mistakes happen, no matter how careful you are.
Mama, Be gentle with yourself and remember that you are doing the best you can. If your child is happy and thriving, and knows that you love him then why are you even feeling guilty?!
Try to find the light in the darkest of days, you will get past this.