Countless emotions come with being a mom—love, happiness, fulfillment, pride. But, there’s one common emotion that doesn’t get as much attention: guilt.
Why guilt? Because we all make parenting decisions we regret. Children don’t come with a parenting manual. Add to that the knowledge that our decisions may affect our children forever, and you suddenly have a hefty dose of parental guilt just waiting to bog you down.
As a working mom, you probably feel guiltiest for not spending enough time with your kids during the work week. But it’s so much more than that.
Does this sound familiar?
You feel guilty that you’re too busy to keep the house clean, that you don’t have the energy to play games with your kids before bed, that you missed their soccer game (again). There’s an endless list of reasons why we feel mommy guilt, and it’s often exaggerated by other people’s opinions—questions like “Why aren’t you breastfeeding?” or “You let your child watch that?” can trigger our mommy guilt immediately.
So what do we do about it? We may not be able to completely stop feeling mommy guilt—because we care about our children so much—but we can learn to accept that mommy guilt is natural and give ourselves a break. Instead of regularly tearing yourself down, use these four tips to give yourself a pat on the back for being a great mom.
How to Get Rid of Mommy Guilt: Don’t Dwell on It!
1. Let Some Things Go
Let’s be honest, not all parental obligations are created equal—some things are just not worth stressing over. If you’re too busy to volunteer for the bake sale this year or your kids went to school in mismatched clothes, it’s not the end of the world!
When you feel guilty about something you didn’t have the time or energy to do, try to remember the bigger picture—your child’s happiness and your relationship with them. Spending quality time with your kids is much more important than being completely on top of every detail all the time.
2. Talk to Other Moms
Don’t compare yourself to other parents! You might be surprised to find out that everyone is figuring it out as they go along, even if they seem like they know what they’re doing. Believe me, you’re not the only one who’s sporting a juice-stained sweater and unwashed hair—and you’re definitely not the only one dealing with guilt either. Moms are afraid to look bad in front of others, but there’s comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.
Confide in other moms and you’ll realize that you’re all facing similar challenges. You might even be able to help each other out with the million and one things you all have to get done!
3. Try to Find a Happy Medium
Let’s face it, as much as we try to be supermoms, some days it doesn’t feel possible to have it all. As a working mom, hectic days can make you wonder if it’s possible to have both a happy family and a successful career. Meanwhile, stay-at-home moms can feel guilty about not bringing home a paycheck when times are tough.
But, the thing to remember is that there are more options now than ever before for moms to find a work-life balance that works for them. Working at home is a great option for some moms. But, even if you have a day job, explore options for telecommuting a couple days a week. Stay-at-home moms can run their own websites and shops from their laptop, enabling them to contribute monetarily to the household in a variety of ways.
The working world is more flexible than ever before for moms, so look for creative solutions to address situations that are causing you guilt.
4. Take a Moment for Yourself
Everyone gets overwhelmed—we all know what it’s like when you’ve just had it up to here and feel like you’re going to explode. In these moments, we don’t act our best. We yell, lose our temper, say things we don’t mean, and feel guilty about it later.
To be a good parent, you have to take care of yourself. Learn to know when you’ve had enough and need a break. When you’re aggravated, try to pause before you react. If you’ve had a rough day at work, sit for a few minutes alone in the car before you head into the house to get in the right mindset before seeing your family. You don’t have to take negativity from work home with you. Caring for yourself will let you better care for your family.
To Get Rid of Mommy Guilt: Be Nice to Yourself!
We hate to break it to you, but you’re not a perfect parent—no one is! And when we expect ourselves to be perfect parents, we set ourselves up for overwhelming guilt whenever we make mistakes.
Try to accept the fact that no one is a perfect parent, we’re all just doing our best. In fact, your mommy guilt is a sign of how much you love your children—so embrace it! Do your best to learn from your mistakes and feelings of guilt, not dwell on them.