Mom Guilt – a familiar chest aching, mind racing experience all working moms would know.
This feeling is constant and real. It makes you feel guilty that you are a bad mom. You feel bad leaving your toddler at home or daycare to go to work, or to do the household chores. You feel you have failed your duty, hearing your toddler crying and screaming for you as if you’ve just abandoned him.
If you are a mom and you have never experienced this, please share your secrets in the comments section! I’m sure all moms will be worshipping you by now.
For all other moms who are struggling to get over this guilt, know that you are not walking alone! But here’s the thing – it’s a feeling that you can resist falling prey to. This guilt can be a total lie when you are trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. Based on author and psychologist Molly Millwood, the mom guilt that we are feeling is unfounded guilt.
I believe that every mom will want to be there every moment for her child. The first walk, the first word or the first award ceremony. If family finances would allow. Instead of wallowing in guilt, know that there are ways you can overcome this feeling. Let us explore 5 ways you can break away from mom guilt!
1. Accept Who You Are
We believe what we see on social media. We watch how those moms rock motherhood like they’re naturals, and we try to live up to these rockstars’ standards. Stop doing that!
Remind yourself that what you see are simply snapshots or 1-minute videos of a mom and a laughing child. What you do not see is the child’s meltdown for not getting the chocolates with Elsa on the paper foil.
Whether you are browsing through Instagram, or you meet a cool mom rationalizing with her whining child, you tend to consciously make a mental list of rules based on their behaviours. What you might have forgotten is that we do not like to be judged by the public eye, thus we have to put on our best mommy behaviour.
Everyone is different, a set of rules might work for her but not for you.Juliana Lee – Blogger
Never force yourself to change because other women are doing it. Change based on what you are comfortable with, and what works best for you.
2. Avoid Judging Yourself
Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom, motherhood is a big part of your identity.
You have an important meeting with the boss, and the only way the meeting will not go south is if your toddler is watching some videos on his IPAD. You know it’s bad but you have no other choice. And you feel guilty as you can hear how other moms will be judging you if they know. Tell yourself that it is all in your head because it’s true! If it is for survival, you have to do whatever it takes! Your toddler is not going to call you a bad mommy by spending some extra time on the IPAD, neither will his IQ be affected. What you will gain is a confident you, a focused mind and a smooth sailing meeting.
Do not beat yourself up based on the ‘right way’ of how a situation should be, instead, focus on flexibility and positive parenting methods to handle your child. If your child loves to draw, have more papers and colour pencils available to keep her occupied while you work on your laptop. Find practical solutions that revolve around you and your child’s needs, not based on a general theory off the internet.
3. Be Flexible
This does not mean turning into a gymnast and doing cartwheels around the house to entertain your kids.
It is ok that things do not go as planned. Do not stress yourself by following every set of rules by the alphabet, routines can be changed according to situations.
You might not be in the mood to prepare dinner for the family, but you feel that you have to do so. Avoid putting yourself in that dilemma. You do not have to feel guilty that everyone will be having fast food that evening. Truth be told, your kids will shower you with the same amount (I suspect more) of love when you order their favourite Happy Meal at McDonald’s.
You can control your emotions but cannot predict the unforeseeable circumstances. Try not to let the negative thoughts contribute to mom guilt. Many things are beyond our control, and as a mom, you have learned to deal with last-minute situations since your child was born. Your mind is conditioned to work around chaos and unanticipated changes, just that you have not realised it. As long as you keep an open mind, and are willing to go with the flow, you will feel less of the mom guilt, and more of a relaxed mom.
4. Take Time Out For Yourself
Whether or not you are having those mom guilt moments, every mom needs a ‘me time’. Have a ladies night with your girlfriends, make an appointment to pamper your hair and nails, or simply go on a romantic date with your spouse.
Attending to your personal needs can seem selfish, and build up the mom’s guilt. What you need to understand is that it is crucial to recharge and refresh to stay productive. When you are frustrated and stressed out, you will tend to vent it on your loved ones. This will affect your relationship with your kids negatively in the long run, and it is not healthy for yourself nor your kids.
Let your parents take over the kids for a couple of hours or the entire day. Allowing your kids to have a close relationship with their grandparents have many mental and health benefits. Besides learning life values from grandpa and grandma, you are also helping your parents to stay healthy. Avoid controlling what grandma can feed your kids, or whether grandpa should bring them to the playground. Your objective is to let them build a close relationship and for you to recharge.
5. Achieve A Quiet Mind Through Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing techniques do not only work when you are refraining from screaming at your kids. Being a mom is a challenge, fighting mom guilt at the same time does not make matters better. You only end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious, eventually leading to a burnt out.
Whenever you feel stressed out when mom guilt strikes, take a break from whatever you are doing. Walk away and take several deep breaths. Find a quiet spot, at the balcony or even outside the house, close your eyes and take a deep breath. I find yoga helps significantly to help me relax and focus, especially after struggling with mom guilt the entire day.
Besides being a blogger, I am also a registered real estate agent. As an agent, I have to sacrifice my evenings and weekends with my 3 young boys. I too struggle with mom guilt when I have to go for my appointments. There are times when I wanted to cancel the appointment and stay home with my toddler. There are also days when I question myself if whatever I am doing is worth it. Whenever this happens, I will practice my breathing exercises in my bedroom before leaving the house and ask myself
What will happen after I leave? Truth is the boys will do fine without my presence for a couple of hours. They are happier because they get to watch TV.
What am I positively sure of? I am positively sure that they are in good hands with our dearest helper and my husband, and they will not starve.
What will make me feel better? I can do a video call with them if I have a full day of appointments, or I can buy their favourite waffle or cake home to watch their faces light up.
There is no fixed manual about motherhood.Juliana Lee – Real Estate Agent
The dos and don’ts of how to be a mother, and there is no die-hard rule that you have to attend to your child 24/7. It is no denying that being a mother is more tiring than having a full-time job, however, you need to know how to deal with your emotions to stay happy. Our job as a mom is to guide our kids to become better adults, not a slave to their needs. When you are a happy mom, you will find yourself with a clearer mind to make better decisions, and the people around you will be happy too. So release your guilt and enjoy motherhood!
Juliana Lee is the writer behind Millennial Mom At Work, a mom to 3 highly energized boys, a dog, and a cat. She enjoys writing about parenting tips and personal growth to empower parents for an enjoyable and fulfilling parenthood journey. Besides hoping for world peace, she believes that everyone needs to learn to be confident, optimistic and be proud of their beauty to be happy. When she is not writing, she can be found binge-watching Netflix with chips and wine, cuddled up next to her cat and dog on the couch. When the kids are asleep at night.
If you find these tips and hacks helpful, don’t forget to hop on Juliana’s blog and share more of her parenting tips with friends and family! If you know of someone whose story can be inspirational to others, contact us and we promise to get back to you as soon as possible. Hugs & Kisses from WLW team.