How to Overcome Mom Guilt

Do you ever find yourself up at night, running through all of the unchecked items on your to-do list from the day?

We moms are doing it all–working, cooking, cleaning, taking care of our kids, homeschooling, volunteering, you name it.

We have the capacity to be endlessly productive.  Our absence is felt whenever we have to step away from our homes.

If we’re getting so much done–why do we feel so guilty?

I believe there are 5 main reasons why moms deal with guilt.

 

FIVE REASONS WE DEAL WITH MOM GUILT

1. We feel like we’re not enough.

When we’re at work, we feel like we should be home.  When we’re home, we feel like we should be working.  Our lives can easily become a hamster wheel of shoulds, and we are afraid that if we miss a step, we’ll be sent spiraling.

 

2. We are afraid of disappointing others.

We want to be present AND productive.  Nobody wants to be the person who let down their kids, their husband, their boss, their PTA coordinator, or whomever we are obligated to in some way.  Our reliability is often a badge of honor, even if it comes at a price.

 

3. We compare ourselves to others.

Social media brings access into the outer “inner” lives of others.  Even though we all know our feeds are filled with highlight reels, it’s tempting to feel as though we somehow fail to measure up, even if the standard might be fake.

 

4. We set the bar really high.

If you’re anything like me, you set super-high expectations for yourself.  These expectations unfortunately spill over onto the people closest to us.  On the days when I’m hardest on my kids, I can trace the root back to how I’m feeling about myself.

5. We don’t ask for what we need.

Everyone talks about how important self-care is these days, but do you really feel like you can afford the time (or money) to spend on yourself the way you would want to?

It’s so easy to find a “better” use of our time or money.  There are at least a dozen people in our immediate circle of influence who need us.  It can be hard to justify spending time and/or money to replenish ourselves.

Now that we know the five main sources of mom guilt, we can explore five tactics to overcome mom guilt for good.

 

FIVE WAYS TO OVERCOME MOM GUILT

1. Monitor your self-talk.

Your words are important, especially the words you speak to yourself.  Are you your own worst critic?  I know that I can be.  The words I say to and think about myself affect the way I treat others.  How can I treat others with love and respect and not show the same consideration for myself?

I like to start my day with positivity to prepare myself for whatever comes my way.  I read a passage from the Bible, and spend the first few moments talking to God about the day.  I listen to positive affirmations to remind myself that I am loved, and it’s made such a difference in how I approach the day.

2. Give yourself permission to be yourself.

Honey–if you don’t bake, why are you up trying to bake a bajillion cupcakes for the party, iced with the fancy Pinterest frosting?  Get those cupcakes at the store!

If you’re an introvert with plenty of children–like yours truly–it’s okay to take quiet breaks during the day.  In fact, you’re going to need them for your sanity.  There are moms who like to pretend that everyone should love spending every waking moment with their children, and that there is something wrong with you if you don’t.  But sis.  There. Is. Nothing. Wrong. With. You.

I love my children, but even they will admit to needing their space from time to time.

All of that is to say–be you.

3. Know that you are the best mom for your kids.  

Your kids don’t want or need a supermom–they need you.  You were created on purpose for a purpose, and it is no accident that you are the mother of your children.  (Obviously, right?)  What I mean is that you are the best mom for your children.  Your personality, history, and DNA are all unique.  No one will have the insight that you are able to have on your children.   Isn’t that amazing?  It’s time to rest in that.

4. Be selective with social media.

There’s this wacky little button labeled “unfollow.”  It will help you curate a feed that feeds you.  Have a friend or family member who is extremely vocal about politics?  You can mute that conversation (with the handy dandy “unfollow” button) and save yourself a little more sanity.  And no one will be the wiser.

5. Take care of yourself, mama.

Nourish your body with good food, plenty of movement, and your favorite stress-reducing activities.  There is only one you, and you are irreplaceable.  So please take care of yourself.  This is no time to be a hero, or a martyr.  Your life matters, your kids matter, your marriage matters, your job matters, too.  But none of those things would be the same without you.

Have any tips for dealing with mom guilt?  Please share them in the comments!

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