Mom Guilt… Where did this idea come from, that when you become a Mama, you’re supposed to feel guilty? Remember those carefree days before kids, you took care of yourself and your mate. You had this notion that you were important and you did what you wanted to do, no matter the cost.
But now suddenly, you’re a Mama. And now you and your needs have shifted to them and theirs. You’re still balancing it all–taking care of your mate, taking care of your kids, and if there’s a smidgen of time, yourself. But why? Why does this happen? This is a great article to get started from a psychotherapist’s point of view.
I am no stranger to mom guilt. I’ve felt the sting of leaving my babies if even for a few hours and felt, I should just stay home… However, there are circumstances that don’t allow that. Sometimes it’s work. Perhaps it’s serious commitments that you can’t back out of or a financial decision. Whatever the reason, it’s out there… and it’s looking to devour your whole being. However, I’m here to say, we don’t have to let it! Here are five ways to combat Mom Guilt.
Power in Numbers
There is power in numbers, am I right? Bedtime duties, check! Flock of geese flying south? Check! The same goes for overcoming mom guilt by planning outings with your friends. Lucky for you, these gals might also need a boost to overcome this treacherous feeling. Planning things together takes the pressure off of you. You remember how much fun you have with your girlfriends, so this feeling of joy helps stack against that feeling of guilt. The morning of, you might need some shoving out the door, but get out there and plan something with your gals. You’ll be glad you did! While there, you can talk about anything that’s on your mind, which is so good for the soul! The same goes for planning outings with other couples. You’re all in it together.
Affirmations are SO powerful. It’s no surprise that successful business coaches recommend that you put physical affirmations on paper and hang them so you can see them each day. Why not take this idea and create something for yourself to look at? It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, it can be as simple as, Find time for yourself or You are worth it. Simple, sweet, and to the point. You’ll see it everyday, and it will be hard to ignore.
Call Your Mom
I have a confession to make. I call my mom usually once, if not twice a day. And guess what? She’s the biggest advocate for me taking care of myself in any capacity. It feels good to be able to talk to someone who made it through the trenches of raising kids. Now she’s on the bank of my trenches, shouting for me to make sure I do something for myself. It feels really good to have someone I love and who cares for me, remind me that I’m worth it and it’s important. If your mom isn’t available, call anyone who’s been there. They will likely give you the same words of encouragement! Anyone in the Band of Mamas will support you taking care of you, as well 🙂
Add up Your Time
I am actually very serious. For logical people, this might help. Think about where your day is spent. For me, it looks something like this:
- 2 hours: get myself and family dressed & ready, drive to daycare, drive to work
- 8 hours: work full time job
- 3.5-4 hours: playtime, dinnertime, bath time, bedtime
- 1.5-2 hours: me and hubby time
- 8.5 hours: sleep
On the weekends, time with my kids and my family is exponentially greater! The majority of my Saturday and Sunday, on most weeks, is spent with them. Whether we are doing things with our family, grandparents, or outings with friends, we stay busy. Some weeks during the weeknights, I might take an hour to get my nails done, but mostly, my time is spent being a Mama and a wife and taking care of our home. Adding up my time and seeing a visual of where my time is spent, is valuable. I know that ME time is the least allotted time in each of my days. This should not lead to guilt in any way shape or form.
Furthermore, I make sure to get at least 2-3 dates in each month. Whether it be a whole day or a night away, I make time for Ross and me. It’s not impossible to do the same things for myself! This was something I learned right away, how hard it is to maintain the relationship if you don’t make it a priority. I wrote about that in this blog: What No One Told Me Before I had Kids
Ask Yourself Who Cares
I mean it… Take a minute and ask yourself, who cares? If you legitimately take a few hours, even a day to yourself when it works with your schedule, who will care? Chances are, and I feel like most moms would agree, that you are the only one who really cares. Guilt actually means to feel as if you have done wrong or failed; however, when I look at all the positive things I do as a mother, I certainly do not fail. I worked my butt off to be the best and do my best. I recently shared an image of “Mom Brain” and Mamas, it’s true. We are doin’ our damn best!
Where do you Spend Your Time?
I spend countless nights with no sleep taking care of my sick babies and rocking them to sleep, or sitting at my breast pump taking time to feed them. Perhaps it’s running errands, meal prepping, doing laundry, cleaning, organizing… the list goes on! I am starting to believe that guilt is actually masked by other feelings of shortcomings. I am important and I matter, too!
Let Go of Mom Guilt
So in the end, let’s all agree that Mom guilt doesn’t have to be a thing. You are NOT a bad mom because you take some time to yourself, or because you have to work and leave your babies at daycare. We are Mamas, and our forte happens to be feeling every sense of emotion there possibly is, all the time, and everyday! Shift that energy of what you assume to be guilt and focus your attention to the extreme efforts you go to take care of your family day in and day out. Do this consistently, and you will start to see a change, I promise you!
It’s not impossible to take care of yourself. Just like anything, you need to assess your time and figure out how to make it work. Mamas, I repeat: It is not impossible to think of yourself. Mom guilt doesn’t have to exist or be a thing. Turn your focus to all of the wonderful things you do and you just might start feeling proud of your achievements instead of guilty for things that are often out of your control.
Photo cred: https://lovesvg.com/2018/07/call-your-mom-7140/; https://boldomatic.com/p/4yKcZQ/who-really-cares; https://www.art.com/products/p36142739084-sa-i9472250/brett-wilson-you-are-worth-it.htm; https://heyletsgoplaces.com/mom-guilt-vacation/