What is “mom guilt” and how can we treat it?
The epidemic of mom guilt in this generation is at an all-time high. Ok now that we’ve had a dramatic start, let’s get down to it. Why do mom’s suffer from mom guilt and the real gem – how do we get rid of it once and for all!
I’m a working mom of 4, I am a prime candidate for this dreadful disease of mom guilt. My husband somehow is for the most part immune, amazing guy that he is. So when I try to put it into words he just doesn’t get it sometimes.
So fellow mama’s here’s my take on the epidemic of mom guilt and what we can do to treat it.
Why do we feel mom guilt?
How come I feel this way? Why do I feel like I’m never doing enough? Like I can’t seem to just get it right and balance it all?
- Well, our little friend social media can be a blessing and a curse. Amazing connections, support, and encouragement from moms and women around the world begin online. On the other hand, studies have shown that social media can be a factor in depression. Sorry to be a downer but it’s true, this pressure of seeing the best side of everyone, the highlight reel if you will. It’s not the norm, seeing the best parts of everyone’s lives. It’s really hard not to compare with what you see online every day. This can definitely add to the feeling of you not doing enough – uh oh.
- Nowadays we are inundated with information – tips and tricks on how to do this, how to not do that, strategies to get more of this or less of that. This is great that so much information is out there, but it can contribute the impression that we aren’t measuring up and need to do more.
- Unrealistic expectations– when did this start, this do-it-all mentality – work, cook, clean, play with your kids, get them to classes, playdates, birthdays, sporting events on top of that the gift exchanges, field trips, classroom volunteering. It’s a lot for anyone, how can we do it all? In reality, we can’t and that’s ok.
- So much of our identity is wrapped up in being a mom. Its amazing being a mom but then when something goes wrong or we fall short we feel shaken by it and don’t give ourselves the grace to be imperfect and really just try the best we can and be ok with that.
Okay, so we better understand where this mom guilt may be stemming from. Challenges and environmental changes our moms and their moms didn’t necessarily have to address. So now what do we do about it!
How do we get rid of mom guilt?
- Set some limits and boundaries around social media (ex. Phones off at 4:00 pm). The more we are on our phones the more we can get down on ourselves, affect our mood and begin to compare. Also being mindful that what we are seeing is only a snapshot of other’s lives.
- Find support, open up to other moms or your partner – Strength in numbers, you are not alone mama. Most of us if not all feel like you do, on some days. Reach out to another mom friend or even an online support group. Get it out in the open, keeping it to yourself only makes it feel heavier.
- Ask for help or just plain say ‘no’ – If you are feeling like its too much no guilt here – ask for help, have a friend take your kids or invite your mom to come and help you tidy. You are no less of a mom for asking for help. In other instances just give a flat out ‘no thanks’ to unneeded social obligations or invitations that don’t add to your life. If you feel you are just attending out of guilt or what others will think – STOP right there missy! Overscheduling adds to the stress and therefore the guilt we have for not doing it all. If you take some things off your schedule gives you breathing room.
- Encourage positive self-talk – Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a close friend who was struggling to balance it all and feeling guilty she wasn’t doing a good enough job. We tend to be harder on ourselves than those around us. Give ourselves the gift of kindness and self-love. Be more aware of those negative thoughts and when you see one coming, grab it and toss it aside, replace it with kindness and understanding – ‘you’re still a good mom even when you forget pajama day at school. We’ve all been there.
- Get in Quality Time, Not Quantity – Not putting pressure on yourself to do all these things and do them all to an extreme extent. Having play time with the kiddos, for sure but it doesn’t need to be for 2 hours straight. Have some solid bonding before bed or playtime after dinner, connect on the ride or walk home from school. Really engage with them and not being distracted is worth more than a long structured timeslot.
- Encourage Self Care – We hear it a lot, self-care. But are we really putting ourselves on that to do list and not feeling guilty about it? You are better for it when you take care of yourself first, and your family is too. Start small, with 10 minutes a day – get up before the kids do for a quiet time, a quick walk, a bath at night. Whatever your body needs to reset and refresh, guilt-free.
This mom guilt is treatable, and you are not alone in feeling this way. The great thing is there are ways to heal this area. One step at a time, one thought at a time, one minute at a time we can put this mom guilt in its place.
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About the Author:
Theresa Martinez has the amazing job of working as a coach with busy mamas – helping them take care of themselves again, find balance, get rid of mom guilt and add fun back into their lives! She writes about self-care, balance, parenting tips, consistency and helping moms live the life they want (guilt free & full of joy). She is an absolute introvert mama to 4 busy kiddos. And she loves reading, hallmark movies, baking & spending time with her hilarious family. Come hang out with her in her Facebook group – Transparency Come As You Are – a supportive space for real moms who share info, tips, and encouragement.
Be sure to follow her on Instagram, and join her Facebook group!