Mom guilt. It is a feeling which is sadly all too familiar. It descended when we were forced to miss a soccer game for a work meeting, or are guilty of answering emails at the park. Wherever we are, it isn’t easy to avoid.
The most curious feature of mom guilt is its complete absence from any medical paraphernalia. Nowhere online can you find a definitive definition of the condition. Nor will any GP ever prescribe a cure.
Nonetheless, mom guilt is a genuine phenomenon and has been experienced by parents across the world. Here at Twin Cities Kids Club, we want to help.
What Is Mom Guilt?
In short, mom guilt is an inherent fear that you have neglected or fallen short of the requirements of motherhood. As natural carers and nurturers, mothers find it natural to pour their love, affection, and attention into their children.
It is normal to want to ensure that they have the best. We fight to ensure that they receive all of our care and that they are the center of our world.
In reality, however, life can be a little more complicated.
Work, responsibilities, and the day-to-day nuances that makeup life means things get things busy. It can be easy to feel as though you are always falling short. Social media can be your worst enemy here; we are all guilty of only posting the highlights, and omitting the struggles.
Picture a familiar scenario. It has been a long day, and you are looking forward to curling up on the couch with a good book. Work is done, the kids are fed, clean, and content and the house is relatively together.
Before you relax, you flick through Instagram as a bad habit. All of a sudden, you are overwhelmed with wholesome pictures of families at the park. Johnny and Jenny have spent the whole day baking adorable cupcakes. Little Lizzie is the best speller in her class, fluent in French, and “such a bookworm.”
Meanwhile, you have hidden the craft clue to stop your kids from eating it yet again.
All around you are expectations, pressures, and picture-perfect images. Suddenly, your contentment is ripped away. Ok, so you guys read together… but could you have spent longer? Did you send them out to play in the yard earlier – time which could have been spent immersed in learning?
No matter what you do, it never seems enough. Welcome to the world of mom guilt.
How To Beat It
It is important to remember, however, that everyone feels this way – even those seemingly Insta-perfect parents. Every mother’s experience will be different, but we all have one thing in common: a notion that we could be doing more.
We have good news; however, this too shall pass. Beating mom guilt is tough -sometimes it feels as though it is wired into our DNA. There are steps you can take, however, to manage your wellbeing and soothe the guilt. Most importantly, they can help you realize you are doing a fantastic job.
The most important and healthy thing you can do for yourself is to forgive your perceived imperfections and mistakes. If you need to apologize, make the apology, and mean it from the bottom of your heart.
Then let it go.
This aspect is perhaps the hardest part of the process, but also one of the most important. Letting go means releasing all guilt and obligation and truly moving on. In some ways, guilt serves a purpose; it teaches us a lesson. It exists to tell us something and help us to listen and grow.
Once we have done this, however, it needs to be washed away. Allowing guilt to hang around makes it part of your identity and takes up valuable precious time. Time which could be far better spent on more worthwhile, nurturing tasks.
In a sense, allowing guilt to hang around punishes you twice. The first, by whatever wrong, you are perceived to have committed. Apparent sins can range from not raising a bilingual child, raising your voice, checking your phone. If allowed to fester, guilt then punishes you again by stripping time and energy. Rather than starting anew, enjoying each moment with your child, you are trapped in the past, obsessing over the guilt.
Let it go. Love yourself, forgive yourself, and set a valuable example for your child.
If you have done something wrong, own it. Guilt can be a valuable tool, offering us the motivation we need to take charge and change our actions. It may not seem immediately apparent, but there is a link between responsibility and forgiveness.
Guilt allows your actions to be explored and examined, offering a real chance to change, grow, and develop. Positive steps can be taken moving forward, which can have a transformative effect on your mindset and lifestyle.
It is important that responsibility and forgiveness go hand in hand – learn from the past, but refuse to dwell on it.
Accept yourself, just as you are
Sometimes as mothers, we place guilt on ourselves when it is in no way deserved. Hard as it is to accept, sometimes you just haven’t done anything to feel guilty about.
If this is the case, you need to learn to accept yourself, exactly as you are at this moment.
Take time for yourself, and take the pressure off to be a super mom. Self-care is an essential element of happiness. By ensuring that you are calm, chilled, and relaxed will allow you to pass these vibes onto your child. Do the best you can in that exact moment, and learn how to love yourself.
Go for a walk. Do yoga. Find a way to relax. You can even get your kids involved in yoga!
Ask For Help
Here at Twin Cities Kids Club, we are here to help. We seek to build an active, engaged, like-minded community of parents, all doing our best to do our best. Mom guilt is a very real phenomenon, but it doesn’t have to rule your life.
Head over to our site for tips, tricks, and solidarity, and learn how to keep that annoying little voice firmly at bay.
And always remember:
You’ve got this.
You are doing fine.
You are enough.