Posted on Jan 19th 2020
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, “mom guilt” is an experience you’ve likely gone through at least once. As mothers, we often feel overwhelming pressure to live up to the expectation of perfection, and if we don’t reach that fictitious goal (which, let’s be honest, we never will, and that’s ok!) we fall into a pit of regret, doubt, anxiety, and shame. Ironically, this pressure is likely a sign that you’re already doing a fantastic job in motherhood. If you weren’t, would you let the worry of constantly screwing up eat at you the way it does now? Mom guilt hangs over many mothers, and it’s no surprise with the precious responsibility we bear to raise tiny human beings into responsible adults, but you can’t let it haunt your every thought. It’s ok to admit that you can’t do everything! Here are some reasons to remind you to ditch the mom guilt when it gets to be too much, brought to you by your friends at Romp n’ Roll!
Your Life Is More Than Just for Your Kids
This is difficult for a lot of moms to admit, but you had a life before your kids, and even now that they’re here, your life should be about more than solely caring for them. All of your actions and all of your thoughts throughout the day can’t be about your kids! Of course they’re wonderful, but doing something that doesn’t have to do with them won’t mean you love them any less. In fact, letting your kids think that your every moment revolves around them can lead to big problems with narcissism and overdependence later on. It’s ok if you’re aching to do something besides the constant cycle of housework and dinner preparations and laundry, and you aren’t a bad mom if you put off those chores for a bit to do something else. It’s easy to guilt ourselves into thinking that we constantly have to strive to do everything we possibly can to support our children, but giving all of yourself to your kids and leaving nothing left for you will only lead to burnout. Live your life for yourself too!
Expectations and Reality
As mothers, there is an unimaginable number of unrealistic expectations we think we have to keep up with. You measure yourself against others around you and become convinced that you’re falling short of being “supermom”, but in reality, these are expectations that are placed on you by no one but yourself. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a better mom (we all have different details we can improve on!) there’s a fine line between bettering yourself and berating yourself. Your expectations will often fall short of reality. You may have a few days in a row where you don’t get the kids to school on time, forget to pack a lunch, neglect the dirty dishes in the sink, or have a little bit of a breakdown in the bathroom, but you have to remember that you’re only human. No one can be supermom all the time. Forgive yourself for your mistakes let go of all the silly expectations.
You Need Some Time for Yourself
Many mothers worry that the years are short and that they should not take one second with their children for granted, but no mother in history has ever had the schedule or the desire to focus all of their time on their children. It is neither a reasonable or fair expectation to place on your shoulders. You might ask how you could wheedle out time for yourself if you already feel like you don’t spend enough time with or on your kids, but the busier and more overwhelmed you are, the more important it is for you to take a moment to breathe and focus on yourself. The simple truth is that a stressed-out mother is not a happy or successful mother. How can you expect yourself to be there for your kids if you can’t be there for yourself too? Whenever you start to feel run down, force yourself to step back and unwind with “me time”. Take some time to do something you love that doesn’t involve your kids, whether it’s a few minutes of reading or a night out with friends or your partner, and when you come back you’ll be recharged and ready to make your time with your kids more meaningful.
Guilt Will Only Hurt Your Parenting
Contrary to what you might think, guilting yourself doesn’t make you a more productive mother overnight; in fact, it actually hurts both you and your children. Of course, we’re not discouraging you from bettering yourself as a parent. If there are things you need to and are able to work on to make yourself a more attentive mom, then by all means, do it! But if you’re beating yourself up over small mistakes and self-assigned inadequacies, guilt will only work to make you miserable or overcorrect in your parenting. Some scenarios do justify guilt, but others don’t, and it’s essential for your own sanity to learn to recognize the difference.