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Letting go of mom guilt is a tricky one. I don’t know a mom that doesn’t feel it at some point. Why is it that we hold ourselves to such high expectations that we feel guilty not reaching them?
Scrolling through my Facebook feed, or reading a great magazine, or just letting myself sit and think for too long, the guilt started to sink in. It seemed as if there was picture after picture of other moms doing these amazing things and I did what I always do, I compared, contrasted, and accepted a strong dose of mom guilt. As a busy mom, I was doing things with our kids, but were they enough? Was I doing the fun things that I saw them doing? Were our kids getting the most out of their childhood?
If you are a mom, you struggle with feeling guilty at times. There is always that little voice that whispers, “Look at her, she is such a great mom, I should be doing that too…” All to often, we find ourselves giving into this guilt and letting it overtake our thoughts. But do you know what happens when we allow this? The guilt over takes our joy in life. Instead of enjoying the moments, I am stuck in a negative whirlwind. Instead of really LIVING each moment, we end up just going through the motions.
Thankfully, there is a way we can combat the mom guilt problem!
1) Stop guilt right away! When I start to feel the guilt creeping in, I try to stop myself immediately. If you do not allow yourself to go down that path, it is easier to stay focused. As soon as you feel guilty, stop and give yourself 3 reasons that YOU are an amazing parent!
2) Determine the source of the guilt. Is this a lie that I am believing? Or is there something deeper? Maybe I am feeling guilty about seeing the mom at the play ground with her little ones, because I know I need to be spending less time ____ (fill in the blank) and more time being present and in the moment. More time playing and less time watching. If we dig deep, we may find a secret issue under the layers of guilt that can be dealt with.
3) Stay positive. If you see something on social media that causes the guilt to creep in, get off social media. Try to think back to when our grandparents were parenting. While I’m sure that they still had guilt at times, I’m sure that it wasn’t to the degree that we feel it, because they are only with those around them. Try to go back to that time for a few days. Try to just focus on you and your family. When you feel bad, remember to STOP and say something positive about yourself and about the other person. Focus on where your gifts are and then encourage your friend in their gifts. Compliment your kids, compliment yourself.
4). When you lay down at night, don’t let those guilty feelings come back (that is when they come back for me). That is when I relive the day. “Oh! Why did I raise my voice after dinner? Why didn’t I get out the paint when they asked me to paint today? Why didn’t we go to the playground when it was a nice day today? Why didn’t I read just one more book with them tonight?” We can always be better & do better, but right now we are doing what we can. As Scarlett O’Hara says… Tomorrow is another day!
Now take today and just enjoy your kids! Have fun with them and do something completely silly! Laugh, play with them and enjoy them… and then those feelings of guilt will melt away!
Do you ever struggle with mom guilt? If so, what are some tips you have learned?