Mom guilt is something that can really make motherhood feel like an unpleasant circumstance. It is pervasive in our culture. Maybe because we are all over-sharers in the age of social media. Or because we have a gadget, method, and study for every single parenting choice. Either way feeling guilty about how you mother your child will never amount to anything good.
Mom guilt makes you feel uneasy about the decisions you make for your child. Mom guilt is sometimes self-induced but a lot of times it stems from others: friends, family, and even strangers.
This guilt creeps in on us in a variety of different ways. Maybe a tiny comment a friend makes at the park, an awkward response from a stranger, an adamant opinion from a family member, or even a random person on the internet. Differences in thinking and child rearing can be great. So long as we have healthy boundaries to protect ourselves from over analytical self sabotage.
So let’s do the mom guilt stuff less, okay?
Ask Yourself Why You Feel Guilty
When you are starting to feel mom guilt creeping in you need to ask yourself why you feel guilty. It’s a simple question and can really help distinguish what your next step should be. There are several reasons you could be feeling guilty such as you:
- actually did something wrong
- changed your mind about something differ in parenting from others
- feel uninformed
- don’t like the parenting choice you made
- were mocked you for your decisions as a parent
- do things differently from someone you look up to and respect
- were told the way you parent is harming your child
It could be a number of things, or multiple. Okay now that you identified the main reason you feel guilty you can move on to the next step.
Address the Guilt
No one wants to live with the weight of guilt on their shoulders. Especially us mamas who already have bad posture from carrying babies and probably could benefit from a chiropractic adjustment as it is.
Okay you feel guilty, time to address it and move on.
If you feel guilty for being uninformed, get more information. Reach out to a mom who has experience in what you are interested in learning about. Borrow some books from the library. Get connected with others online. Be proactive and do not procrastinate and let it simmer in your brain. If you do not care to learn more on the subject… well it really is not a big deal to you. So don’t let it make you feel guilty, silly goose.
Sometimes the guilt we feel is external. It’s more about someone judging a choice we made in the past or a current parenting decision. To those instances we are given an opportunity to practice being wrong. Try to honestly assess if there is any weight to what this other person has to say. If there is no weight, let it go. However, if there is some weight give yourself grace, you are only human. If it is in the past forgive yourself for whatever it is and move forward. If not then start changing whatever you need to. Don’t allow yourself to just sit in guilt. That won’t help.
If you are feeling external guilt because you have gone against the grain of the majority, don’t. There has to have been a significant reason you went against the grain in the first place. At the end of the day what others think of you and how you parent matters very little, or more like not at all.
Prevent Mom Guilt
The best way to avoid mom guilt is to prevent it in the first place. Do not allow yourself to feel bad for the way you choose to parent. Criticism does not mean you are a bad mother. It is part of life. Sometimes the best lessons are learned from those who are seeking to do harm. Make the best of the big critics. Use your failures to change into an even better mother.
How to Practically Prevent That Mama Guilt
Remember Who’s in Charge
You are in charge mama. The choices you make as a parent will be your responsibility not anyone else’s (except maybe your spouse). It will all ultimately be on you, the positive and negative consequences that occur from your parenting choices.
Does a CEO of the company let the hourly wage employee make the big decisions? Of course not! You can still take the employee’s opinion into consideration, but you also have the freedom to completely dismiss it altogether. Don’t let other people run your family business. Sure they can help sometimes, but cut them loose if they get out of line.
Choose to Have Peace
Resolve to have peace in your decisions as a mother. You will NEVER be perfect. Do not waste time fretting on whether you have done everything properly, you likely haven’t. That’s okay. You cannot have unattainable standards and expect to lead a peaceful life. Know you will fail at times and be okay with it. You can always work to make things better, but you won’t get better crying about it.
If you are married you may differ in ideas of what parenting should look like. Talk it over with your spouse to decide how you will deal with conflict. For example if it is not a big deal to me I defer to my husband. If it is something that is a big decision I explain my reasoning and we usually resolve to try things out and see how they go. In the long run I always defer to my husband, it’s much easier this way. Disagreement between parents is a sure way to lack peace. Choose peace if not for your marriage, for the sake of your children.
Stop the Comparison
Comparing yourself to other moms who lead completely different lives than you makes no sense. Same goes with comparing your child to other children. There is a lot to learn from other moms and children. However; there are a lot of things that will look completely differently because you and your child are unique. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others try looking inward. Comparison often stems from feelings of inadequacy. Work on feeling content in your circumstance and happy with yourself. Don’t feel guilty for being different.
Since we have the internet these days it is a lot easier to see a small sliver of another’s life and assume they have it all. No one has it all. If you see a mom who makes everything by hand and wonder how she is so perfect just remember she is choosing to not take up other tasks.
If you feel yourself desiring to grow in a certain area, such as cooking from scratch. First figure out what task/s you will put down. You will never be able to do everything. Trust me I have tried. You will end up burnt out crying alongside your child. Comparison allows for feelings of guilt to creep in, allow each person to be not your competition but your teacher. They might show you something new or exactly the kind of parent you don’t want to be. Either way you’re learning.
Guilt Has No Place in Motherhood
Guilt will never make you a good mother. Mom guilt is something we do not need in our lives as moms. If you are feeling mom guilt resolve to address it and prevent it from happening next time. If a certain person or group of people induce guilty feelings, distance yourself from them.
It is okay to change overtime and slowly grow and change as you become a more seasoned mother. Allow yourself grace to grow in the areas you desire without rushing.