Let’s talk about Mom Guilt…That’s right. Mom guilt. So many moms suffer from mom guilt, myself included. I’m not saying that you should not feel mom guilt. Nor should you deny that you feel mom guilt because mom guilt is real. What I am saying is you can feel it, acknowledge it, and then release mom guilt.
Why? Because in most cases, mom guilt is completely unwarranted and unnecessary.
You pour so much into your families, the last thing you need to do is punish yourself with mom guilt when you pour into yourself. You can’t enjoy the things that you need to do for yourself if you are beating yourself up over the fact that you are not doing something for your kids or your partners or whomever is on your list of people you care for.
If you are going to practice selfcare but you spend your entire time feeling bad about it, it won’t serve you. That selfcare was a waste of time because you didn’t really take time to care for yourself. You took the time to feel bad about caring for yourself. You have to invest in your selfcare without being riddled with the guilt.
Now let’s address where the feeling of mom guilt comes from. Guilt stems from the belief that you have compromised your standards or violated a universal moral standard. The problem is that many of us have created an unattainable standard for motherhood that no mother can live up to. Always comparing yourself to this unrealistic standard can leave you in a perpetual state of guilt that is completely unwarranted.
But no matter how unwarranted mom guilt is, the fact of the matter is, many of us moms can’t seem to shake the feeling. So what do you do about it?
When the feeling of guilt comes up, the first thing to do is acknowledge it. “I’m feeling mom guilt, I’m feeling guilty about this…” Don’t beat yourself up for having the feeling or push the feeling away. Feel the feeling and acknowledge you are experiencing it.
The next step is to take a moment to think about the guilt you feeling in a rational way. “Why am I feeling guilty about this? Did I actually do anything I should feel guilty about?” A good question to ask yourself is, “If my friend did the same thing, would I think she should feel guilty?” If the answer is no, it’s time to release your mom guilt.
Now releasing mom guilt is not easy. It takes time and practice. The first couple of times you try to release it, it will continue to nag at you. It will make you believe you really do have something to feel guilty about. But stand strong and don’t start beating yourself up.
Even if you have to say to yourself over and over, “I did nothing wrong.” It might take a few times and it may take 100 times before you are able to completely release mo guilt when it first rears its ugly head.
When you feel that feeling say to yourself, “Oh, there’s that mom guilt coming up for me.” Take a breath and let it go. “That’s okay. I’m going to take care of myself right now and then I’ll get to all the other things I need to do for other people. But right now, it’s about me and that’s okay.”
Don’t ruin your time taking care of yourself focused on what you should be doing for others. There are only so many hours in the day and there is no way that we can do everything for everybody. There is no way that you will accomplish everything on the to-do list every day. It’s just not gonna happen. You deserve to reserve some of the time in your day to practice selfcare.
How come we never feel guilty about spending all our time on caring for others?
The fact is your family will be there when you are done taking that hot bath. They will be there when you get back from your therapy session. And guess what? When you are done taking care of yourself, you will be able to take better care of everybody else. It’s true.
You will enjoy motherhood much more when you are feeling good. Then you can give more of yourself to your children, your spouse or partner, your job. When you invest time into your selfcare and you have more to give to all of those that require care from you.
And whether that is 10 minutes for yourself , an hour, a weekend…or hell, maybe you get to take two weeks away and do something that you love doing, you do that. You release that mom guilt and take that time out for you so you can be a better mama for everybody else.
Elisha Beach is a stay-at-home mom to four kids and four step-kids…Yes, you read that right—eight kids. She is a wife, home cook, taxi driver, herder of children, terrible housekeeper, selfcare advocate and founder of The Mom Forum.
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