Dealing with Mom Guilt
I dealt with mom guilt for a good 2 years after my son was born. I had to return to work very early on. It wasn’t a choice I had at that time. I questioned myself as a mom…a lot. It was hard. Hard on top of it already being hard with having a baby (my first!) and being a parent in this crazy world we live in.
Whether it’s your 1st baby or 4th you never know how things are going to go.
You can plan as much as possible, but frankly, between the baby and your body, things are going to just happen. What happened with your first may be completely different from your second and so on. No matter your situation, a new baby changes the dynamics. There is a level of adjustment no matter what.
I think mom guilt is something that almost comes with the territory of being a parent in 2019.
We feel pressure coming at us from all angles. We are bombarded with messages as moms. Messages about where and how you should plan to deliver your baby. Is a birthing center better than the hospital? Should you have the baby at home? Then there’s breast feeding and the pressure to make it work because “breast is best.” There are opinions about every stage babies experience.
If you are a working mama, you may experience this dreaded mom guilt from being away from your baby. Are you doing the right thing? Is this going to affect my baby negatively? Am I being a bad mom? On top of the stress of going back to work and having a new baby, emotions like guilt can be super charged.
If you are a stay-at-home mama, you may question if you’re doing enough. Should you be working outside the home? You may question your sanity daily. You may question your identity as a woman as you pour out yourself every day so your little ones can thrive.
The expectations are crazy unrealistic for parents these days.
It doesn’t really help that with all the technology available, we see what other parents are doing from all over the world. First birthday parties are a great example. Some of us put SO much pressure on ourselves to throw an amazing party for someone who won’t even remember one second of it.
If any of this resonates with you, hang in there mama. Here’s a few tips to deal with the guilt.
- Try to be more aware of the fact that you are having these thoughts that are making you feel guilty. You can’t change something if you don’t know it’s happening.
- Write those guilty thoughts down. It can be in a journal, notebook, or even the notes section on your phone.
- Reframe them to something positive. If you wrote the thought down, below it, re-write the statement into a more positive one. You can also do this in your head or out loud if that makes more sense for you. An example is if you wrote down, “I’m not a good mom” then you can re-write it to say something like “I’m the right mom for my kids and I’m doing the very best I can” or “there’s no perfect parent, I’m doing a great job.” Choose words that make sense for you.
- In addition to reframing the guilty thoughts, I think it’s super helpful to have a quote, scripture, or mantra that is meaningful for you. That mantra or statement can even be based on what you wrote above in #3. I like keeping it short and simple. For example, telling yourself, “I’m doing a great job as a mama” is a great way to show yourself love. Repeat your positive statement as often as needed. Speak to yourself with the same kindness and love you do your children.
Guilt is just one of the many emotions we feel as moms.
Society has set a bar for parenting that no one can realistically achieve. Listen mama, you set your own standard for the parent you want to be. Do what feels right for you and your family. Be consistent with speaking gentleness and kindness to yourself.
Authored by: Maria Inoa
Maria Inoa is a licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Full Potential Counseling. With over 12 years of experience, she specializes in working with women on building healthier relationships with themselves and others. She strongly believes that women are warriors and that every woman has worth, significance, and purpose. Maria provides in-person sessions at her office in the Ortega area as well as online sessions for the busy woman.