Do you feel like a bad mom? Did your kids eat ice cream for dinner and now you feel guilty over it? Or perhaps you did not give them a bath when they needed one, cue the guilt.
Maybe you played all day with them, and then sang them songs, but they cried when you told them it was bedtime, cue the guilt.
You all know what I am talking about, that ugly, nagging, plague of mom guilt that seems to creep in on all us mamas. It can come on us even when we have done our very best parenting. Yeah, can I just say I am over it! And let’s get real for a minute; having mom guilt does not make us a better parent.
In fact, I would argue that mom guilt makes us worse parents. But what causes us to feel guilty in the first place? Is it that need to be perfect parents and so when we feel like we failed or did not reach expectations, we feel guilty?
I mean seriously, what is it? We all go through it. We all feel it.
From my perspective, I think that it comes from the pressure that we put on ourselves to be good moms. We feel like in order to be good moms we need to measure up to some standard of what good motherhood looks like.
Now, I am not saying go be a crappy parent to your kids, or stop trying, or to be okay with everything failing and floundering all the time. But what I am saying, we moms need to chill out. We need to stop thinking that our kids are going to be broken because we did not feed them enough vegetables. Or that they will do something awful because we had to work outside our homes. They will not make mistakes because of our lack of attention when we need to clean our house, or simply need a moment to ourselves. You can do everything wrong and your kids could grow up to be the best adults ever. You could do everything right and they may grow up to be the worst adults ever.
Guess what ladies, as much as we feel the weight of guilt as moms, we have to realize that it is not effective. It is not helping our kids. It does not make us better moms. I think that it cripples us. We make choices out of our feelings of guilt rather than out of our wisdom, nurturing, love, and care. Guilt drives us to spoil, or it causes us to falter, it does not cause us to succeed.
For me, guilt came often in the past three years of having my son. I went to school full time, then dealt with a pregnancy while in school. There were many times that I could not dedicate full attention to my little Oliver. And boy did I feel the guilt from it. So my solution was: buy him toys, he will play and be entertained and I will work. He feels loved, I feel less guilty.
How dumb is that? I mean guys, buy your kids’ stuff if you want, but seriously, no thing that we buy them replaces their need for our presence in their life. And really I was being so plagued by feeling guilty from not being able to spend time with him the way I wanted that when I did spend time with him it was ineffective. Or because I bought something, I justified extra time away from him that I normally would have dedicated to him. So really my solution to mom guilt just made the original cause of the guilt larger to begin with!
So yeah, I am here today to tell you moms it’s time to part ways with your guilt. Kiss it goodbye and never let it in the door again. If you are worried about being a good mom, you already are one. Stop focusing on the things that you don’t do as a mom and focus on what you do for your kids. Here are some ways to kiss mom guilt good bye for good:
1. Lay down the burden of guilt and replace it with one new way you can love your kids, teach your kids, help your kids, help yourself, encourage your kids, build them up, or enrich their life.
2. Stop focusing on what you think you have failed at.
3. Do what you have to do in life, whether that is work, stay at home, go to school, work from home, put your kids in daycare, or have your kids stay with you.
4. Make the best choices you can and stop feeling guilty for anything else.
5. Don’t focus on your failures. Focus on your successes.
6. If you yell or get mad unnecessarily apologize to your child, forgive yourself and move on. If you have to raise your voice sometimes, stop feeling bad about it!
7. Stop comparing what other moms do, your kids don’t need them, they need you and your unique way that you can parent them.
8. Some days may be busier and more content filled then others. Some may require your attention on other things. Don’t feel guilty over the days that your kids don’t get your full attention; give them your attention as you can. Kids need to learn that the world does not revolve around them getting attention 24/7 anyways!
9. Love your kids. Make choices out of your love for them, not out of your guilt as a parent.
Mamas can we all just agree to do this? To move on from this ugly, guilty crap that is weighing us down as people, parents, and women? Kiss mom guilt goodbye today!