That dreadful feeling you have every time you aren’t with your child? It has a name. Mom Guilt. Some moms experience mom guilt at higher levels than others or for different reasons. This in no way makes you a better or worse mom than the next. It is simply something that comes with being a mom. There are several situations that might cause a mom to feel guilt. Being a working mom, being stay at home mom not bringing in any income, having a date night without the kids, not breastfeeding, or breastfeeding and hating it. The list could go on and on for miles. Heck, I am sitting here writing after my kids are in bed and I am feeling guilt that I am not getting more sleep in order to have more energy for my kids. Ridiculous, right? Us moms should be able to do things for ourselves without feeling guilty. So, I have compiled a short list of things that can help lessen the dreaded mom guilt.
Be intentional and engaged
I find my mom guilt is at it’s worst when I know I wasn’t completely engaged with my kids that day. Be intentional about focusing your attention on the kids while they are awake. Try leaving your electronic devices in your bedroom. If you feel uncomfortable not having your phone, check it briefly at planned intervals throughout the day.
Try to wake up shortly before the kids and get a few chores done. This will help you feel like you have accomplished something, leaving more time to spend time with your kids. Knowing that you are usually 100% engaged with your kids will lessen the guilt when you need some time for yourself.
Stop comparing yourself to other moms
I remember when I had my daughter I would see other moms with their newborn, smiling in Facebook photos at a baseball game or trying out a new restaurant. I would automatically feel like I wasn’t as good of a mom because I couldn’t fathom taking my colicky newborn in a crowded public place. The thought would send my anxiety levels through the roof! It wasn’t until I had my second child, who is much more easy going that I understood how this could be done. Remember, every child is different, every mom is different, and every situation is different. I should also note here that this can be a viscous cycle. As moms, we tend to post the highlights of our day while leaving out the messy aspects of real life. This is all great and fine but let’s all remember to be real with each other too. Help each other out, and lift each other up at the same time. We are all in this together!
Create a routine
Having a plan for your day always helps. You may or may not get much accomplished, but if you have a plan, at least you know you have accomplished something.Having a similar routine each day will help you to get more accomplished and the kids will learn what they can expect each day.
- Weather you work out, chat with a friend, sip a cup of coffee, or watch an episode of your favorite TV show, carve out some time for yourself each day. Maybe it is during nap time or when the kids go down for the night. Knowing you will have time for yourself at some point in the day helps you to focus more on the kids when they are awake.
- Plan what times of day you will do some cleaning and how much. You may just plan to deep clean one room (or thing) a day, and that may be all you can fit in. That is okay! Write it in your plan so that you know what you need to get done and what can wait.
- Finally, plan out some activities for the kids. I like to plan a small activity in the morning, like outdoor play, and a longer activity in the afternoon, like going to the pool. Plan to stay focused on the kids 100% during this time.
Check out my sample daily routine below!
Just do it
If you are feeling guilt about going out and not being with your kids 24/7, ignore the guilt. No matter how bad you are feeling at first, just do it. Go out with your girlfriends, hire a babysitter while you get out with your hubby or significant other, go sit and have coffee alone. You may feel guilty for a little bit, but chances are, if you do something you enjoy you will end up having a great time and you won’t regret it. In fact, it may be just what you needed to come back to your kids feeling refreshed and ready to give them 100% again.
If you are having guilt about your work situation or breastfeeding, remember, there is a reason that you are doing what you are doing. Don’t let your guilt get in the way of what is best for your family. If you feel the guilt is because you are doing something you shouldn’t be or not doing something you should be, maybe it is time to make a change. Take some time to evaluate the situation and weather or not it is the right thing for you and your family. If not, take steps to make the change!
Give yourself some grace
Remember, you are human. You have needs just like your kids do. You cannot meet the needs of your children without meeting yours too. Trust me, if you take care of yourself you will be a better mom for it. It’s really a win-win for everyone!
Do you ever struggle with this feeling of mom guilt? Is there something you do to keep it at bay? If so, tell us about it in the comments below. We can all benefit from other mom’s words of wisdom.