Saying Goodbye to Mommy Guilt

Chances are you know this feeling well. For me, it usually sneaks into my brain those first calm moments at the end of the day when I’m lying in bed. There’s blissful silence, I’m finally not being needed or constantly touched by someone and I can think clearly about all the ups and downs of the day. The rough moments are what always pop into my head first. Those moments where I lost my cool, when I acted more like a toddler than the toddler did, when I said “no” but really should have said “yes” more, when I felt like I couldn’t stand another minute of being pulled on, touched or needed…you know the drill. In the darkness of my bed, the nagging feeling of not quite living up to the expectations that I put on myself takes hold. As moms, we tend to berate ourselves and can be our worst critics.

I love being mom, but damn, some days it can be overwhelming.

Social media is a great thing, but it certainly can also play mind games. Most feeds are full of sweet, perfect moments. No one wants to air their dirty laundry or less than perfect selves. I try to do a mix of the good and bad to help portray how motherhood really is, but let’s be honest, no one wants a Debbie Downer or to focus on the negative. Plus, putting ourselves out there puts us at risk for being judged, and we all know that there are already copious amounts of mom shaming out there (Gorilla Mom, anyone?).

It doesn’t help that everywhere you look, people have opinions and guidelines on what you should (or shouldn’t) do as a parent. Some are mere suggestions, but some are pushed so heavily that it wears on you after awhile. Bottom line, we all have this idea in our head as to what a perfect parent is and what they should/shouldn’t do. Being a mom is a huge part of my identity so I often feel pressure that those good, bad and wonderful moments are a reflection or indication of how I’m handling this parenting thing. Despite that, kids are kids, and sometimes they can be wild, crazy and their temperaments can play a huge factor in behaviors and attitudes.

The power of thought is a powerful thing. I’m going to do my best to work on alleviating the “mommy guilt” and change it in when those late night thoughts and those moments of doubt sneak in.

mommy-guilt-pinterest

Below are a few of the ways I’m working on dealing with “Mommy Guilt”:

Focus on the Good

Focus on the things that went well: the laughs, snuggles, the cute phrases, pleases and thank you’s, the look of pride when something new is learned or a feat or hiccup is endured. Those little moments are what matter, not that they had chicken nuggets 3 times this week (it happens).

Count to Three

Seriously. Most of my guilt comes from outburst when my patience has been tried too many times. Instead of reacting, count to 3 in order to allow you to think before reacting. Not only does this help anger/frustration dissipate and for you to be more mindful to why your upset, but it also teaches your child(ren) a new way to handle anger as well.

Figure Out If It Really Matters

Is your guilt justified? Most times I find it’s really not a big blip on the radar long term. If it is something that you think needs to be handled, find new ways to handle it. Find a happy medium somewhere and makes goals and steps to work towards. And as for that other “stuff” – let it go! Don’t let it sneak in and take away from those moments when you were a rockstar parent (which you are, by the way!).

Find a Mom Tribe

Sometimes you just need to vent and let it out. That tribe doesn’t even have to be in person (although that real life social interaction is definitely needed, especially if you’re a SAHM). I have several great online groups of “friends” that are there for a vent session along with a small group of mamas that live nearby. This prevents me from venting all the days frustrations to my husband when he walks in the door from work too (although, that definitely happens).

Social Media Lies

Remember, most people only post what they want others to see. Pinterest makes it seem like every parent should plan the most spectacular and amazing events, playtimes, dinners, birthdays, lesson plans, you-name-it. You don’t see the every day battles, tantrums, tears, spilled milk, piles of laundry that plague us all on the rollercoaster ride of parenting.

A bad day (or bad moment), doesn’t make a bad mom. Let’s stop putting ridiculous stress on ourselves to be perfect Pinterest parents. Embrace the mommy guilt, but don’t let it take over.  A little guilt now and then means you care, but stop comparing yourself to everyone and stop beating yourself up over it. You know what’s best for you and your family and ultimately, that’s the only thing that matters.

By | 2016-11-16T13:52:16+00:00 July 29th, 2016|family|32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Lauren | also known as mama July 29, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Love this! My mom guilt hits me hard at night. I lay in bed, not being able to fall asleep, feeling guilty about the day. I think that I didn’t feed my son enough healthy foods and I didn’t do tummy time long enough with my daughter. It’s hard to fight the feelings – thanks for offering some tips on combatting it!

  2. Kristie July 29, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Ahhh yes! This is so true. Social media can be an evil culprit in this case. Thanks for highlighting that. I need a mama tribe. That’s a good one.

  3. Erica July 29, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I swear it’s the hardest part of being a parent! But you will get through it

  4. Lisa July 29, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    There are days when the baby is fussy and work is busy and nothing is going right and I sometimes use TV to just veg out and disconnect. Then I feel guilty like I shouldn’t be watching TV, I should be enjoying every single minute and second that I have with my baby before going back to work full time. But it’s hard being “on” 24/7!

  5. Jen Enoch July 29, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    I’ve been there, I get it! I love all these tips. When I feel like the day just needs to be over, i’ll put the kids to bed a bit early. When my son was younger, he didn’t know what time it was, but now we just tell him he can play in his room for a little, then go to bed. This is the extreme version of your “count to three” 🙂 You’re right, comparison doesn’t help anyone. Great tips! thanks

  6. linda spiker July 29, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Gosh I preach this all the time. Guilt is so pointless and non productive!

  7. Dawnene - Beans & Peanuts July 30, 2016 at 3:33 am

    Love this! I have a post about mom guilt on my blog as well, with another one coming. And your right, it’s always there but it really creeps in at night time. I feel like it’s a sign that we love our children and are looking for ways to improve, ways to be a better mom. It can be overwhelming, but it’s not entirely a bad thing!

  8. Heydy July 30, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Oh mama ! I feel you so much on this . I love the tips you gave and I’m sure the tips you listed will help a mama late at night 🙂

  9. Aileen July 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    What you described at the beginning of your post was me in bed last night! I laid in my bed – perfectly quiet house – and beat myself up for my imperfections throughout the day. Really? My kids are fine, they had a great day. I just need to let go and give myself grace. Thanks. 🙂

  10. Christy Garrett July 31, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I am so thankful that I don’t buy into the mommy guilt. I do; however; deal with guilt with having a chronic illness. It has taken a toll on me. I need to start a simple gratitude journal so that I can focus on the positive.

  11. Stefanie July 31, 2016 at 2:56 am

    Great post! I’m certain that all moms struggle with mommy guilt. At the end of the day, I try to focus on all the good moments and remind myself that tomorrow is a new day!

  12. chanel August 1, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    this is so spot on! Counting to three is a must … or in my case maybe 10 🙂

  13. Emma @Kids, Cash and Chaos August 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I try to be real on social media, but it is hard when everyone else is posting those perfect moments. One of the other things I try to do is make sure I apologise to my kids if I lose my temper. It helps them to see what a nice apology looks like and makes me feel less guilty for loosing it.

  14. candy August 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Important to find a mom tribe as you call it. Support and just being able to talk to another adult is such a big thing for stay at home moms. No guilt all you moms are doing a great job.

  15. Kim August 1, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Yes! Focusing on the good and remembering that social media lies is so good! I have to remind myself of these things too often.

  16. Jenn August 1, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Awesome! It is so important to remember not to be too hard on ourselves, give ourselves a little grace and know that we are doing the best we can! Thank you for writing this!

  17. Heather Denniston August 1, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Mum tribe is great but it has to be real, shields down, admit the ugly, kind of friendship. You need to be able to call these friends and say “Yes, I just completely lost my $#@&.” and have them say “Totes been there.”

  18. Dia All The Things I Do August 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I’m not a mom and don’t plan on having kids so I can’t speak to much on this except for what I’ve been told by friends and family members that are. I think in general it’s easy to let the outside world makes feel like we aren’t where we are supposed to be in life but comparison is a deadly game no matter what you are comparing; jobs, looks, talents, parenting skills, love, etc. There are mother’s who don’t even stick around so if you are there and you are trying you are rocking it. Some times you have to pat yourself on the back, take a few deep breaths and just keep going.

  19. McKinzie @ Moms Make Cents August 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Love this! I am way too quick to compare myself with other mamas. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have a happy, intelligent little boy and I am doing a great job!

  20. Lauren August 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    yes to all of this! Comparison is the thief of joy, so don’t let what you see on social media phase you! It’s like photo albums.. you only select the best pictures! 😉

  21. Emily August 1, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    I don’t have any kids yet, but these tips are definitely true for a lot of other “guilt” feelings. Comparison is death!

  22. Sophia August 2, 2016 at 1:58 am

    I kept hearing about mommy guilt. For some reason I have no problem with that what so ever.

  23. Jen C August 2, 2016 at 2:46 am

    Love this! It is so easy to fall into the comparison trap. Finding a tribe makes such a difference.

  24. Naya @ Lactivist in Louboutins August 2, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Great tips! I hate dealing with Mommy Guilt, as it seems to pop up at the worst possible times.

  25. Liz Mays August 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Stopping yourself from those quick reactions by counting is a good idea! It can be hard to do sometimes.

  26. Diedre August 2, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Finding a mom tribe has really helped me. Especially since I’ve become a blogger, I’ve connected with so many inspiring women who understand the joys and trials of motherhood. You listed some really great suggestions. I also like your suggestion of focusing on the good.

  27. Angie Scheie August 2, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Even though these are for moms, applying a lot of those principles for myself right now. I’m in a super stressful period and can use them!

  28. Andi August 3, 2016 at 1:20 am

    I think that social media, especially as a blogger, can make the mommy guilt all too real sometimes. We see other blogging moms looking perfectly put together for their Target trip or planning the perfect event or cooking in a clean kitchen, and we wonder what value we could possibly bring to an audience or our own children for that matter. It’s easy to get caught up in the lie, and I love that you called attention to that.

  29. Tamara August 3, 2016 at 5:07 am

    I’ve been counting to three a whole lot lately

  30. Kristen from The Road to Domestication August 3, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I’m gonna have to save this post…due to the fact that I’m due with twin girls this month…I’m sure I’ll need it!

  31. The Southern Stylista August 4, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    I’m passing this on to my sister, she’s such a great mom but sometimes beats her self up over the “mommy guilt” and I hate that for her!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

  32. tara pittman August 6, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Even after 5 kids I have mom guilt. It never seems to go away with me.

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