Around 2 years ago, I can remember having a conversation with a friend about how I wasn’t going to be “one of those Moms” that felt guilty about every decision I made. I was going to be confident in the choices that I made for my kid and I wasn’t going to let him dictate my life.
I obviously had no idea what I was talking about.
As soon as my son was born, I immediately came to realize that I would be “feeling guilty” everyday for the rest of my life about some aspect of my relationship with him. Thankfully, it wasn’t too long after that, that I also realized that I could either choose to let that guilt weigh me down, or I could use it to better myself and my relationship with my child.
What is Mom guilt?
Mom guilt is that pervasive feeling of guilt about actions, decisions or choices you make (or don’t make) about your children. It’s that nasty voice of doubt in the back of your head telling you that you didn’t do enough, or that you did too much. It’s a state of being that we, as moms, can either choose to live in or choose to use to build connection with our children.
Guilt is good!
I know…it sounds a little crazy but feeling guilty means we care! It comes out of our ability to feel others’ pain and our desire to maintain connections. Feeling guilt gives us the opportunity to evaluate our motives and/or actions (i.e. Should I apologize to my children?) It can allow us to model forgiveness, even in those situations where our children might not deserve it; and it is in these moments, that we get the privilege to teach our children valuable life skills (forgiveness, grace, compassion).
How do I take charge of my guilt?
Here are a few ways to take control of your guilt and keep it as a positive aspect of your relationship with your children.
- Pursue a passion: Don’t lose yourself in your children; you need something different that is personally meaningful to you to devout some energy too; something that cultivates creativity or fulfills a dream! This gives you the ability to remember that you are someone outside of your Little’s and your Little’s the chance to see what pursuing your passions can look like.
- Indulge in a guilty pleasure: “TREAT YO SELF!” If you need a little time out but don’t necessarily have the time, a little indulgence won’t hurt! Stop for that ice cream cone or Starbucks; buy or rent that book you’ve been wanting to read! (No; getting 1 lick of your child’s ice cream cone DOES NOT count!)
- Time management: It is so important to set aside time for yourself every day; prioritizing 30 minutes to an hour a day exclusively for YOU (not your to do list, not your friends, not work, not your phone) but YOU, can go such a long way! Sure, you could have cleaned the bathrooms, but are clean bathrooms worth your sense of self?
It’s important to remember that you are not perfect (and THAT’S OK!). Give yourself grace Momma, because motherhood is HARD! Use that twinge of guilt to evaluate your actions and connect with your children; don’t let it control you! Remember, the days are long but the years are short, so find some aspect of your parenting that you can be proud of every day!
For more support and and ideas on conquering your mom guilt, schedule an appointment with any of our competent counselors at Amy Wine Counseling. Call us at 832-421-8714 or email us!