Mom guilt. We’ve all felt it. Some days it seems to creep up more often than not. That feeling that we’re not doing enough, we’re not good enough. At times we can shake it. Other times it feels as if it’s sucking the life out of us. Mamas, that is no way to live! Feeling guilty doesn’t help your kids, and it definitely doesn’t help you. So I’m going to share 5 ways to overcome mom guilt. If you don’t know how to overcome mom guilt, these tools can help you.
Let’s Define Mom Guilt
First let’s define what we’re talking about so we’re all on the same page. Healthline has an article with a good description. It says, “it simply means that pervasive feeling of not doing enough as a parent, not doing things right, or making decisions that may “mess up” your kids in the long run.” Sound familiar?
We all find ourselves asking those questions such as, “Am I spending enough time with my children?” “Am I providing a good enough education for them?” “Did I just damage my child for life?” Asking the questions is one thing, but when they become constant questions that won’t go away, or they turn into statements instead of questions, you’re living with mom guilt.
5 Ways to Overcome Mom Guilt
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s discuss those tools you can use to overcome the mom guilt. There’s a good chance it won’t go away once and for all. This feeling of guilt has a tendency to creep up over and over. But when it does rear its ugly head, these tools will help you find your way and overcome.
1. Recognize Mom Guilt is a Lie
This is one of the most important steps in overcoming those feelings of guilt. Guilt almost always stems from lies, not the truth. And a large majority of the time those lies are made up in our own heads. Sure, you’ll find those judgy moms, but the majority of your guilt comes from your own thoughts, not theirs.
When you begin to think those negative thoughts about your parenting, take a moment to stop and recognize that those are negative thoughts. Once you’ve made that realization that you’re thinking negatively towards yourself, recognize that the thought you just had is a lie. It is not the truth. If it helps, say it out loud. Tell yourself out loud that the thought you just had is a lie. Even if you don’t do it out loud, make the conscious effort to say it to yourself in your head.
Tell yourself, “That is a lie. That is not the truth. I am a good mom.” Maybe it doesn’t help at first. Maybe it feels awkward. But at the very least this makes you stop for a moment and recognize that you’re carrying negative thoughts. And the more you start to recognize these lies, the more things will begin to change.
2. Focus on the Truths
Once we recognize that our mom guilt is based mostly on lies, the second key is to focus on the truth. Most of those self-doubt questions we ask boil down to this. “Am I a good enough mother?” When you find yourself feeling guilty as a mother, instead of focusing on those negative nagging questions, ask yourself these questions.
- Did I feed my child today?
- Does my child have a bed to sleep in and clothes to wear?
- Is my child generally happy?
- Do I enjoy spending time with my children?
- Do I love my children?
These are the questions we need to be focusing on. Sure, we mess up sometimes. But even in the midst of that, are our children’s basic needs taken care of? Do we love and care for our children? This is the truth we focus on.
3. Recognize Triggers
Often times our feelings of guilt can be triggered by specific instances or surroundings that remind us experiences in the past.
- Are there certain things you didn’t like about how your parents did parenting and you find yourself doing the same thing or reacting the same way?
- Did you experience trauma in your past that is now playing into your own feelings of guilt?
- Do you struggle with depression or other mental health issues?
- Is it most often triggered when you compare yourself to other moms?
Any and all of these can be triggers, as well as others not named. You may not be able to recognize what your triggers may be at first. But begin to be aware of when you begin to feel guilty. Jot it down in a journal, and over time you may be able to connect the dots. Being able to recognize when your mom guilt is triggered can help you avoid those situations, or at least be prepared to handle them in a positive way.
4. Stop Comparing
Comparing yourself to other moms can be a huge contributor to those feelings of mom guilt. We tend to look at other moms and think they’re doing it a whole lot better than we are. What you don’t know is what things look like behind closed doors. That mama that always looks put together and perfect may cry in her closet just as much as you. Her house may be just as messy as yours.
But here’s the thing. Even if it isn’t, IT DOESN’T MATTER! Everyone parents differently, every family lifestyle is different, and that’s okay. You need to accept who you are and be proud of the way you fiercely love your children. I promise you will be so much happier if you focus on you and your family instead of on what other moms are doing or how they look.
5. Spend Time With Those Who Support and Encourage
Being around other moms that will support you is one of the most helpful thing you can do to overcome mom guilt. Instead of causing you to feel inferior and judging your actions, these women encourage you, listen to you, and understand where you’re coming from.
They may parent the same way as you and live a similar lifestyle so it’s easy for you to relate to each other. Or, they may be completely different than you, but they are still a supportive and encouraging friend. Either way, these people will help you get rid of the guilt and shame you may be carrying as a mother.
If you’re able to find a group of moms in your area that you can spend time with in-person, that’s the best option. But, I know that doesn’t always work out for everyone. If you haven’t found a group of supportive moms you can spend time with, or you need a little more than the once-per-week meet ups, an online group might be a great option.
Mama, it is time to stop living in a downward spiral of guilt and start loving your life. Start using these 5 ways to overcome mom guilt, and you will begin to see a change. It won’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t mean that guilt won’t try to creep back in. Believe me, it does for all of us. But, you have some tools to help you face it. Do not let it get the best of you. You got this mama.