Mom guilt stems from feelings of inadequacy- feeling of not living up to your responsibilities as a mother. The reality is if you are feeling guilty or worried about being a good mom, then this actually indicates that you are a wonderful caring mother! Acknowledging these feelings is both healthy and normal. Here are 5 tips to help combat the mom-guilts.
1- Self Care - It's very easy to lose yourself when so much of your energy is spent caring for your new little one. Force yourself to schedule personal time where you look after you- you are totally worth it, and don't let anyone tell you different! Doing something you love, like exercising, dancing, baking, reading a book, going for a walk, getting outdoors, having a nap, or if you’re like me maybe it’s having a margarita on the patio - doing whatever you like to do will help you recharge and re-balance.
2- Set Realistic Expectations - Make peace with the fact you wont be able to do everything you want to accomplish. And it's ok- no one is perfect. Beating yourself up for this- is not a good use of your time or energy!
3- Get Support/ Help. It's ok to ask for help. Your partner, your friends, your mom, support group, your health practitioner, your mom tribe and sometimes even YouTube are all good resources. Sometimes we get the impression that we are on our own and if we can’t do everything by ourselves we will be judged…(I am personally speaking about my ex-mother in law in this instance LOL). And trust me, there is something else I’ve learned the hard way...and it's that your partner is not a mind reader! They don't know what you need, when you need it - you actually have to communicate it to them- true story.
4- Avoid comparison- OH Instagram feed how I love and hate you at the same time. Let's get real- the truth about social media is that when you see those other “perfect family” posts, it’s actually just one snippet in a moment in time, which is not their reality 24/7. Comparing your entire life as a mom to someone's story moment is not an accurate reflection of their entire experience as a mom- the reality is that they most likely feel exactly the same as you. Comparison is something most of us struggle with. If you see another mom that “has it all together”, and you’re tempted to compare yourself to, try asking her; “I really loved how you handled that situation- tell me your trick?” You will be pleasantly surprised at how authentic communication between you and other moms can help us understand that we all have struggles and we all have learned a few tips and tricks along the way. Most new moms are happy to share anything that helps make our lives a little easier. As women we need to stick together and build each other up. So I say, stop comparing and start collaborating!
5- Identify Irrational Thoughts and Free Yourself of Them- Instead of saying to yourself something negative like; “I'm a bad mom because I work outside the home”, try saying; “I’m a good mom because I work” focus on the positives of what you can bring or contribute to the family and why that is important whether you work or stay at home…. or with COVID something in the middle. Remember to be grateful for something everyday- this really does help us refocus on the positives. Try writing a note in your phone of one or two things you are proud and grateful for everyday.
These are a few tips that helped me when I was a new mom. Please let us know what helps you overcome the “mom-guilts”. Remember to hang in there, mama bears, you’re not alone! You’re doing a great job!