New Year, New Mama: Say Goodbye to Mom Guilt
January 16, 2023
Author: Regalo Baby
New Year, New Mama: Say Goodbye to Mom Guilt
If you just heaved a deep sigh and rolled your eyes, I’m with you, mama. We have all experienced mom guilt at one point or another; some of us have even been overwhelmed with mom guilt in the last 5 minutes. Maybe you allowed extra screen time today to give yourself a break. Maybe your child said “Mom, watch” one too many times and you responded just a little more harshly than you normally do. Maybe you settled on cereal for dinner because you were exhausted and running late anyway. Whatever the reason – mom guilt came in and reminded you of all the things you “should” be doing as a mom but aren’t.
Can I tell you something? You’re not alone. That mom of your child’s classmate who throws the perfect Pinterest-worthy birthday parties? Yep, she feels mom guilt, too. Your next-door neighbor who is “spending 1000 hours outside” this year? Yep, her, too. The problem is that no matter what kind of mom you are, mom guilt tells you that you’re not good enough. It’s toxic. And it’s stealing our joy in motherhood.
I’d love to tell you to “just let go” of the guilt and enjoy your kiddos! But if you’ve been doing this motherhood thing for more than 5 minutes, you know that’s not realistic. There is no magic switch that turns it off. That said, there are things you can do to decrease the hold it has over your life. Here are 3 steps to take to kick mom guilt to the curb.
Narrow Your Focus
What really, really matters to you? These things might change in different seasons of life, but for the season of life that you’re in now, what 2-4 things are most important to you? What is just not negotiable right now? Throw out Pinterest ideas, forget what your friends are doing, and ask yourself what is important to you. Our own childhoods often have a tremendous impact on our priorities as parents. Maybe you want to continue doing something your parents did well, or maybe it’s important to you to give your children something you didn’t receive but needed. Consider this as you identify your own priorities.
Maybe it’s putting your phone down at the dinner table. Maybe it’s reading your children a bedtime story every evening. Maybe it’s spending one-on-one time with each child once a week (or month, or whatever works for your family).
Whatever it is – focus on these 2-4 things. These are the things that matter to you – and that make you a good mom. I love the quote by Jill Churchill, “There’s no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” Be the mom your child needs by doing the most important things – to you.
Avoid the Comparison Trap
I won’t lie; there’s a part of me that longs for the simplicity of Little House on the Prairie. A pioneer I am not, but the dawn of the internet and social media has made our circles wider than I think we were built to manage as humans and mamas. We can literally compare ourselves to our outdoorsy neighbors and Kim Kardashian in the same 5-minute time span. Unfortunately for us, this means we can criticize our own fashion choices, workout routines (or lack thereof), and activities for our children all in the same breath.
DON'T DO IT.
On Craig Groeschel’s leadership podcast, he often says, “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” You know what is happening in your own home (behind the scenes) nearly every minute of the day. You see all of your mistakes, as well as those of your kiddos. Then you hop on Instagram and scroll through everyone else’s highlight reels – a perfectly curated version of whatever went on in their home that day. It's not a fair comparison.
Whatever it takes to avoid comparing yourself to others – do that. That could mean setting boundaries on the amount of time you spend on social media, and even on the people you follow. Pay attention to which accounts inspire your mom guilt and unfollow them for a while. Maybe avoiding the comparison trap means that you set healthy boundaries with others that trigger your mom guilt. Evaluate the things in your life that make you feel worse about yourself as a mama, then set firm boundaries with those things.
Listen to the Voices that Build You Up
That lady at the grocery store who criticized your child’s behavior? She doesn’t know you, mama. She doesn’t get an opinion. Surround yourself with supportive friends who speak life into you and are transparent about their own struggles in motherhood. If possible, find yourself a therapist who can help you process these feelings and help you learn coping skills.
Just because mom guilt is normal, doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it. Try these tips and let us know what else has helped you let go of mom guilt!