Last night I had major “mom guilt.” We’ve been really laid back about letting our kids stay up late this summer and now they are totally out of their routine.
I’ve been dealing with mom guilt since I became a mom.
After my son was born, I felt guilty when he wouldn’t nap and I had to let him cry it out for a few minutes just so I could take a break.
Of course I felt even more guilt when I switched to formula feeding at 5 months because it was too much. At every feeding I was pumping, then feeding him through a bottle, and then had to wash the pump parts. I should have earned a metal for all of the effort. Instead I allowed myself to feel bad about giving up.
I felt guilty when I let him sleep in the swing for the first 4 or 5 months of his life. Even though that was the only way to get him to sleep.
When my 2nd son was born, I felt guilty for not even trying breastfeeding.
Because of all the challenges I had with my first, we decided to go straight to formula. Even though this was what was right for our family, I felt guilty for not trying to breastfeed. I also felt guilty for not giving my oldest enough attention and having to split my time and energy between them.
Lately, I feel guilty when I allow my kids too much screen time and when I let them have too much sugar. No matter how hard I try as a mom, there’s always something making me feel like I’m not doing enough.
I’m sure there are many other reasons I’ve felt “mom guilt.” It would be impossible not to.
An article on Huffpost by Taylor Pittman, 5 Ways to Cope When Mom Guilt is Getting The Best of You, quoted tennis star Serena Williams’ post on Instagram about how she felt guilty for not spending enough time with her daughter. She’s a famous athlete, and no doubt she has had to sacrifice a lot of family time to get there. Yet she hasn’t missed a day of spending time with her. Her post had over 3000 responses last year of other moms saying that they’d also missed their kids’ important milestones and had experienced feelings of guilt.
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Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal. It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be. However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week–it’s ok–I am, too!!! There’s always tomm!
Pittman also writes that the best way to deal with mom guilt and these feelings of inferiority is to stop comparing yourself to Hollywood’s take on the perfect mom. Carol Brady doesn’t exist and we have to stop trying to be someone who isn’t even real!
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when you feel guilty:
1). Am I providing my kids their basic needs? If you are giving them food, drink, shelter, and love then you are doing a good job as a mom and you don’t need to feel guilty.
2). What do I need right now? It’s so easy to focus on what your kids need and forget that you as a mom have needs too. Sometimes the feeling that you can’t measure up is a result of burn out. What you may need is to take a few minutes to fill your own cup.
3). If one of my friends was feeling guilty about this would I tell her not to? If the answer is yes, why are you holding yourself to higher standards? I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive to be better. But you have to cut yourself a break when things don’t always go as planned.
What do you struggle with feeling guilty about most as a mom? Have you found anything that helps you get past it?