Even the most devoted, perceptive and sensitive husband will never be able to fully grasp the magnitude of a feeling that afflicts women from the very minute they become mothers, something that permeates their lives and affects every decision they will ever make and every action they will ever take: mom guilt.
Regardless of how old your child is, mom guilt never leaves you alone, it actually keeps coming up with new and inventive ways of always making sure that guilt stays in your life. When you are a new mom, you feel guilty about not feeding your newborn properly. When you’re a slightly older mom, you feel guilty about being happy that your child is finally in school for 8 hours a day. When you have a 13-year-old daughter, like myself, you feel guilty about not having prepared her well enough for all the girl drama in Grade 8. I’m wondering what the next phase of mom guilt is going to be!
Getting rid of mom guilt is no easy task, and, if you are anything like me, your success will be intermittent. I am simply amazed at how my husband manages to keep his cool and never give in to a kind of guilt that at times, I’m not afraid to admit it, keeps me up at night. That is why, in situations at high risk of mom guilt, which fogs judgment and decision-making process, I step back and call back-up (i.e. my husband), because I know that he will be able to have a steadier hand.
If, however, your husband is not immediately available, here are 5 things to keep in mind to help you get rid of mom guilt:
- Remind yourself you are doing your best
There is no such thing as a perfect mom, actually there is no such thing as a perfect anything. If you are too tired to play with your child, you are doing your best by going to bed and asking your husband to do it. If you yelled at your child for no reason, you were probably very tired and you simply did your best with the (little) energy that you had. Your best is always enough.
- Stop comparing yourself to other moms
What other moms are doing with or for their kids is based on their lifestyle and their beliefs, not yours. Comparing yourself to other moms will only bring about even more mom guilt. Bear in mind that you never know what truly goes on in other people’s lives, therefore assuming that someone else is doing better than you is just a waste of time. Some people are extremely good at faking it…
- Stop thinking everyone else is judging you
We teach our boys to be brave and our girls to be perfect. That is why, when we girls grow up, we constantly feel under scrutiny. We feel we are being judged by our mothers, our friends, our husbands, our in-laws, as if every situation was a test. The truth is, everyone has their own life to think about and believe me, they have plenty of issues to deal with and don’t have time to judge you. Nasty comments come from people who are even more scared of being judged than you are, so why care?
- Recharge your batteries
You recharge your phone and your iPad every night, but what about your batteries? Setting time aside for a manicure or a coffee chat with your friends is a selfish act, and rightly so! When did taking care of yourself become a sin? Elevating your energy will benefit everyone in your family, because what makes your life better will automatically improve the quality of life of your loved ones. Mom guilt should stem from not taking time for yourself, because no good can come from a cranky and exhausted mom.
- Your love is all that matters
What your child needs is a loving mom, not a worried robot. Mom guilt will turn you into a mom who is no fun at all. Your kids love to see you smile and hear you laugh, your laughter is the greatest sound in the world to them. When they grow up, they will not remember how organized you were, they will cherish the memories of Sunday mornings in bed, your jokes and your hugs.
And what is your tip for getting rid of mom guilt?