Mom guilt...it's that nagging voice in the back of your head that makes you believe that no matter how much you do, it isn't enough. It's the thing that makes you feel absolutely awful anytime you do anything for yourself, no matter how small. Mom guilt is what keeps you up overthinking any and everything in the middle of the night instead of sleeping. What causes mom guilt? To a great degree, the unrealistic expectations that are put on moms to be perfect. People call us super moms and being able to do everything is supposed to be a compliment and a given. If there's something to feel guilty about, mom guilt can drive us to be better mothers but in many cases, it just causes us to feel bad about things that we can't control, makes us feel worse and needs to be done away with. These 5 steps are not a cure for mom guilt but simply steps that every mom can implement to dull that nagging voice.
Step One: Stop comparing yourself to other moms and your child to other children. As moms, we want to do what's best for our children and don't want to think that our child is falling behind the curve so when we meet other moms and children who seem to be excelling at something that our child isn't, its only natural to compare. They all develop at their own pace and for every mom that you envy because their child does something faster or better than your child, there's a mom out there that feels the exact same way about you! We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses. Rather than solely focusing on what we don't do well, we need to get better at giving ourselves a pat on the back for the things that we do well.
Step Two: Stop worrying about being judged or about how you will be perceived. You are pretty much damned if you do and you're damned if you don't in the sense that it's impossible to please every one. For every action you make as a parent, there will always be people that agree with it and there will always be people that disagree with it. The more you learn to love your decisions and believe that you really truly did what was in the best interest of you and your family, the less you will need other people to love those decisions.
Step Three: Lower your standards! Stop trying to be perfect and do it all! There are only so many hours in the day and you can only realistically do so much. If at the end of the night, the house isn't completely organized or if your kids don't have every meal cooked from scratch, their childhoods won't be ruined. Prioritize the things that need to be done daily that are most important to you and do them on a best efforts basis starting from the most important and working your way down the list. If you don't get to a certain task done in a day, resolve to do it the next day, instead of beating yourself up for not getting it done.
Step Four: Take comfort in the fact that all moms feel guilty. You are not alone. You are not the first mom to think that you're inadequate and you won't be the last. In fact, based on conversations I've had with other moms, I have yet to meet a mom that doesn't have mom guilt. The very fact that you care enough about being a good mom to let it torture you with guilt means that you probably already are a good mom. Having friends that you can honestly talk to about your feelings can be helpful as well as belonging to different mom communities where you know that other moms feel the same way or are going through the same things as you. Find your mom tribe, your support system, the ones who rather than judging you for doing something, tell you me too girl; me too!
Step Five: Repeat! The key to success in anything, whether it be exercise, doing well in school or at work is repetition and practice. The same way, you can't expect to jump on a treadmill one day and expect to run a marathon the next day, you expect to ditch mom guilt without some work. It is possible that mom guilt will never completely go away but with practice, that voice will become quieter over time and you will have less doubt in yourself as a mom and feel confident that you really are doing the best job that you can.