Dad guilt. You've never heard of it. Because it's not a thing.
Mom guilt though? EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES. Why?! We need to ruthlessly eradicate mom guilt. We give our kids EVERYTHING WE HAVE and then at the end of the day we feel guilty for not giving them more.
I created and birthed two little humans and breastfeed them for hours on end every day, change their diapers, keep them clean, and provide a safe, love-filled life for them yet I feel twinges of guilt when I let them LAY ALONE for, like, 5 minutes without any cooing, exercises, classical music, or uplifting songs sung enthusiastically in their faces.
I provide a loving home with two nurturing parents for my sons where we read books and they are given so much freedom to play and explore and I take them on walks and listen to their stories yet I feel twinges of guilt when I let them watch a (educational, carefully-selected) show.
All these feelings do are make us feel bad. Bad about ourselves and bad about the job we're trying so hard to do well.
Negative emotions lead to negative thoughts, which lead to negative behaviors... which lead to...
MORE MOM GUILT!!!
A cruel, cruel cycle, I know.
So what can we do to kick mom guilt in the hiney and keep it out?
1. Speak kindly about ourselves and to ourselves.
In the words of our wise friend Justin Bieber, we need to LOVE OURSELVES. This is something all of us moms need to work on. It pains me, and happens far too frequently, that I hear mothers putting themselves down and speaking negatively of themselves (when I know they are loving, amazing mothers). We sometimes feel like it's prideful or that we shouldn't ever say anything we're proud of or that we did a good job on something. It's OKAY to acknowledge our accomplishments and positive attributes to ourselves and others! It's refreshing to hear and refreshing to share. Hearing others speak like this gives us permission to be positive about ourselves too, instead of having a bad mom one-upping competition. (Although that can be fun, too, and we need to be real.) We don't need to down play our accomplishments or negate every compliment we receive.
We are all wonderful, fabulous, beautiful ladies in our own unique way. Let's embrace that and spend less time trying to be what we think is the "perfect mom" or what our peers may be doing or comparing ourselves to someone's Instagram life and more timing EMBRACING OURSELVES- quirks, curves, and all!!
2. Stop the cycle of negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
I listened to a podcast about this and it totally opened my eyes. (LIKE, IT WAS AMAZING.) So instead of trying to explain it, take a few minutes and listen to it!
Access the podcast by clicking on link below or searching
"Power of moms unhealthy stress and habits" on your podcasts.
3. EMBRACE OURSELVES
What makes you YOU? What brings you joy? What makes you feel like a kid again? Figure out what those things are do them. It's (more than) okay to spend time FOCUSING ON YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN HAPPINESS! A wise woman once said (me), "The best gift you can give your children is a happy mother."
Do what makes you happy. Don't try to be like everyone else. Take advantage of any alone time you have to do what FILLS YOU UP. "You can't pour from an empty pitcher!"
4. Have a mantra
We may benefit from a short, little phrase that helps us maintain a long-term perspective and help us be able to laugh things off.
Some I've heard of/use are:
"All is well that ends well"
"Let it go"
"My life is crazy, and crazy is fun... so I'm having fun!!"
"They'll be fine!"
5. Try to look at things in a practical way (as opposed to emotionally) and with a long-term perspective.
This one goes hand-in-hand with the mantra. We need to be able to laugh things off, not take ourselves too seriously, accept that we are good parents and doing our best, and just in general... RELAX. If we are getting down on ourselves about something we did or didn't do, take a step back and try to look at it PRACTICALLY and realize that in the long-run, it's not that big of a deal!
Realize that although you maybe didn't have the best day or you lost your patience with your child, in the long run... that does not define you and that single event will not ruin your child! Think of all the good things you did that day. Think of all the ways you ARE a great mom and focus on those! Do not let those negative feelings of "mom guilt" in!
You got this, mama! #mompower