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If you’re a mom, you have experienced guilt. If you haven’t–wow. I am super jealous and can only aspire to be like you! Until I became a mom, I was able to brush the feeling of guilt off pretty well. Now it stays with me like the soggy crackers your kid drops on you. Here are a few steps that have helped me get rid of mom guilt. But first, here are a few reasons why you might be feeling it to begin with.
Reasons you may feel guilty as a mom
- You want to sleep when you “should” be doing housework (or anything else you feel you need to do)
- You’re on your phone instead of paying attention to your children
- You’re watching TV instead of paying attention to your children
- You’re letting your kids watch TV (lots of TV)
- You didn’t read to them today
- You fed them fast food for lunch or cereal for dinner
- You fed them fast food for lunch AND cereal for dinner
- You didn’t get dressed today
- You didn’t accomplish the 1,425 things you need to get done
- You let the dirty dishes pile up *gasp*
- You sleep-trained (more on that here)
- You didn’t sleep train
- And SO, SO many more…
4 Steps to get rid of mom guilt
1. Aknowledge that you are feeling guilty
This has been such a huge step for me in releasing any guilt I feel. How can you get rid of something if you don’t acknowledge that it’s there?
Imagine this: You have dirty dishes that need to go in the dishwasher or be washed. Everytime you walk by them, you ignore them because you don’t have time or don’t want to do them. They will never get done! I know firsthand; I do it all the time. 🙂
Pushing guilt to the side without first accepting that you’re feeling it will accomplish absolutely nothing. Well, except for letting yourself feel awful. Take a second to look at why you’re feeling guilty to begin with. Maybe you’re thinking “I feel like a crap mom right now because I am on my phone instead of playing with my baby who is pounding incessantly on some noise-making toy.” Now decide what you want to do about how you’re feeling.
2. Decide what you want to do with your guilt
Take control of how you’re feeling instead of just riding it out or wallowing in it. If you’re feeling bad because you’re not playing with your child because of *insert reason,* then try doing the following.
- Go play with your kid and get rid of the guilt. Some days this will work just fine, but other days you may start to feel resentment towards your kid because you feel trapped doing the same old things with them.
- Do something that is more productive. While you may still feel guilty you’re “ignoring” your child, you’ll at least feel like your doing something that isn’t completely selfish.
- Keep doing what you’re doing, because you need to do something that is neither work nor mind-numbingly boring. This is super important to do every once in a while (or more!) in order to recharge yourself.
3. Move on
Once you’ve acknowledged your guilt and decided how you’re going to handle it, you have to let it go. Oh, just let it go you say. I know, I know–easier said then done. Buuuut…check out the next step.
4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 anytime you feel guilty.
It takes practice to learn anything new. When your child is learning to walk they fall down hundreds of times. And yet, they get up every time and try again. So, don’t give up hope if you still feel guilty! Just make this process a habit and eventually you too can enjoy that warm-ish cup of coffee while your kid is still in their PJs with a messy face, the sink is full and the toys are everywhere. Because you deserve it. What you do for your kids is enough. YOU are enough.
Oh, by the way, you can do this ANY time you feel a negative emotion and retrain your brain to think more positively!
No amout of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future.–Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab
At the end of the day, if your kids’ basic needs are met and you just need a “day off,” then play on your phone, read a book, watch adult TV shows. And don’t feel guilty! Because you actually do deserve it regardless of what you tell yourself. As cliche as this is, you have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of the people around you. I promise, you will be so much happier, and when you’re happy your family will be too. Doesn’t sound so selfish now, does it.