How To Drop The Mom Guilt


Mom guilt is such a thing, isn’t it? Most people define mom guilt as that feeling of not being or doing enough as a parent. It’s a term that just about everyone has heard, but only somewhat understands. If I’m being totally honest with you, I’ve definitely had my fair share of “mom guilt” moments. However, after my daughter arrived and I was able to have a fresh perspective on motherhood a second time, I realized I was doing more right than wrong.

Oftentimes, mom guilt escalates when/if you’ve taken a maternity leave and are heading back to work (“I’m leaving my kids.” “I wish I could be around more.” “They’re too young to be in daycare”, “I’m the worst.”) — or when juggling household duties with parenting responsibilities (“My house is a mess.” “Everyone else seems to have their ish together but me.”) Whatever form mom guilt shows up in your life, I’m sure you can relate to these examples on some level.

What are some other examples of “mom guilt”?

– “Oh no, I could never go out. I’ve got to put the kids to bed. My husband needs me there.”

– “I really shouldn’t be out with my friends right now. My kids must really miss me and need me.”

– “Ugh. I’m working late again. I’m a terrible mom.”

– “I wish I could take that yoga class again like I used to… there’s just no way. I’m a mom now… I don’t work out anymore..”

– “I really should prepare more dinners. My kids eat the same things every week. I’m such a slacker.”

Mom guilt can show up in many ways. Depression and anxiety. Negative thoughts. Too much time scrolling social media. Overworking and overscheduling. Perfectionism.

Here are my ideas for learning how to drop the mom guilt, which I’ve personally turned to when I feel burnt out, tired, and sometimes even resentful:

Open communication with your partner

Always express how you’re feeling. Are you growing frustrated that you never get to go out with friends anymore? Do you feel like you’re on the hook to run the bedtime routine every night? Lay out your feelings and then schedule a date with your partner or close friend (like, really).

Show yourself loving kindness through journaling

It’s sometimes easy to list our flaws, but what about our incredible strengths? What makes you a badass mom? What do you ROCK at when it comes to raising your kids? I bet if you journaled daily and had to think of something you’re really excelling at with your kids, work, or relationships, you could impress yourself.

Work on actively changing your negative thoughts

“I’m working too late again. I’m terrible.” –> “This is one night’s work. I get to provide for my family. My children know how much I love them.”

“I hate pumping. I really don’t want to do this anymore but my baby needs me to do this.” –> “My baby will thrive whether or not I pump for them. My baby deserves a happy mother.”

“I should limit the screen time. I bet my friends don’t let their kids watch this much TV.”     –> “A little TV won’t hurt them. It’s okay to lean on screen time when I need to.”

Put more emphasis on your self-care

Yeah, you care for your little ones with so much love and attention, but how about you? What if you started a self-care routine and pampered yourself with more solo or friend dates, workouts, manicures, and/or walks? Would that make you a selfish mom or a happier one? Making time to do the things that bring you joy shouldn’t fill you with guilt. If it does, ask yourself, who is putting this feeling on me — my partner, my kids, or myself? It’s often the latter.

Share responsibilities

When it comes to parenting and household responsibilities, where can things shift and where can you delegate? What’s bothering you? What can your partner help you with so you can breathe a little easier and feel a weight lifted? Have you ever flat-out told them you need help?

Talk with a professional

If guilt continues to complicate your days and prevents you from enjoying life, relationships, and your family, consider talking with a mental health expert. They’ll be able to provide resources and tools to help you move through those feelings.

Mom guilt is a completely normal feeling, but you don’t have to live with it full-time. The first step is recognizing its grip on you, then speaking your truth about it, and finally, finding ways to lighten the load.

Best of luck, mama. You are so not alone in this.


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