Hi, I’m Amanda and I’m a GUILTY MOM. I feel it all day every day. And I hate it. It’s not pleasant at all. Feeling shame and regret rarely is. My question is, are we doomed to feel perpetually guilty because we are mothers? Is this an inescapable facet of being a mom? If so, what can we do about it??
I feel guilty because of my thoughts, my shortcomings, and my physical incapability of splitting myself into 6 different people. Mom guilt manifests in so many divergent contemplations. I’m guilty because I need me-time which may supersede taking them out to play every now and then, because I’m short tempered at times, because my computer is always on and they beg me to stop working, because I’m SO relieved that summer vacation is over and the kids are back in school. I feel guilty that I sometimes can’t physically handle all 3 children at the same time, that I sporadically prefer one child over the other, and horror of horrors occasionally hark back to a time when the only responsibility I had was myself. Oh and I feel tremendously guilty when I turn on the television to get an hour of sanity. These are but a few of the multitude of shameful thoughts that pervade my consciousness at any given time. But most of all, I feel guilty because my children are the best thing I’ve ever done and I love them more than life and yet I can’t get it out of my head that I’m not the best mother they could have.
I know I’m not alone. I’m sure that most mothers out there relate to these feelings. I don’t really know how you can be a mom and not feel guilty. It’s only because we want the very best for our kids and that includes the kind of mother they get. Of course we hold ourselves up to some extreme unattainable level of motherhood perfection that truly only exists in our minds.
Recently I discovered a few things that help assuage the monolith of guilt that threatens to drown us at times.
- As the most popular Queen in our household (Queen Elsa that is) belts out: LET IT GO! No mother is perfect. No matter how hard we try. Don’t sweat the small stuff. So I went to yoga instead of taking them to the park. I needed that hour of shanti more than they needed to swing on a swing. I’ll take them another time. That stain on my eldest’s NEW school uniform? No biggie. He’ll be sure to add more of those within the week. Nothing I can do about it. Turning on Ben & Holly so that I could get 30 minutes of peace so I could finish writing? Understandable.
- NO FAIR, DON’T COMPARE! The grass will always be greener on the OTHER side. Just remember that you will never have the entire picture of someone else’s story. Social media makes it seem like everyone has it altogether. Particularly those well curated, well EDITED Instamoms you follow. I guarantee you they don’t and are probably feeling just as much mom guilt as you. You’re doing the best for your family and only you know exactly what they need.
- Find ANSWERS to issues that repeatedly make you feel guilty. I’m not talking about the stuff that is easy to fix like taking some time out for yourself or setting up dates with your children. If you’re not spending enough time with your kid then you need to find a solution to that problem.
The rest of those guilty thoughts are just those. Thoughts. They should be fleeting and if they are don’t worry too much about them. I’ve come to accept that guilt is definitely a part of being a mother. We all try our darndest to be super MAMAS and that’s where the guilt stems from! We are only human, after all.
(Reposted from my Facebook the other day…)