Ever heard of “mommy guilt”? You’ve probably felt it, but maybe you haven’t heard that it’s a THING. I’m so glad that it’s a common topic of conversation now, because the struggle is REAL!
As moms, we feel such a responsibility to do everything. We want so badly to give our kids the whole world! Our top priorities in life are to do everything in our power to keep our little ones safe, protected, healthy, comfortable, and happy. We understand that a child’s relationship to his/her mother is a crucial one; we really don’t want to mess it up. We want them to feel secure in their relationship with us. And we want them to know that they are LOVED unconditionally.
On top of all these intense desires, we are generally the primary homemakers in the family. Whether or not we work outside the home, we usually do most of the cooking, cleaning, and home management.
Those of us who stay at home sometimes feel that we aren’t contributing enough to the house’s finances, or that we’re less intelligent or successful because we don’t have jobs. Those of you who have jobs outside the home sometimes feel that you’re abandoning your kids to someone else and worry that your kids will resent you for not spending every minute with them.
So as moms, can we WIN? Can we ever feel at peace with our decisions about motherhood and family? Or are we always going to feel GUILTY???
I know that the mommy guilt is strong. I know that the feelings which drive the mommy guilt are good and powerful. But do you wonder if maybe the guilt back fires a little bit? What if letting ourselves feel guilty actually hinders our progress and makes us feel more miserable than we need to feel?
Two weeks ago, I participated in the Mom Conference. It was amazing! I didn’t watch every single speaker, but the ones I did listen to literally changed my life. Kelly Jensen‘s interview is one that particularly touched me. She talked about Mommy Guilt and how she “doesn’t do it”. She grew up with a mom who always said “I don’t do guilt.” This shocked me a little when I first heard this. “Wait, if you don’t feel guilt, then how do you change something that you did wrong?” But Kelly answered this question. She explained that to her, guilt can weigh us down and prevent us from changing. Motivation, on the other hand, helps us change and become better. (I don’t know if I completely agree with this concept for everything, but I do feel truth in it when it comes to parenthood.)
I learned about the concept of “toxic shame” in one of my college classes, and this “I don’t do guilt” thing reminds me of it. A person can feel too shamed and too guilty, to the point where he or she becomes severely hindered in their ability to move forward, to change what they need to change. I believe that this can be applied to parenthood as well. If we allow ourselves to constantly feel guilty about things we do or don’t do in motherhood, then this becomes a VERY HEAVY weight on our minds, our hearts, and our souls.
I’ve decided to adopt the philosophy, the motto of, “I don’t do guilt.”
Instead of questioning ourselves at every turn, how about we try to remember the things we are doing right? Why don’t we take our guilty feelings and turn them into concerns and questions, ponder them and study out solutions (as a person of faith, this is when I pray), then mold them into positive learning experiences? How about we make decisions for ourselves and for our families with unconditional love and good intentions in our hearts, then remember those feelings if we question those decisions later? How about we CHOOSE to be happy? Isn’t that possible? To CHOOSE how we think and feel about ourselves? (Side note: I experienced some postpartum depression after my second baby was born, so I know that sometimes choosing to be happy isn’t a black and white thing. But I do think we can make the decision to do all we can to feel at peace.)
Let’s try to remember that we are GOOD MOMS. We are doing the best we can, and our kids know it. Most importantly, we are the right and the perfect mamas for our little ones. No one else could do what you do. If we saw ourselves as our children see us…. well, we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.
Here is an awesome page that has several different articles about mommy guilt: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/mom-guilt
I have a couple of printable quotes for you! I like putting quotes like these on my bathroom mirror. 🙂 I found these quotes at thespruce.com