Mom’s guilt is real. It comes from the tiny voice inside of you that whispers “am I screwing them up?“, “I’m spending too much time at work”, “Are my kids spending too much time with the help or with the screen?”, “why can’t I produce enough milk to feed my baby”, “I just need a moment to myself”, “should my kids be able to do _____ by now?”. Mom’s guilt comes from a place of wanting to be a good mother to your children. It comes from a feeling that your best isn’t good enough. You give so much compassion to others, but so very little to yourself? You excuse other’s behavior and shortcomings but hold yourself to such high standards and demand so much of yourself?
Here’s the big secret. You’re actually doing better than you think you are and mom’s guilt is a lie. When you’re in a negative headspace, we tend to engage in what we call cognitive distortions or unhelpful thinking styles and our brain lies to us. One of these common cognitive distortions is called “mental filters” where we only focus on a single negative piece of information and exclude all the positive ones. Thus by doing so, we foster a negative view of everything around us when we only focus on the negative.
Five rules to silencing the mom’s guilt:
· Make yourself a priority. Fill your cup FIRST before you fill others. It is not being selfish. When you’re running on empty, you have nothing more to give.
· Your best changes everyday base on how much sleep you have, how you feel, whether you have eaten, the number of stressors you’re facing as well as the demands of the day
· There is no such thing as a perfect parent, only a good enough one. Give permission to falter.
· Develop a more realistic expectation of yourself. Don’t expect yourself to work like you don’t have children and raise children as if you don’t work.
· Turn in your supermom cape. Acknowledge that LOVE is the only requirement for becoming a supermom.
Here are some heartening news for working moms worried about the future of their children: According to a research out of Harvard, Women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than mothers who stayed home full time. Men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for family members. These findings hold true across 24 countries.
For all moms out there who experience mom’s guilt, as Maya Angelou would put it “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it. Then when you know better, do better”. Successful mothers are NOT the ones that have NEVER struggled. They are the ones that NEVER gives up, despite the STRUGGLES.