Every mom has experienced mom guilt at some point. I’ve learned some tips for getting through it that I’m excited to share with you today!
I’m writing to you straight from my heart today, friends; and I might even be talking to myself a little bit. One of my biggest annoyances is the “perfect” persona some internet influencers attempt to create.
I’m here to tell you, that’s not my jam. I believe there’s a fine line between airing all your dirty laundry and genuine authenticity.
Normally, I have a hard time letting anybody know I’m struggling; but in this moment, I’m going for real and transparent because I believe someone somewhere will read this that needs to hear what I needed to hear for the last few weeks.
There I was, crying in a Starbucks parking lot…
My last two weeks have felt like a series of unfortunate events, and it all darn near came to a head in the Starbucks parking lot because I had a hard time getting into the parking lot.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. A lot of little things build up over weeks or months, and before you know it, you’re crying in a random parking lot because 3 people cut you off in moments of self-importance.
It hasn’t even necessarily been one big thing, but if I had to pinpoint one major thing, it would be the incredible struggle of molding kids without breaking their spirits, and one of my little spirits has been especially free for the last few weeks.
She’s adopted this new sound that’s some kind of a hybrid of forced hyperventilating, whining, and sobbing that sounds like some kind of injured goose that’s been hit by a golf cart and limped off into the woods to die.
And I try, I TRY, to keep my cool. I do. And a lot of the time, I do.
We do deep breaths, hugs, take drinks of water, use “I feel” statements, talk about why she’s upset and what she can do better next time, and I try to give her tactics to get through her big emotions that overtake her small self of less than 4 whole feet.
Other times, I’m not the shining example I feel like I need to be; enter mom guilt because I feel like a hypocrite.
Some days, I feel like I’m drowning.
Drowning in guilt that I didn’t do their speech words with them, they didn’t do their homework this week, I didn’t play with them today, I didn’t make a “good” dinner, I wasn’t patient enough, I wasn’t this or that.
Drowning in lack of time to do everything I want to do, guilt that I can’t do it all, lack of help, resources, you name it; and sometimes the very answers to why I can’t do what I want to do form an actual triangle to why I can’t do XYZ and it’s infuriating.
Which leads me to bring you this piece that felt so natural and appropriate today.
It’s everywhere like the flu in November.
It’s mom guilt.
And if you’re a mom, I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced it, too.
You’re not alone, Mama.
Here’s the deal, sister (I’m talking to myself here, too):
You are more than “just” a mom (in a negative connotation; there’s nothing wrong with being a mama!).
You are your own individual person. You are a whole person who is worthy of goals and dreams.
Having feelings should not come to a screeching halt when you created a miniature version of yourself (or 7 miniature versions).
You are still who you were before you had kids.
Are you different? YES! Motherhood changes you. There are more people depending on you, but you at your core, you are still you. The threads woven together intricately that form your being are still there.
You are more than a mom.
You have your own beautiful personality and strengths and talents to offer this world and you would be doing the world around you a disservice to not walk those out. There is value in you and you have things to offer that no one else can offer quite like you can.
And you should not allow yourself to feel guilty for being a whole, valuable human being with wants, needs, desires, dreams, or goals, for one single second.
If I’ve learned anything since becoming a mom, it’s that relinquishing any fraction of that guilt is hardddddd. HARD with 15 D’s. But we can relinquish some of this guilt by a simple choice to do so.
I know because I have to make the choice to take a stand against mom guilt nearly every day.
The buck stops here.
I encourage you to make the choice to release Mom guilt right now.
No more feeling guilty about:
1) Caring about yourself and taking time to be alone.
You are your own person. There is nobody in this world, I don’t care how amazing they are or how much you love them, NOBODY in this world that you could live with and never be annoyed with them or need some space.
You need that time alone to recharge and come back fresh.
2) Leaving your kids. Ever. For anything.
Why do so many moms have this sense that we can NEVER leave, and if we do, we are somehow less than a mom?
Take the help and run, sister! They’ll be there when you come back and they’ll be as GLAD to see you as you are them!
3) Hating when they’re sick.
Is being sick ever fun for anybody? And honestly, sick kids are the whiniest, grumpiest, neediest little people on the planet and the days feel at least twice as long. Admitting that this is hard is not doing a disservice to anybody. It’s just being honest.
But the good news that has gotten me through many bad weeks is all bad weeks have to end. And they are inevitably followed by better days.
4) Not wanting to take them out.
I have taken all the kids out by myself. I’m totally capable. It makes it exponentially harder and more time consuming, yes; but to be honest, that isn’t what bothers me.
The biggest thing that makes me anxious about going out with all three kids is the people around me and not knowing their motives. There are three of them and one of me, and I don’t like to run the risk of being distracted by one kid and not fully aware of my surroundings.
That’s the main reason that nearly every time I have the option to either not go out with them alone, or leave them with someone I trust, I take it as often as I can. It’s harder, but more than anything, it’s a safety issue.
5) Being annoyed with packing them up and toting them anywhere with the insane amounts of stuff that kids need (which rivals a circus).
Girl, the amount of stuff my kids need for a day out can make the back of our SUV look like we’re going away for a weekend, and we always get down the road and realize what we forgot. It’s just a lot.
I remember a very distant version of Hannah and Joey who would literally say, “You want to go out for dinner?” “Yes.”
Then you know what we did? WE LEFT and now that blows my mind.
6) Hating being cooped up in the house all day.
This is for the stay at home mom reading this that feels like her brain is turning into Jell-O being home for all day every day with a kid or five.
The small things are huge to them and it can be exhausting.
Their emotions are 8,000x bigger than they are, and it can be exhausting.
They want you to watch them do a hop from rug to rug while the baby is crying for the bottle you’re making and the other one is asking for the lunch you’re in the process of trying to make, and it can be exhausting.
Their ideas of good conversation are somewhere between their favorite My Little Pony and “What if peanut butter was a planet? HAHAHA” in the middle of your sentence and it can be exhausting.
It can be exhausting.
7) Spending money on yourself.
Why is it so easy to drop $50 on your kids but feel guilty for getting yourself a $15 pair of shoes? I don’t know but I think it’s ridiculous. You need things, too, and that’s valid.
8) Eating the “good” food.
The “pretty” piece of chicken, the bigger piece of cake, the folded chip. Honestly, they don’t know unless you tell them.
9) Hiding something you wanted to eat without sharing.
Yesterday I started to open a bag to eat a piece of cold pizza, and it was less than 4 seconds before 2 hands were out to me.
Um, for starters, manners please. And second, that’s frustrating to not even have that small moment of peace to have a snack.
Sometimes I eat snacks or candy I don’t want to share after they’re in bed. Want to know why? Kids are hard. And they eat like starving Rottweilers so it isn’t like they even taste it anyway.
10) Going on dates with your husband.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Your marriage matters more now, not less. It matters more because you have more people depending on you. One of these days, when the kids are grown and don’t need you in the same way, it’s just going to be you and him.
I mean, think about it: How did you fall in love to begin with? You went on dates and spent time together. You got to know each other. So doesn’t it make sense to assume that repeating how you fell in love would also help sustain your love?
In any capacity. Stay at home, work from home, working outside the home. We’re all moms. It’s always hard. And we’re all doing the best we can.
12) Wanting to work.
I get wanting to work with my whole being. I get wanting to go to a place and feel respected, feel important, feel like you’re good at what you do, and even feeling like you just need a break.
Different strokes for different folks. How you choose to be a mom is not going to be the same as your friend, or the moms your kids go to preschool with or the way your mom has chosen to be a mom, and can I tell you that that’s okay?
Past okay, that’s normal! You’re normal. You do what works best for you and your family. You know what that is better than anybody.
13) Not playing with them nonstop.
Real talk: playing with my kids is hard for me. I do it. But probably not like some other moms do. But you know what I have found?
A lot of the time when kids ask you to play with them, it’s an expression that their love language is quality time. They want time with you and your attention; not necessarily the playing itself.
I started asking my girls to do something with me I enjoy. I like cooking and baking, so a lot of the time our go-to to spend time together is baking muffins or I’ll explain to them how I’m making a pot of chili. And oftentimes, that fills that need for intentional time with them without me feeling like I’m martyring myself.
14) Giving them peanut butter and jelly for dinner.
I try to ask myself, will this matter in a year or five? If the answer is no, channel your inner Elsa and LET IT GOOOO.
15) Having dreams that do not involve your kids.
Yowza, this feels like a hot one.
Your kids will always be a part of the future you see for yourself. That said… Again, one day they are not going to need you in the same way. While they are and always will be a massive part of your world, your entire world should not be them.
You have to have a vision for who you are and what you want separate from your kids and your identity as their mom so you don’t fall apart when they do what we raise them to do: spread their wings and soar.
That’s a wrap for part 1 of Mom Guilt Detox Part 1! Now head on over to part 2!
I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has helped you overcome some mom guilt! Leave a comment with what resonated most with you and share with a friend who needs it!