What is Mom-Guilt?

What is Mom-Guilt?

So many times the feelings of anxiousness, guilt, doubt, or uncertainty rise to the surface in motherhood. We tend to question and reassess every decision we make as moms…

“What if I formula feed instead of breastfeed?”

“Will I be a bad mom if I go back to work?”

“Am I spending enough time with my child?”

“Why am I not happier to be a mom?”

“I should’ve played with the kids instead of cleaning the house.”

“Why didn’t I clean today instead of playing with the kids?”

“I lost my calm when I should’ve set a good example. How will my behavior affect him?”

All of these questions we ask ourselves pop up when we feel like we are falling short of our motherly expectations.  This is mom-guilt!


Why Does Mom-Guilt Show Up?

Unfortunately, mom-guilt can strike at any time and at any stage of motherhood. Society, media, family, and friends tend to place big expectations on moms about what we should be like and what we should do.

Researcher and therapist, Brené Brown, writes that the feeling of guilt focuses on behavior, but shame is a feeling of the self.  “I didn’t breastfeed long enough,” is a feeling of guilt about a behavior. But, if you conclude that,” I am a bad mom,” based on the behavior (I didn’t breastfeed long enough) you start to feel shame about yourself. The guilt and shame begins to push us into deep judgment about ourselves. We tend to compare ourselves to other moms, which spirals into more negative thoughts about ourselves. We become our worst critics.

Nicole Grocki is a clinical psychotherapist and shares how the feelings of guilt and shame can affect our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in these ways:

Negative Thoughts-Negative thoughts become beliefs and self-worth decreases as a result.

Depression or Anxiety-Moms start to feel down most of the time, fatigue, anger, intense worry, or low self-worth among other symptoms.

Massive Amounts of Time Focused on Social Media-A mom may feel guilty about the time not spent with her child and may post, only the best moments, constantly on social media to prove to her and the world that she is a “good mom.”

Overdoing and Overscheduling-A mom’s belief that if she does more, and ignores the guilt, the better she will feel; but this can lead to burnout.

Addictive Behaviors-A mom may begin to drink, use drugs, overspend, overeat, or find other ways to feel better.

Perfectionism-A mom may hope to avoid her feelings by trying to appear that she has it all together, but fears judgment and failure.


How to Beat Mom-Guilt

Being a mom is filled with so many emotions day to day (sometimes hour to hour), but we don’t have to let the guilt and shame control us. Here are a few tips we can try together to beat mom-guilt:

Trust Yourself-Worrying doesn’t solve anything. You can jot your thoughts down in a notebook, and use the notebook to take action. Do some research on your concern, and then trust yourself to make the best decision for you and your family.

Change Your Thoughts-When feelings of guilt rise to the surface, replace the negative thought with a positive one. Consider how you are contributing to your child’s life and family.

Plan a Special Time Together with Your Child-Life gets crazy and calendars get busy, but you always find time for the things most important to you. It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary. It can be something as simple as inviting your child to help you make dinner and discussing their favorite things or running errands together and singing silly songs at the top of your lungs.

Ask for Help-There is no such thing as the perfect mom! Be supportive and encouraging of others mothers, and accept their support and encouragement in return.  It takes a village, so ask your village for help when you need it. Order pizza for dinner and eat off paper plates when you need to; your kids will love it!

Take Time for Yourself-You can’t take care of your loved ones if you first don’t take of yourself. You need sleep. You need food. You need water. You need a shower. You need movement. You need to nurture your relationship with your husband. Sometimes you even need alone time, so go get that haircut, buy that pair of shoes, read a book, or sleep-in while hubby gets the kids breakfast.

I never, ever want to add to your mom-guilt (every mom has that covered on her own) so I want to help reduce your mom-guilt by offering this FREE Mom-Saver Activity Bundle. It will save you time from searching the internet for activities and reduce your anxiety about providing fun and educational activities for your preschooler.