Can we talk about mom guilt for a second?
You know the feeling. That hard-to-ignore voice telling you that you could have or should have done something different. The times when you find yourself thinking you’re a bad mom, that you’re failing, or that you’re ruining your child.
I’ve been there.
Guilt is, without a doubt, one of the most common emotions I have felt since becoming a mom.
No matter what I’m doing, I almost always have a nagging feeling that I should be doing something else. If I’m working, I feel guilty that I’m not spending more time with my kids (especially when they’re sick). If I’m home with my kids, I feel bad for being distracted by my phone or not spending enough quality time with them or letting them watch too many videos so I can get things done.
The holidays are just around the corner, a time when mom guilt can be especially troublesome. It’s a time of year when your to-do list is longer than usual and yours and everyone else’s expectations are even higher.
Did I remember to get a gift for everyone? Did I spend an equal amount of money on each of my kids? Am I the only one in the neighborhood without Christmas lights on my house? Can I say no to that holiday party, work event, cookie exchange, etc.? The list goes on.
I don’t have a magic solution or cure for mom guilt, but I do know we’re all in it together, just a bunch of women trying to do their best. Moms are expected to wear a LOT of hats all at the same time while trying not to lose/drop/break a single one of them.
I turned to my fellow Des Moines Moms Blog contributors to find out what types of mom guilt plague them. Here’s a sampling of the things they worry about:
- Not spending enough 1:1 time with each kid.
- Doing too much for them so they’re not going to be independent.
- Not doing more baking and crafty art projects with them.
- Trying to pursue my own dreams while being a mom and working full-time.
- Wondering if I did enough for them that day, if they were stimulated enough, learned enough, etc.
- Wondering if I should have done something different (more reading, more socializing, etc.) when my kiddo struggles in school.
- Traveling for work.
- Running late for things.
- Not reading to them before bed or doing extra reading practice.
- Feeling like I’m not doing enough when my husband does things.
- When they are sick, that I should have made them wash their hands more or eat better.
- Letting kids have too much screentime.
- Not getting my kids to eat enough vegetables.
- When they’re struggling to go to bed, feeling guilty that they’re not getting enough rest.
How to Avoid Mom Guilt
So what’s a mom supposed to do? First, give yourself some grace. Remind the voice in your head that you did the best you could with the information or circumstances you had. And if you REALLY didn’t, it’s OK. Resolve to learn from it and try to do better next time.
Second, remember that we’re all in it together! If you see another mom who’s doing something you admire, find a way to tell her. Be the person who makes her day and reminds her she’s doing a good job. Because she is, and you are too.
Remember: “There is no way to be a perfect mom, but there are a million ways to be a good one.” You’ve got this!