From the moment we know there is a baby on board, moms start planning for the arrival. We want everything to be perfect from the very beginning. We start creating our own strict rules: Don’t miss any doctor’s appointments, don’t forget to take our prenatal vitamins, don’t eat any unhealthy foods, listen to classical music and read books to enhance the child’s brain development.
But what happens when we fail to abide by the rules we make?
If we do not follow the rules we immediately feel guilty and we wonder about the impact on our child’s development. The worst scenario is after the baby is born, we expand the list of rules and make them even more strict.
We feel guilty if the baby cries out or is not eating enough. If we stop breastfeeding before the first birthday and give our baby formula instead of breast milk, we feel more guilt. Perhaps we experience mom guilt if we allow our child to watch TV, to eat unhealthy foods, or even when we drop the baby off at daycare. There are so many reasons why moms feel guilt.
Let’s try to understand a litter bit more about mom guilt.
What is mom guilt?
I define it as anxiety mothers have every time they think they are doing something wrong, and the fear it could negatively affect their children.
“Guilt is created when our actions conflict our beliefs.”Alaysia Lyons
In other words, moms have strong beliefs about what they consider is right for their kids. We try to be the best mother in the world, and when we compromise that effort to be best, we feel guilt.
How to make mom guilt easier?
Take Care of Yourself First
In a blog post, Overcoming Mom Guilt, Rachel Hollis said: “You should not feel bad about spending time away from your baby, especially if that time rejuvenates you and makes you feel more human again.”
The most important is to understand you must be well to give your children the best quality of care. Spend some time with yourself, go out and walk alone, go for a massage, do some workouts, get your hair and nails done, find time for your partner and friends.
Spending time away from your kids doesn’t mean we do not love our children; it means we need to take care of ourselves to give our children the best of us. Let’s be kind to ourselves.
Stop Compering Yourselves with Other Moms
In my case, I used to get frustrated every time I saw mothers on social media sharing posts about how well they manage to perform a long list of household chores while looking after three kids. I also used to be disappointed every time a mom shared a post saying her baby slept through the night, while I was struggling to help my baby sleep. Following other moms on social media only made my guilt worst.
Moms, we must stop comparing ourselves with other mothers. We must understand every mom and every child is different. We should stop watching other mothers’ lives and instead focus on living our own lives.
Don’t Be a Perfect Mom, Be Realistic
Don’t let perfection take away all the joy motherhood provides. Stop selling yourself as a strong mom, because sometimes we are also weak, sad, anxious, stressed; we tend to cry even in secret.
We are just a simple human being, and our children should know we are not perfect. We make mistakes and learn from them. If we allow our children to understand the beauty of not being perfect, they will have a better perspective of the world and how to manage their emotions.
Let’s Talk About Our Feelings
It is important moms talk about our feelings and concerns. It’s not always easy to define or discuss our feelings. However, it is essential to express ourselves with our parents, partners, friends, doctors, and other mothers. Sometimes mothers experience the same feelings, but don’t feel confident to talk about it. Talking about mom guilt will help moms understand they are not alone in their battle.
Let’s spread the word about mom guilt; we need to address this feeling. Remember, the magic of life is in our imperfections.