We all have mom guilt at some point. I don’t know one mother who hasn’t felt the pressure of balancing relationships, childcare, career, etc. and feeling that we’re falling short of what’s expected of us.
Guilt is a moral emotion that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that they have compromised their own standards of conduct or have violated universal moral standards and bear significant responsibility for that violation. Guilt is closely related to the concept of remorse, regret, as well as shame.
But where do these standards come from? Why do mothers have so much guilt? Who set the bar? Our society and culture have taught us guilt. Our community has set expectations of what we’re supposed to do and accomplish, and there unrealistic.
These expectations were set in the 1950s before women entered the workforce and lost our villages. Then, women entered the workforce, got paid less, and continued to carry out most of the domestic and parenting duties. We have the “second shift” of workers and mothers. So, when one area falls short or strays away from those duties, we feel guilt.
Among my mom-friends, I’ve noticed that we constantly need to justify our actions. Guilt is closely related to the concept of remorse, regret, as well as shame. We feel shame, and we’re trying to justify it and ease our guilt. We sometimes feel like we need to compare hardships to justify our actions without guilt.
Recently a mom friend told me how horrible of a day she’d had, that she’s still trying to learn about her daughter’s new diagnosis, and so this day was particularly long and hard… so that’s why she took a few minutes extra in the shower. Is this where we are?? We need to explain our hardships so we can shower without shame or guilt!?
This is absurd, and it’s got to stop. But therein lies the problem. How do we unlearn what society has taught us and change culture? So, for now, let’s just talk about tips on dropping the mom guilt. We’ll smash the patriarchy in another post.
I got tired of hearing “don’t feel guilty” gee thanks, tips! It’s all well and good to say don’t feel guilty, but it’s a feeling; how do you stop feeling the feels??
Tips on dropping the mom guilt, it’s a work in progress:
FLIP IT: From aren’t to are:
Don’t focus on what you aren’t doing well; flip it and find out what you are doing well.
Feel guilty because we are feeding our kids a frozen pizza for dinner? Don’t tell yourself you aren’t providing your kids a healthy meal. FLIP IT: I am feeding my kids. I am giving them something they like, and they will have full tummies tonight.
Feel guilty about getting up early and selfishly exercising instead because you aren’t using the time to make a hot breakfast for your kids? FLIP IT: I am taking care of myself to care for my family. I am providing an excellent example of a healthy lifestyle and ensuring that I remain energized today.
Feel guilty because you took a half-hour to read your book away from your family? Don’t tell yourself you’re being selfish. FLIP IT: I’m prioritizing myself to feel my best and modeling healthy behavior to my kids.
Reset your expectations:
Every time something in life shifts, shift your expectations. For example, is your partner working an hour later each night? Reset your expectation- you may need an extra takeout night or have one less bath a week. Don’t expect yourself to manage the same way when things change.
Remind yourself of the fallacy:
Common myths we’ve been taught tell us what a “good mother” is. A good mother… manages home and work seamlessly, spends quality time with their kids, has a clean house, never yells, cooks healthy meals, etc. It all seems to be about what we’re doing or not doing. But, let’s remember, we are human beings -not human doings. So, these “things to do” don’t define a good mother. These things are just myths about what being a good mother looks like, but not actually what a good mother is.
Use social media wisely:
Going against societal myths is difficult, especially with the impact of Tik Tok and social media we have in our face all day long. We’re a comparing culture. Social media exacerbates everything; it’s also a fallacy.
- Unfollow anyone who’s fake or doesn’t make you feel good about yourself
- Question everything. Is her house actually spotless? Remind yourself that she’s probably standing on a pile of crap at her feet off-camera. At least you aren’t kidding yourself.
- Limit your time.
There are a few tips. But keep in mind, doing tips on dropping the mom guilt won’t happen overnight, or completely. But always remind yourself, it’s not you. It’s unrealistic expectations. So do your selfcare guilt free, and order pizza for dinner, and take that extra long hot shower. You deserve to live guilt free.