by Andrea Stainbrook
Mom guilt. It is real. It exists. And it starts early! From the moment you discover you will be bringing a baby into this world it seems ways to feel guilty start creeping in. As a doula and a mother I hear about it at all different points of parenthood.
Are you eating the right foods? Are you exercising enough? Don’t do this. You should do this. “When I was pregnant I did this.” “You plan on using that?” “I would follow this parenting philosophy!” AAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Social media, and well intentioned, friends and family can infiltrate your mind and you can begin doubting yourself and your decisions. When you once felt confident about a particular thing, you now wonder if you are messing this whole parenting gig up!
I don’t have a why. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we doubt our abilities to be wonderful loving parents? I do it too!
How can we stop it?
I wish I could shout from the rooftops to make us all believe in the fabulous parents we all really are. Even when we slip up, even when we aren’t the most patient, even when we choose the drive through over home cooked meals, we are excellent parents.
Let’s navigate this together. What are some things we can do to help reduce the guilt when we feel it come on. Here are some things I do.
Stop comparing ourselves to others. You truly need to do you. Most often we feel worse after a round of comparing ourselves to others.
I know I do. We tend to compare ourselves to someone we think has it all together, the images of perfection we see, or the mother we made up as the perfect mother. I will tell you a secret. NO ONE is absolutely perfect.
Focus on the good moments. Look at your day. Think of a moment that you are proud of. It doesn’t have to be an Earth shattering parenting moment. Sure maybe you wish you had a redo of the morning. But let that morning go and work on the moment you are in.
A bad moment doesn’t mean a bad day.
Try to remember ALL that you do day in and day out. Know that it is hard work and you are doing it! It may not be always glamorous but your child loves you for it.
Find your friends or talk to your partner. Reach out to your partner. Tell them how you are feeling. Ideally they will listen and stop the guilt spiral! They should raise you up and remind you of your awesomeness. If you don’t have a close inner circle of friends that lifts you up it’s time to seek them out. Friends that listen and don’t shame. Some have luck finding new friends at local parenting groups. You need someone in your life that you can get vulnerable with and they will simply support you and listen.
Real mom friends don’t let other mom friends stay stuck in a cycle of guilt.
When we catch our friends or family feeling guilt lets pull them up! Listen to them. Let them get it out. Then point out the positives. Remind them of their great qualities and remind them that we all go there sometimes.
Together, I believe we can all work hard on letting go of the mom guilt! Believe in yourself and your abilities, accept that you will make mistakes, and know you have support to remind you of how magical you really are!