Mom guilt is easy to slip into when there are a thousand social media posts telling you how to be the perfect mom, or neighbors that never seem to be struggling as much as you do with your kid. Sticking to the same internal narrative that you are not enough or that you could be doing more will only lead to burnout and resentment. Sometimes all you need is a hard truth to realize there is a different path you can choose to take.
It would be great if every day your kids were dressed aesthetically with beautifully brushed hair, and no food stains, messes, or tantrums. But, imperfection is a fact of life and the sooner you embrace it the better your mental health will be. So what if your kid goes to school with two different colored socks, or you forgot to put makeup on that morning as you rushed out the door. Imperfections like those aren’t going to ruin the day unless you let them.
Let go of expectations
There are a lot of expectations of what makes the “perfect mom.” Yet “perfect” doesn’t mean it’s the right kind of mom your family needs. You are the best fit for your family and striving for unrealistic expectations will only make you feel lesser than you really are. So maybe it’s time to separate yourself from people who give judgemental opinions about your parenting style or take a break from doom-scrolling perfectly curated Instagram and Pinterest moms.
Stop comparing yourself to other moms
Everyone has a different situation and just because your neighbor can do what you can’t doesn’t make you any less of a good parent. It’s also likely that the mom you compare yourself to is also comparing themselves to someone else. The grass will always seem greener until you stop and appreciate everything you do for yourself and your family.
There is no one right way
Maybe you have a system to separate the laundry or go food shopping. That doesn’t mean your partner and kids need to do it the exact same way as you when you’re not around. As long as they know not to put a red shock in the white load, then it doesn’t matter how the laundry gets done. And the food will still end up in your fridge at home no matter what order it goes into the cart.
Receiving help doesn’t mean you’re any less of a superhero
As much as you’d like to do it all and be a superwoman, it’s not a healthy mentality to constantly exhaust yourself. You are not a lesser mom for relying on others to help you out. Instead, it means you are prioritizing what matters most to you and finding more of a balance between being a parent and a professional leader. It also means you have time to be a full human outside of both. Remember, “it takes a village” and that’s OK!
When you’re away, be away
Like everyone else, you deserve a little R&R from time to time. It’s very difficult to relax as a parent when you’re worried about your kids and spouse while away. Physically you’re on the beach, but mentally you’re at home. Allow yourself to be away from family and know it will work out just fine. You don’t need to answer the phone every time they call to let them know where their soccer uniform is or how to braid your daughter’s hair. Trust that your partner, parents, or babysitter will figure it out.
Working is as important as childcare
Mom guilt can come from feeling like you’re not spending enough time with your family because you’re at work. Yet, your professional goals are just as important as your personal life. Finding work-life balance isn’t easy and takes some trial and error. But, when you remind yourself why you love your job, and what you’re working towards it can put things in perspective. Consider what a great example you are teaching your kids in work ethic, flexibility, determination, and goal setting.
Allow yourself to feel negative emotions
It’s normal that you can’t be 100% nurturing, understanding, and gentle all the time. Sometimes moms yell at people they love. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible parent, it means you’re human. Make sure you apologize and talk through it with your family. If possible, it might be beneficial to find space where you can feel angry, upset, or frustrated so you can go back to them calmer and more level-headed. Seek professional help if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or severe anxiety or depression.
Rely on the support of your community
Avoiding mom guilt isn’t always easy. If you are looking to expand your community of support, then consider joining IAW. We are a global professional women’s organization dedicated to providing resources, support, and education at any point in your life. Plus, connect with members like Angela Bell who is a life and success coach specifically for moms!
“I am a life and success coach for moms of small children. I help them release limiting beliefs and negative self talk, to free themselves to go after their dreams and live their best life,” said Angela. Find out more about her business here or learn how IAW’s community can help you here.