Mom guilt. The dreaded feeling so many of us experience and yet, we feel so alone when we feel it. But why is that? Why do we, as mothers, constantly feel as if what we’re doing isn’t “enough” or isn’t “good enough”? To be honest, we’re all just doing the best we can. We’re learning as we go. Sometimes it can feel like we’re not making ANY progress. No steps forward. No improvement. But then, our sweet littles come to our rescue, throw their arms around us and give us that great big, giant bear hug that we absolutely KNEW we needed but didn’t ask for, and then, things feel a little better. *yes! one step forward!*
One thing I've noticed, being a mom myself, is that we’re so quick to compare ourselves to others. Whether it be to others in our family, friends, or even the people we see on social media. We have so many outside influences that cause us to second guess ourselves and our methods of parenting, and that can be exhausting! Things come into our mind like “Wow, she made her kids and husband an entire breakfast and all I did was put a bagel in the toaster” or “How is her hair AND makeup done, with NO spit-up or stains on her clothes AND her kids are dressed and look good?!” and “Honestly, who has time to take a bubble bath with a glass of wine and candles when you have kids?!”. I read a quote once that said “Comparison is the thief of joy” and man, how true is that? You can be feeling great and having fun with your kids because you’re all sitting down and coloring and everyone’s having a great time, and when you take a minute to scroll through your Instagram you see that another mom took her kids to the movies and got them snacks and popcorn and suddenly, coloring “wasn’t enough”. There goes the happy feeling. But WHY?!
I’ve come to realize that SO many of us want to feel like what we’re doing as parents is the “right” thing to do. We’re setting our kids up for success. We’re teaching them to be good humans. We’re setting the “right” examples. We work hard. We respect others. We love unconditionally. But wait...that last one. WE LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY! That is the BIGGEST take away that I want you guys to have from this. We love our littles so much. And guaranteed, they FEEL that love. Sure, some days are rough. Some days it seems like our kids really have it out for us, like they’re teaming up with their siblings and trying to make the day as frustrating and chaotic as humanly possible. We lose our cool, we yell, we take away toys, we put them in timeout, sometimes they get a spanking. Then we blame ourselves because we “should have kept it together.” But what does that teach them? It’s not ok to experience emotions? They’re not allowed to feel anything other than happy? In the real world, things aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. Life gets hard. It gets messy. Things don’t always go the way we want them to, and it’s OKAY to feel stressed. Sometimes we need to Embrace the Chaos so to speak. The most important thing to do after we experience frustration and stress, and yell, is to sit down with your kids and explain to them what you’re feeling. Saying things like “I was feeling frustrated and a little bit overwhelmed, and I let my emotions get the best of me which is why I was yelling” followed by a simple lesson for them as well like “Next time, when I tell you that you can’t do/have X, Y, or Z, it’s important that you listen and follow directions. I tell you these things because I care, and because I don’t want you to get hurt, etc” will show them that feeling emotions is ok, there’s a way to deal with them, and that everyone makes mistakes.
Honestly mommas, there are so many things that can cause us to feel imperfect. That can cause us to doubt our abilities to be a good mom, to do the right thing, to be a good role model. But at the end of the day, our babies still love us. They still want our hugs, our kisses, to be tucked in at night, and to cuddle on the couch. In their eyes, you’re their hero. You’re their MOM! And guaranteed, you’re the BEST MOM they could ever ask for. So know this, you’re NOT alone. So many of us feel these bouts of “mom guilt” and although we can feel so alone in those feelings, it’s so much more common that we realize. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, reach out to your other mama friends and ask for some help and support. (Trust me, I know this can feel super hard at first but it is so worth it!) Sometimes just sitting down with a friend and talking about how you’re feeling can help tremendously.
For now, just know that you’re doing an amazing job! Parenting can be tough. Being a mom can be taxing but also so incredibly rewarding. Mommin’ isn’t easy but ya know what, you’re doing the best you can and that’s the most important. Trust me, no matter how many social media accounts you follow, no matter how many mom bloggers you see, no matter how many “she has it all together” moms you hear about, there is not ONE. SINGLE. MOM who really has it “all together”. Not a single one who is “Perfect”. We’re all just doing the best we know how, and our kids love us, even when we don’t love ourselves enough.
If you struggle with mom guilt, please let us know what you struggle with down in the comments. We’re here for you mommas 100% of the way, we’re our own Mom Tribe and we all have to stick together!