Feeling guilty, once you become a mother, is very often like our second skin. Baby is crying – you’re guilty. Little one skinned his knee – it’s your fault. You’re going back to work – mommy is feeling guilty again! Am I right or am I right?
So? What’s your number? How many times have you felt guilty today?
What is so special about mom guilt?
Guilt is a natural emotion. It is a reaction when you’re aware you did some harm. It’s your fault. And then there is its naughty sibling: mom guilt. A slightly different definition is needed, I guess.
Mom guilt is this feeling you get when you buy the cupcakes for a bake sale instead of baking them; when you scroll through Instagram on the playground instead of networking with other moms; or and that’s the big one: when momming simply does not sound like the best option in the particular moment. There. I said it.
Related post: To every Mama, who stays at home – have you ever…?
How often, when you were a teenager, you didn’t want to even move your finger? How many times in college you said “f*ck it, I’m not going anywhere” and stayed in bed the whole day?
Now, if your friend would tell you that those and similar situations happened to him, would you feel pity for him? Would you think s/he should feel guilty about it?
My guess is, you wouldn’t. And then the list of excuses comes in: everybody needs some time off, it’s ok that she doesn’t want to do it, she’ll do it tomorrow and nothing bad happens and so on.
So tell me why we, moms, feel so terrible when we don’t want to get up in the morning and have another day filled with chaos, noise, etc.?
You know you’re feeling guilty too.
Please notice that I’m talking about emotions only. I’m not judging anybody and what is more, I do not mention any further actions. It doesn’t matter for me if this exemplary mom will then yawn, stand up, wear a smile and go make breakfast for her kids or if she tries silently fight with the reality and wallows in bed for some more time.
What matters now is that for this brief moment she was feeling guilty about having that thought. About not wanting to be who she is or do what she is supposed to do. Does it make sense?
I am a mom and I love it. My kids are my priority. Even when I write this text I know that if they need me I will leave my laptop and I will answer their call. But does it make me a bad mom that I don’t want to stop writing?
Related post: How to survive in the world of unicorn mom stuff?
Besides the fact that we are all just people with all our emotions and often we don’t know how to control them, and the fact that we have 96% of DNA the same as a chimpanzee, I’d say it’s only natural to selfishly crave some lazy day.
It’s a completely different story what do you do with those cravings! But it’s not what this post is about.
Let’s sum up a bit real quick.
- You have a thought in your head.
- This thought made you feel that you’re about to do something wrong.
- You’re feeling guilty about it.
So you didn’t actually do anything shameful? You just kind of for a second thought that maybe you wanted to?
I feel I write it a lot on this blog, but here it comes: Congratulations! You’re a human being!
This is not something you should feel bad about, Mama! And that is exactly why you should stop feeling guilty as a mom. It brings nothing good into your life. It doesn’t even make any sense if you reflect on it deeper.
We have facts here: moms are humans, they have their natural predispositions, they are not happy about.
Related post: Just Redefine
What can you do when you’re feeling guilty (with no objective reason)?
First of all, please don’t feel guilty that you’re feeling guilty.
As usual, I’d recommend redefining whatever is going on in your head.
Moms are multitasking machines (which is not that awesome as I wrote in this post) and many things happen to us automatically, probably mom guilt light bulb turns on by itself too. Simply take a moment and think it through. Become aware of what is going on.
Answer yourself following questions:
- What are the core values you live by?
- What are your priorities?
- When you think about the mom-guilt-triggering situation, was your behavior (not emotions!) not aligned with your answers to the above?
- What (other than guilt) emotions come to mind when you think about that situation and towards what are they really directed?
Easier to say than do? If you need more help with this process, download the helpful, more detailed checklist (no worries, it’s free).
Sometimes all you need is a little self-intervention. Stop the spiral of excessive self-blame. Stop feeling guilty when you haven’t done anything wrong. Instead, redefine the thought process. (That workbook you see above can really help you do that).
Here’s a couple of ideas to dodge feeling guilty before it finds you.
- Be conscious of what’s going on with you.
- Get to the root of the problem, if you think you have it.
- Talk to yourself, start a journal.
- If you’re still not sure why you’re feeling guilty, ask your husband, ask your friend, ask me if you want to.
- Get another perspective.
I don’t want you to get anxiety from guilt. So please, always remember your values and your priorities. Mom guilt is not something that should be talked about lightly, because it is a problem. It has a huge impact on your mental health.
But on the other hand, it’s time to be real and stop making this monster bigger than it really is. You have the power to control it. And, as every mom knows, in our lives control is not something we can take for granted. It’s gold 😊
Be the best mom you can be. No more feeling guilty if you didn’t do anything wrong!
15 thoughts on “Feeling guilty – why and how could you stop it right now?”
It’s like you are reading my mind! Mommy guilt!
Hey Pam, I have such mixed feelings right now – I am happy that you found this text so accurate but then I hate that you’re dealing with the subject. I hope reading the post inspired you to bite the bullet and overpass the guilt. There’s no place for this negativity in your life <3
Yes! This post was amazing! Thank you for validating my feelings as a mom and giving me tools to help me cope with the dreaded “mom guilt.”
JoDee, I am so happy you liked it! Thank you for spending time on reading it and I hope You’ll cope with mom guilt once for all!
I love the comments about “mom guilt”. I work as a mental health counselor and I have two under 3, so I get it, but also hear it all the time. Some refreshing advice.
Leah, thank you for the comment. From you, as the specialist, I take it straight to my heart 🙂 Even better if you found it refreshing!
Thank you for writing this! I am a new mom, and your blog is really helping me through the emotional changes that I am going through now that I am responsible for a little one!.
Estefania, you made me cry. Thank you, Mama! I know how hard it is in the beginning, but trust me, you’ll be getting better and better in this whole mommy journey. Plus your little precious baby will be great too! This blog is nothing but the labor of love so I really appreciate feedback like that ❤️
It’s funny how some things never change. My kids are grown (well, technically) and those are the same things I dealt with over the last 20 years. Moms think they have to do it all but sometimes it’s OK to just survive the day.
Yes, this is quite a universal topic. Those emotions are hard to contain! Any tips for less experienced?
Oh my god that needs to be in the dictionary! Mom guilt is so real. I feel it all day & sometimes at night. Sometimes I do the stuff, sometimes I don’t, but either way I feel guilty. Thank you for making me realise I’m not alone!
You are definitely not alone, Mama!!!
Oh the mom guilt. Now I even mom guilt on things from 10 years ago. I just got to remember I always did my best at what I knew at the time but still wish guilt would go and stay away.
Oh the mom guilt even 10 years later I seem to have it but keep trying to tell myself I did the best I could with what I had. This is so easy to relate to great post.
Karie, thank you for your nice words! You’re right, all you can do is what you believe is the best!