By Amy Mason
Please learn more about Amy by visiting her website at www.amyemason.com.
Hey Mama. Let’s talk about a bad friend that’s been hanging around for way too long. Her name is Mommy Guilt. You know her by her accusing tone and condescending voice that whispers things like you’re not good enough, you’re not doing enough, you’ll never be as good as a mom as so-and-so. She’s the friend who likes to park your thoughts on your failures and stay there for way too long. Do you know her? I do too.
It’s no wonder so many of us put up with Mommy Guilt every day. We live in a world where only the best of mothering is put on display. Pinterest shows us the most creative and most fashionable moms in the world. Facebook and Instagram bombard us with pictures of beautiful families with well behaved children enjoying perfect moments of marital and sibling bliss. How can we see these incredible pictures and not feel “less than”? Oh how Mommy Guilt loves to feed on that feeling.
Here’s the thing - it’s time to break up with Mommy Guilt. It’s an important step toward being content as a mom. I certainly don’t want to mother from the place of fear she brings me to. Deep down, I desire the confidence to fully embrace the family I have and be the woman I want to be. I truly want to enjoy this beautiful gift of being a mom.
Over the years, I’ve realized that Mommy Guilt has no value in my life and I’ve been learning there are ways to put her off. Here are three ways to help you say goodbye to Mommy Guilt.
Embrace good enough. There is a whole theory of parenting called Good Enough parenting that says that it is actually better to raise children as a good enough parent, rather than a perfect parent. The best parents are involved enough but are flawed enough too. Supermom is a myth and nothing feeds Mommy Guilt like trying to make yourself and your children live up to an impossible standard. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your children is to learn to embrace your humanity and see your limitations as part of the package of good parenting traits you already have. Your limits can be opportunities to teach your children about how to deal with failure and mistakes. Plus, eventually your children will become aware that you are not perfect; that they are not perfect. They might as well know that sooner than later and learn to how to embrace their strengths and weaknesses. This helps children cope with disappointment and learn to roll with the punches. Isn’t it a relief to know that your “good enough” is actually better than perfect?
Focus on the Good. Mommy Guilt loves getting your train of thought stuck on your failures. One way to escape feelings of guilt is to spend some time each day listing or journaling what you did well that day. Even if it’s as simple as gave my kids a hug, or kept my children alive - celebrate it! It can also include took care of me, or showed affection for my husband. Try to think of any positive example set, gift given, words said, healthy snacks consumed. Set aside time each day to only think about what you’re doing well as a mother. This is not a time to think about what you should be doing or what you want to be doing better. This is a time to remember what you have done and are doing well. You will be amazed at how this list grows over time and each day you will become more aware of your strengths as a mother rather than your failures.
Share the love. A great way to fight Mommy Guilt is to turn the attention to someone else. Motherhood is a sisterhood and we all need each other in order to do this thing well and to raise our beautiful children into functioning, caring adults! Who are the moms in your life that you admire? Who are the women that inspire you? Take some time to let them know. Text them some words of encouragement. Write them a note. Send them a gift. Your encouragement might be a healing balm to their soul - and maybe even the boost they need to break up with their own Mommy Guilt.
Friends, let’s make a pact to leave Mommy Guilt in the past. Let’s be okay with being real moms, let’s focus on where we are succeeding rather than failing, and let’s give each other a little TLC so we can be great moms who raise the next generation of caring kids!