Navigating the world as a mom is full of twists, turns, highs, lows, pleasure, and at times, unimaginable guilt. There are moments when it seems like we cannot do anything right, no matter how much we try. If you are reading this and are shouting “yes” at the screen, rest assured you are not on your own when you spend the whole day reeling off ten “Hail Marys.”
The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Are we putting too much pressure on ourselves?” The answer should overwhelmingly be “yes.” Mom guilt is a waste of time, it is bad for your mental health, and it does not make your child happy either. The US Journal of Marriage and Family recently carried out a large survey into parent/child relationships and found that repeated feelings of guilt and stress felt by parents had a negative effect on their children long-term.
Learning to be kind to ourselves
We all have an idea of what type of parent we would like to be, whether it is the one who loves routine, the Hippy Mom, or the Cool Mom. But while it is good to have goals and to aim to be the best that we can be, sometimes we just need a break.
When we feel guilty we zap away serotonin (the good stuff that makes us feel happy, you know, the reason why we eat a ton of chocolate) from our brains. At the same time that we are diminishing our serotonin levels, according to psychologists, our guilt is also raising our cortisol levels. What is cortisol you may ask? Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released when our body is under stress and it can leave us with all sorts of symptoms such as mood swings, weight gain, tiredness, and repeated infections. Not good, hey?
This means that our mom guilt is not only affecting our mental health but our physical health too.
When it comes down to mom guilt, it is ourselves who are to blame. Nobody can make us feel anything. We do have a choice to choose how we feel. No matter how much we beat ourselves up about something, we cannot change the past, we have to look forward to the future. Ditching the guilt is not an easy process, but when you make the decision to change your way of thinking a whole lot of weight will be lifted from those heavy shoulders.
Tips on how you can ditch the mom guilt include:
- Making a note of your guilt triggers. Whether it be not being able to do bedtime every night or enjoying a glass of wine on a Wednesday evening.
- Once you understand your triggers, work on exploring them one by one rather than being overwhelmed by trying to fix everything at once.
- Work out compromises if you really cannot shake a particular feeling of guilt.
- Talk things through with other moms as you may be stressing about something that nobody else blinks an eye at.
- Ask your children how they feel or observe them if they are not old enough to talk. Chances are they are much happier than you think.
- Give yourself a break and allow yourself to be selfish from time to time.
If, like us, you think that we should all ditch the mom guilt, then go ahead and free yourself. Relax and remind yourself what an awesome mom you are every day!