Mom Guilt is Real: 6 Ways to Cope

Read on to figure out how to let go of being a "perfect mom" and overcome mom guilt once and for all.

By Erin Macalik

We all know the feeling. You're doing your best as a mom, but you still feel guilty. Maybe you're working and feel guilty about not being home with your kids. Maybe you're a stay-at-home mom and feel guilty about not contributing to the family finances. Or maybe you just feel guilty about not being the perfect mom. Whatever the reason, mom guilt is a real thing. And it's something we all struggle with at one time or another.

There's no right or wrong way to feel about motherhood and there's no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming it. But there are a few things you can do to try to ease the guilt.

6 Tips for How to Overcome Mom Guilt

1. Prioritize yourself

As moms, we often find ourselves taking care of everyone else but ourselves. It's important to make sure your needs are met because you can't pour from an empty cup. It’s okay to want alone time or to have your “old” life back again. Having that feeling doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids and your time with them. It means you need to give yourself that time. Taking time for yourself by making sure you've eaten, hydrated, had some alone time, taken your vitamins, etc. is a great way to model self-care to your children.

2. Don't compare yourself to other moms

Everyone is different and every mom has their own unique set of challenges and in reality, we only see a small fraction, likely the highlight reel, of other moms' lives. The feelings of overstimulation, being emotionally-drained and losing yourself are universal among moms, even when they don't talk about it. Comparing yourself to other moms will only make you feel worse. Instead, compare yourself to you. Look at how happy you make your children and how far you've come! Focus on making today better than yesterday.

3. Practice mindfulness

When you're feeling overwhelmed, step away. Take 5 minutes to breathe or do a guided meditation. It’s okay to have boundaries for your mental health, even when it comes to your children. When you're trying to decide whether to stay up late to make your child a specially curated lunch with star-shaped carrots, or put your feet up and relax for the evening, take a moment and listen to your body. Which one gives you a sense of peace? It's perfectly okay to make your kids a generic lunch and take time for yourself to relax so you can be a happier mom tomorrow.

4. Give yourself some grace

Remember that you're doing the best you can and that's good enough. Cut yourself some slack. You're navigating the stresses of adult life and motherhood is HARD. If you experience mental health challenges, it's even harder. Self-compassion and learning to reframe can go a long way. Worrying about whether you're a good mom is proof that you are.

5. Lean on your village

We aren't meant to do it alone. Historically, and often still occurring in non-western cultures, mothers worked together in communities, helping to raise and educate children, wash clothes, prepare food, and support each other when they were sick. Our western culture makes it more challenging, but it's so important to find your village, one that really cares about you and your children, and then ask for help when you need it. Even an online village can help you feel less alone, follow us on Instagram for support on your motherhood journey.

6. Be present in the moment.

When you're with your child, try your best to be present. We get it, it's hard to slow down, put the phone down, and give them your full attention, but dedicating even just a few minutes a day for genuine connection with your kids is great for both of you.

The Takeaway

You are a great mom. You can love your children, be frustrated by them, never want them to grow up and also want them to be more independent all at the same time, and that’s totally normal. Your feelings are valid and you're doing a great job. Take care of yourself so you can take care of them.

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