Journal Day 7 – Is Mom Guilt Real?
Yes! Oh my goodness it is real, and I have had my fair share of it for sure! Just the other day I decided to treat myself to some sushi. Granted for me to get sushi I have to drive at least an hour to get any worth eating, so it is no small undertaking. Most of the time I was driving, I had this crushing guilt that brought me to tears. Any why? Because I felt bad to leaving my family and doing sometime solely for myself.
I know that it’s alright for me to do things for myself. I work hard cleaning the house, cooking the meals, doing the laundry and raising the kids. I might not have a wage, or get a salary, but I do work and there is nothing wrong with me wanting something for myself every once in a great while. At least that’s the logical thinking. When you get to the emotions, well that is a whole different story.
What is Mom Guilt?
Truthfully this should be called Parent Guilt as it affects both moms and dads.
Basically what it means to me is that feeling that you get when you do anything that isn’t ‘family focused’. Everyone will experience it differently. For me it’s that horrible weight on my chest that makes it hard to breathe in a crushing sort of way that brings on tears. Others might experience stress and sleeplessness, and then some others might not. It is different for everyone.
It also stems from feeling like what you are doing as a parent is inadequate. This is further perpetuated by social media that ‘shows’. By comparing yourself to other parents, you might not feel like you keep your house clean enough, have healthy enough meals, enough stimulating activities, enough family time, enough outdoor time, etc. The list goes on and on of all the things that a parent might not feel they are doing enough of.
Who Does it Effect?
It can effect Mothers and Fathers alike. Gender has nothing to do with this experience. Mothers and Fathers may feel it when they try to do something for them self or even someone else. Or they may experience it if they go back to work and leave their family at home. Anything that takes you away from the ‘family focus’ can cause this guilt.
Why Do We Get Mom Guilt?
Why do we get this horrible feelings when we try to do something for yourself? It stems from the comparison of ourselves to other people who we see and interact with. This is really not fair to ourselves!
Take, for example, you are scrolling on Facebook and see this stay at home mom who is posting all these pictures of the super fun time they had with their two little ones. See how perfect it looks? The kids are so well-behaved and super clean and coordinating with their clothes and the stuff they are doing is for lack of a better term: perfect.
So of course we compare yourself to that post, picture, article or tweet. “My child would never sit still for a picture like that.” “My kids clothes are never clean at the same time like that” “I never have enough time to plan something out like that and actually do it.”
We are always comparing ourselves to others, that is just how we are. Unless you are one of the few who truly don’t care what others think. If you are, I tip my hat to you as you are a rare person indeed.
For the rest of us, we are continually measuring how good we are doing as parents compared to other parents. That goes along with judgement of other parents compared to ourselves, and of how good we are doing. While this could be used as a platform for bettering ourselves, most people don’t, won’t or just plain don’t know how to.
What Can We Do About It?
In an ideal world, you could just stop comparing yourself to others. Realistically, that is just not possible for many of us. Again, if you can, more power to you.
There are a few things that you can do to help convince yourself and, for lack of a better term, give yourself proof that nothing is wrong. Take from thebalancecareers.com, here is a list of 8 steps to make sure that you’re really okay with how you are parenting.
- Decide if you’ve done something wrong
- Create an anti-Mommy guilt credo
- Create some space from people who cause you guilt
- Consider the other person’s perspective
- Take a personal day and spend time with you kid(s)
- Remind yourself that we all have our own challenges
- Admit that you may miss out on things
- Know that this won’t last forever
When all else fails, remember to be kind to yourself. This is one of the biggest lesson I am still learning being a stay at home parent. I do and will make mistakes, but as long as my little guy is ok, then it’s a learning point. I’m not perfect, but I keep on trying to be the best I can be.
Suggested Resources & Reading
- What is Mom Guilt
- Mom Guilt is Real. Here’s How to Beat it.
- You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom sold on Amazon
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