‘Mum Guilt’ can mean different things to different people.
For example, some mums feel really guilty for having to leave their baby in someone else’s care when they return to work, some mums may feel guilty for actually wanting to return to work, and yet other mums may experience feelings of guilt for not being able to connect with their teenager or even adult child. There are so many variations of ‘mum guilt’ it could fill a book, but whatever the reason, the question driving the guilt remains the same… Am I doing enough for my child?
Of course, scrolling through various social media platforms showcasing ‘perfect’ families consisting of smiling, happy, healthy, wholesome kids, while your toddler is having a complete meltdown because he is not allowed to play with peanut butter in the bath, can leave a person doubting their parenting skills (and sanity) all-together.
The pressure of society’s expectations of mothers can be overwhelming, and it can leave you feeling lonely and like there is something wrong with you, and if you allow the guilt and feelings of inadequacy to get the better of you, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. That feeling of inadequacy can come from the outside, or even worse, inside your own head.
Managing ‘mum guilt’ is an important part of parenting. When you feel guilty, it can be hard to get anything done and can have a significant and negative effect on the emotional well-being of mothers, so it is vital that as a mum, you learn to balance your own needs with those of others so you can gain peace of mind.
So how do we as mums, do that?
The key to not feeling guilty about your parenting is to keep perspective. As kids grow and change, mums are always their biggest cheerleaders and fan, and ultimately only ever want the very best for their children.
The first step to getting rid of mum guilt is to understand why you feel it…
To make sure that mums don’t feel like failures as parents, here are some tips for overcoming this issue when it inevitably arises.
This means that you should try not to juggle multiple tasks all at once. You should also take regular breaks and even try using apps such as Google Calendar or Apple’s Calendar app for reminders about upcoming deadlines and meetings. The best tools for staying organised and being productive are the ones that work best for you. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to productivity, so you need to find a system that suits your needs.
The article “How to Overcome Mom Guilt” by Kim John Payne, Ph.D. suggests that mums should not feel guilty about taking care of themselves. He believes that if you take care of upirself, you will be more productive and have more energy to take care of your children. You need to find time for yourself. Take a day off every week and make sure that you are taking care of yourself in order to be able to take care of those around you.
It is very hard to be a working mum because you have to juggle between your work and your family. You can feel this weight on your shoulders when you come home and you do not want to disappoint anyone. Keep the channels of communication open with your children so that they are aware of what you’re doing professionally and to allow you to become aware of what is happening in their own lives. This will ensure that they are not feeling neglected or ignored. Share the household tasks with your children to take the load off yourself and teach them responsibility. This can also be a topic of discussion when you are home together and helps form unity. It’s also not a bad idea to get help from other people who can help with lifts to and from extra mural activities, household chores, cooking, or even babysitting if needed.
Set some clear boundaries for yourself and your children. This will help you feel less guilty when you are unable to spend time with them or when they need something from you that you cannot provide right away. Make sure that your children know what they can do on their own so that they don’t rely on you too much and instead become independent and responsible, but remain accessible to them if they need advice or want to share what they have achieved on their own.
Mums are always expected to be the best at everything. They are expected to be the best at parenting, housework, chores, cooking and so much more. Women have a lot of pressure on them in society today to ‘do it all’, but we are only human and there is no shame in seeking assistance. Therapy is another way to get help for ‘Mum Guilt’, and there are websites that offer counselling and advice for mums who feel they are struggling.
Just remember, feeling guilty stops you from being your best for your children and for yourself. Accept that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and the best recipe by far is to not worry about what other people think and to teach your children the same.
So take a deep breath… and just let the ‘Mum Guilt’ go.