How to Ditch the 5 Most Common Mom Guilts
Lately, social media (and traditional media for that matter) has a way of making me feel inadequate and inferior to other moms. Or, inferior to the mythical "super mom." How do they do it? I wonder. Are they really raising multiple kids, working full-time, maintaining the perfect body, keeping up with all the housework, and making those cake pops?
Don't get sucked into the mom guilt like I was. Get a reality check from real moms in the Circle of Moms communities and stop beating yourself up about the following five common guilts.
1. Not Getting Everything Done
There aren't enough hours in the day, especially for moms who are responsible for so much at work, at home and everywhere in between. Jodi R. came to the Circle of Moms communities when she found herself overcome with a feeling that is familiar to many of us: "I [feel] guilty at work that I'm not home and guilty at home that I'm not at work." Dr. Rosina M., another member, assures her that she is not alone, but also that the guilt is not helping:
"It doesn't help you and it doesn't help your children. You might try to 'accept' that you want to work and this is something you've chosen to do, or if you need to work, accept that you don't have control over having to work. Acceptance is important as it can alleviate the guilt."
Criselle R. offers some practical advice on the work / home juggle, which she feels can never truly be in balance. She says you have to find ways to compensate when you're favoring one over the other. She takes her child to work with her occasionally, "So that he'll know what I'm doing and what keeps me busy. This way my co-workers can also see how busy I could be when my kid is around."
2. Taking Time For Yourself
Kaleigh L. is a single working mom who feels guilty she feels when she takes time for herself: "In my head, I know it makes me a better mommy and more patient, but I know he wants to be with me and he already has to be away when I'm at work or in school. It makes me feel awful."
This is another guilt that's worth getting rid of, and Sarah B. offers many reasons why taking breaks from a busy and full life is so crucial: "It gives you time to reflect on how much your child has developed and grown. It also helps you step back and reassess any type of situation, and enjoy the little things in life more."
3. Not Enough One-On-One Time With Your Kids
Whether or not you work outside the home, have one child or 10, moms often feel bad for not spending enough time focused exclusively on their children. Daphne W., for instance, feels bad for leaving her daughter in childcare while she works, only to have the guilt kicks in again once home when she realizes there is so much to do around the house: "I feel I'm not giving her the time she needs with me."
Hanna R. feels that sometimes, cleaning and housework have to wait. It really is more important to just be with her daughter: "My house doesn't know if it's clean or not, but my baby knows if I am playing with her or not."
The important thing to remember is quality over quantity. Angie L. makes sure to have at least five minutes of one-on-one time with each of her kids every night: "I invent lullabies or sing a song or just tickle their tummy and massage and kiss their footsies. It may not seem [like] much, but they look forward to it, and I separate each of them so they can each have their moment."
4. Day Care
At some point, nearly every working mom feels the guilt associated with having someone else care for her child while she works. Even moms who don't work outside the home fret over whether their child is better off at home with her or at day care/preschool. Yvette C., a mom to a toddler who is about to give birth to her second child, is clearly struggling with this guilt when she asks: "Is it fair to Adam that he's still going to daycare while I'm at home with the new baby? I feel a little guilty, but he enjoys day care and I think he'll miss it." Several moms respond that day care is a necessity for several reasons, especially when Yvette needs some time to bond with her new baby.
After going through the exact same situation, Beth T. assures Yvette and other moms facing this dilemma that there is no reason to feel guilty: "My son loves his day care. He would have much rather play all day with friends than sit around a house with me for six weeks."
Whatever the reasons you send your child to structured daycare, moms like Nancy B. feel the benefits outweigh the negatives: "Don't feel guilty about sending him to day care. He needs the routine and the socialization that a day care provides. This will also be a help when it's time to attend school. He'll be used to being around other children and the transition will be much easier."
5. Not Having The Perfect Body
We're constantly bombarded with an ideal body image that is extremely difficult to attain. Even after becoming a mom, we're reminded daily of how quickly celebrities get their bodies back. Mandy describes the weight struggle she is still going through:
"It seems like half the time I feel good about my body and the other half not. During pregnancy I felt great about myself, knowing that my body was doing exactly what it was made to do. Now I feel like I should be back to what I was before. We just have to move through the transitions of life gracefully and do the best to take care of the body we have."
For many women, losing weight and keeping it off is a real struggle that takes time. As Jacqui P. says; "You can't starve yourself or you may get rundown or sick. It took nine months to put on the weight so expect it to take nine months to loose it."
It's important to accept your body for all the amazing things it does, and focus on keeping yourself healthy rather than on an unrealistic image or number on the scale. Janette B., who says she learned to appreciate her body more by becoming a mom, reminds us that we really are our own worst critics: "Never have I found my body so incredible, even though it doesn't look like I think it should. Notice that I said 'think.'"
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Circle of Moms.
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