I paint this mental picture in my head every single day:
- Staying up late to finish a project CHECK
- Waking up early to get a jump start to the day (and another project) CHECK
- Feed the cats so they don’t wake up the whole family CHECK
- Wash dishes and empty the drying rack CHECK
- Change diapers before it becomes a leaky messy CHECK
- Start a load of laundry CHECK
- Brush teeth, wash face, brush hair CHECK
- Breakfast for kids CHECK
- Morning tea turns cold because you forgot about it CHECK
- Kids are cranky because you haven’t been paying attention to them CHECK
- Kids are now fighting because you are still not giving them undivided attention GREAT
Granted, this list always changes for me, but this more or less gives you an inkling to how mom guilt catches up to the average mom, real quick! These turn of events lead us to go on a never ending guilt trip because we are trying to do it all while still being present in the moment with our children.
What is mom guilt?
The Urban Dictionary defines mom guilt as, “guilt a mother feels anytime she takes time to do something for herself, outside of work, that does not involve her children.”
I’m going to take it a step further and add…. Guilt that a parent feels when they believe they are not doing enough to raise their child, which leads to a feeling of inadequacy. For example, lets say you were scrolling through a favorite social media platform and stop to see a Kodak moment of a family doing some sort of cool activity. Instead of consuming the picture for the moment it was (an awesome photo opportunity) you find yourself feeling low because you aren’t doing something fun and exciting at that very moment.
Working parents experience waves of guilt as well. You’re leaving baby in the hands of a third party, but happy to be returning to a career you’ve spent a chunk of life cultivating. You’re missing all the silly baby moments and maybe even the “firsts” in their lives, but you need to go back to work to support the family and the lifestyle you lead (bills bills bills). Try juggling between a work – life balance and its about enough to exhaust the workaholics of the world!
See… Mom guilt, Parent guilt (whatever you want to label it) can mean different things depending on the person you speak to. We cannot categorize the feeling. We just feel it! And it is not something that goes away. So, how can you overcome it all?
Knock it off! Kick Guilt To The Curb!
It’s tough to turn away a guilty conscious; however, in order to survive the world today- learn to adjust. This goes for any life changes. One of the most powerful proponents in Yoga theory is to ride the ebbs and flows, feel all the feelings, embrace them and move forward. I’m no expert, but I would like to think that raising 3 children under 4 years of age gives me some sort of street cred, no?! So, here are 6 helpful ways to flip your perspective:
- Journal. Sometimes all the chitta vritti aka “mind chatter” needs to be let out and writing it down is the best way to eliminate it all.
- Set healthy boundaries by spending less time online. Easy peazy- but why don’t more people do it? Because for some, social media is a way to unwind from the day. Once you click on one link it leads you down the rabbit hole. You know what I’m talking’ about… Being on social media gets addicting! Before you know it, hours have passed and you’ve accomplished nada.
- Slow down. Take a breath. This was the hardest one for me! Even I struggle with overloading my plate. What I have learned is that there is always another day. Do what you can.
- Give yourself a break. Self care is so important. Fill up your cup a little bit first before filling someone else’s cup. It’ll make you see things in a different light.
- Ask for help. You may feel like a one woman show, but sometimes all you need is a comrade to get you through a tough day OR maybe a family member or baby sitter would be so kind to lend a helping hand.
- Be gentle and kind. Say this affirmation, “I am doing the best I can. I am enough.”
The Juggle Is Real Mentality
This is all only a smidgen of advice I have for those whole struggle with mom guilt/parental guilt. Continue to problem solve and find solutions that work for you. I cannot stress that enough. I’m still a work in progress and I’m still learning from my mistakes. That is the beauty of life really- to acknowledge that you will never know everything.
A lot of people ask me how I do it all with 3 young children. Yes, it is often crazy and the house isn’t always as clean as it used to be… But that is because I am working part time while juggling my little beings all at the same time. I have had to let go a lot.
The reality is that I have always had to multitask. There was a point in time where I was changing careers and volunteered my way to paid opportunities while holding down a full time position. Or I was working full-time while still servicing clients. It was difficult, not going to lie! That hustle hard mentality has been engrained in my system for a long time now. It can be taught, but you have got to be disciplined.
COVID19 has taught me that the pandemic will not be going away anytime soon, just like mom guilt. Not every day plays out as us moms want it to, and that is completely OK. Trust that this time in life is only temporary and get all the snuggles and hugs you can. Let your teenager slam the door and be mad about something for the umpteenth time. Let the baby crawl all over you while trying to work from home. Allow the distractions to be just that and know that you’re never alone. Somewhere, someone on this planet feels the same exact way. Isn’t it nice to have that energetic connection even though you’re not in the same room?
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