Motherhood and guilt seem to go hand in hand…
On a daily basis we are presented with challenges and decisions that need to be made. And as caring mums we are constantly worrying whether we have done or said the ‘right’ thing. So mum guilt can leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted….So here are 6 tips on how to deal with mum guilt.
Do any of these sound familiar?
I’m sure you can think of many more to add to this list!
So here are 6 Tips on how to deal with mum guilt
A little guilt can be healthy, as it shows that you want to do the best for your kids. However, feeling guilty about everything and anything can be destructive. Here are a few tips to help you minimise mum guilt:
1. Become aware of your guilt
We often don’t realise how much we beat ourselves up, as it has become an ingrained habit. So the first step is to recognize when you are doing it and then to stop those negative thoughts from spiralling out of control. You can do this by simply pausing and taking a few deep breaths.
2. Change your thoughts
Once you have acknowledged your negative thought, you need to re-frame it. So instead of thinking ‘I feel guilty enjoying my job,’ replace it with ‘I am happier and therefore a better mum because I work.’ If you continue to re-phrase your thoughts, it will become more habitual.
3. Learn from your mistakes
The next time you feel your behaviour doesn’t align with the kind of mum you want to be, take action. Use the opportunity to reflect and see how you can repair the situation.
If you screamed at your kids, instead of thinking ‘I’m such a bad mum’, say to yourself:
- I know I overreacted and lost control
- I will apologize to my kids, and
- I will try to figure out how to manage my anger and handle things differently next time
Therefore, guilt can be a powerful motivator for change.
This also allows your kids to see you making mistakes and realise that it is part of being human. And it gives you the opportunity to teach them how to handle it in a positive way.
4. Let go of perfectionism
How often do you use the word ‘should?’ Where is this coming from? Whose expectation is this?
There is so much pressure to be the ‘perfect’ mum, from society, family, the media and sadly also from other mums. You need to be seen to be doing it all, look great AND make it all look effortless! And anything short of this ‘perfection’ is considered a failure.
So instead of striving for perfection, acknowledge that you are ‘good enough.’ When you go to bed at night and reflect on your day, you may not have done what you set out to do, but know that it’s good enough.
5. Balance your mistakes with your achievements
Yes you are going to screw up. Every stage of motherhood is new and different with every child. There is no rulebook. It’s trial and error. Some things will work, others will not.
So instead of beating yourself up about the things that didn’t work out, you also need to acknowledge the things that you have done well.
You could even ask your kids what they think you do well…you might be surprised at their answer.
6. Talk to someone you trust
When you feel bad about something you have said or done, you may not want to talk about it for fear of being judged or rejected. But if you can share your feelings with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, it enables the guilt to have less of a hold on you.
This can be difficult and does require courage, but it can bring a huge sense of relief.
Therefore, a little mum guilt is ok. It not only shows that you care and want to be the best mum you can, it also allows you to change things that you are not happy about. But holding on to it will not benefit you or your child.
Remind yourself you are a sleep-deprived, imperfect mum, who can’t be in two places at once. And that you will make mistakes, but this does not make you a bad mum.
If you need support with any of the issues mentioned, please contact me.