mom guilt

What does the term ‘Mom Guilt’ mean? 

You might not have heard it, but you’re sure to have experienced it at least once. Mom’s guilt is the pervasive feeling that you’re not doing enough as a mother. It’s normal to feel like you need to do your best for your child, but this should not come at the expense of your well-being. 

Table of Contents:

Ditch the Mom guilt

A persistent feeling of inadequacy can have devastating impacts on your relationships with your family. Yes, it can be frustrating that you’re not getting all your work done but remember that being a mom is not simple. Give yourself a break!

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Toxic positivity: why it hurts

“The violence of positivity does not deprive, it saturates; it does not exclude; it exhausts.”

– Han Byung Chul, The Burnout Society

In his book, Han talks about how we no longer accept or allow ourselves to manage negative experiences in our current, competitive society. He theorizes that we live in a society mesmerized by positivity

It’s okay to feel like you want to give up. Just make sure you’re not sitting on your problems or ignoring them. Negative feelings are part and parcel of our daily lives, so try to understand why these feelings occur instead of suppressing them. Over time, you’ll become a master of your own emotions. 

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It’s okay to put yourself first

Anna Whitehouse, a popular mom influencer and strong advocate for flexible working, regularly emphasizes the need for moms to be more forgiving of themselves.  

“You are doing enough; something I’ve needed to remind myself of recently…” 

– Anna Whitehouse

If you feel guilty about taking a break, think back to the logic of the airplane emergency oxygen mask. If you don’t keep yourself safe first, you’ll be unable to ensure the safety of your child. 

It’s parental instinct to put your child as your number one priority, but sometimes it’s best to take a break and put yourself first. 

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Take a break from toxic Mom guilt-trippers

If you are surrounded by moms who regularly make you feel demoralized or guilty as a parent, you need a new sisterhood! 

It’s best to surround yourself with friends who empathize with you and wholly support you. The goal is to empower one another, not bring each other down!

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Communicate with your family

You know what’s best for your child, so don’t let anyone take that away from you. Talk to your child and admit that you messed up if you did. It’s okay to let your child see your vulnerable side. 

Talk things through with your partner too, and set the right expectations. Make sure you and your partner are both on the same page.

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Ultimately, everyone feels the mommy’s guilt – and it would take time and courage to move past naysayers and focus on you and your family’s well-being!

References

Brody, L. S. (n.d.). How to Be Mostly O.K. (and Occasionally Fantastic) at the Whole Working Mom Thing. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/working-womans-handbook/how-to-be-a-working-mom

Frost, A. (2020, March 31). Why Mom (or Dad) Guilt Is a Thing — and What You Can Do to Stop Beating Yourself Up. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/mom-guilt

Han, B. (2015). The Burnout Society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Lewis, K. (2019, November 29). 8 Ways to Get Over Mommy Guilt. The Balance Careers. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/survive-mommy-guilt-hate-job-3545118

Pittman, T. (2018, May 10). 5 Ways To Cope When Mom Guilt Is Getting The Best Of You. Huff Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-manage-mom-guilt_n_5b990895e4b0162f4732b4a4

Soen, H. (2020, February 19). Welcome to the world of toxic positivity: The trend which is ruining our lives. The Tab. https://thetab.com/uk/2020/02/19/toxic-positivity-culture-meaning-140567#:%7E:text=The%20phrase%20toxic%20positivity%20is,%20open%20up%20about%20anything%20bad.