How to Live a Guilt-Free Life as a Mom
Anyone can tell you that becoming a parent is a life-changing event. It opens you up to unconditional love. It instantly forces you to prioritize the things that truly matter. And it proves that every single woman has the hidden superpower of making things happen.
But the truth is that parenting also comes with a boatload of guilt. After all, shouldn’t all of us moms be the perfect caregivers, always there, always right, and always doing more (even though it’s physically impossible)?
If you find yourself facing these types of self-doubts, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, a survey from 2013 discovered that 87% of moms feel maternal guilt at least some of the time, while one-fifth of mothers face this type of shame regularly. And even though maternal guilt is (as it seems) everywhere, it shouldn’t be.
So, if you, like so many of us, are wondering how to live a guilt-free life as a mom, here are a few tips that should help you save your energy for the things that genuinely matter.
Understand What Causes Maternal Guilt
Before you can start getting rid of your sense of guilt as a mom, you must first understand what generates that guilt. Science suggests two causes:
- diverging interests of the mother and the child
- the cultural conditioning driving mothers to believe they owe constant high-quality maternal investment, no matter the costs
In other words, maternal guilt is caused by everyday situations in which mothers have to choose between their own interests and wellbeing and what they’ve been taught by society to be the “correct” choices in raising their children.
So, some women will feel guilty over their decisions regarding breastfeeding. Others will feel torn because they’ve chosen to divide their attention between a family and a career. And some mothers will even feel guilt over the simple decision to get parenting help.
Now, if you’re reading this, you probably already know this. But just in case, here’s a friendly reminder: Mother’s guilt is nonsense.
Your wellbeing, interests, and life choices are equally important as your role as a mom. So don’t allow yourself to be put on the spot. Instead, do your best to overcome maternal guilt and free up all that mental space for doing what’s best for you (and, consequently, your kids, as well).
Accept That Taking Care of Yourself is Not Optional
An essential thing you have to do as a mom is to take better care of yourself. No matter your kids’ age, you have to do your best to be healthy (both physically and emotionally) so that you can handle the demands of parenthood.
So what should self-care as a mom actually consist of? Well, it can be many different things.
- A healthy diet and exercise regime will ensure your body is in peak performance mode. Plus, it will help you handle the physical demands of parenthood (especially when you have small or hyperactive kids).
- Giving yourself the optimal conditions for a good night’s sleep will allow you to recover and gather the energy to handle every day with a rested body and mind.
- A fulfilling hobby will give you time to yourself, a much-needed break from family life, and an outlet that will allow you to blow off some steam.
Come to Terms With Your Shortcomings
The second most important thing you need to do as a parent is to accept that perfection is overrated. At least if you want to live a guilt-free life.
So, instead of striving for perfection, try to set an example for your children in other ways. Show them how they can learn from their mistakes. Teach them that we all learn as long as we live. And ensure that they don’t see you putting too much pressure on yourself.
That way, they, too, will one day be able to accept that what matters is not being perfect but rather being the best version of ourselves we can be at any given moment.
Ask for Help
Finally, as you endeavor to start living a guilt-free life as a mom, don’t forget to ask for help. While you may be able to manage everything on your own, understand that there are better ways of parenting than spreading yourself too thin.
If you need help with childcare, don’t be afraid to explore your options. If you feel overwhelmed, look for ways to unburden your schedule. Talk to your partner and your kids about ways everyone in your household can work equally towards a more balanced life.
And, of course, don’t undervalue the importance of taking time to address your own needs – whether that’s a workout, a chat with a good friend, time alone, or even a therapy session.
Remember, it takes a village to raise a child. And that means you can’t expect yourself to fill all those shoes without help from others.
Although the tips covered in this article are pretty straightforward, there’s one last thing you need to accept about living a guilt-free life as a mom: you will always expect yourself to do more.
So, the sooner you start addressing your guilt, the better. Locking all that pressure up on the inside may make things seem perfect from the outside. But, as it always happens, there’s only so much we can handle. So, the best thing to do is take the lid off and allow ourselves to let off steam – even if that means being imperfect from time to time.
This guest post was authored by Sarah Kaminski
Sarah Kaminski is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.
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