15 Healthy Ways To Deal With Mom Guilt

15 Healthy Ways To Deal With Mom Guilt

Parenting isn’t easy.

A few weeks after I had my son, I called my mom, near tears, and cried, “What on earth did I just do?” Having a baby was not all the roses and rainbows I had anticipated. I was exhausted, I always smelled like sour milk, and I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel all the puppy love for this wrinkly babe who kept screaming. Then I felt terrible for even having that thought. Shouldn’t I be head over heels for this little one? He’s the light of my life, so why do I have such mean, dark thoughts about motherhood? 

If this sounds like you, just know you aren’t alone. Mom guilt is real and vicious, but you and your babies deserve freedom from unnecessary shame. Find a quiet space (sitting in the closet or on the toilet, if you have to) and check out these 15 ways to combat mom guilt and give yourself the grace you deserve.

1. Call it what it is.

It’s called “mom guilt” because all moms experience it. If you love your little one, you want what’s best for them at all times. And let’s face it—we all have hard days. We are imperfect people, so we won’t navigate motherhood flawlessly. We will yell when we shouldn’t, we will forget to pack their lunch, and, honestly, most of us will let them roll off the table, the bed, or just about anywhere else. To deal with mom guilt, you have to call it what it is. (And remember that all of us mommas go through this. You aren’t alone!) As Cleveland Clinic notes, it’s natural to feel that you’re not measuring up as a parent, but that doesn’t make it true.

You may also like: Evil People: 21 Things They Do & How To Deal With Them

2. Talk it out with other mom friends.

There’s nothing like texting another mom at two in the morning, knowing she’s up with a teething baby too. Don’t be afraid to talk out your mom guilt with close mom friends. Odds are, you’re experiencing the exact same things. Sometimes just having someone to commiserate with can be a massive relief.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

3. Join a mom support group with those in your motherhood phase.

I joined a mother’s support group for mommas with babies between 0–12 months. We meet twice a month at the downtown coffee shop, and let me say, it’s such an encouraging gift to simply know you aren’t the only one who lets screen time run longer than it should. It’s a relief to see that other mommas forget to pack extra diapers or let their kid konk their head on the hardwood floor.

You may also like: Men Who Are Unfulfilled In Life Often Display These 17 Behaviors

4. Identify your triggers.

What triggers your mom guilt most? If you can’t answer this question, it’s easy for the guilt and shame to come in hot. I’m easily triggered when I allow my son to have a not-so-healthy snack or feel that I’ve prioritized by work more than reading him a book. Once you understand what triggers your mom guilt most, you can combat it more readily.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

5. Devote time to yourself—daily.

This is a hard one, for me, at least. I feel guilty for having “me” time, but this is necessary. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, take time to refuel. Read a chapter in your book, sit in the quiet to drink some hot tea, etc. Do something for yourself so you can give of yourself to your children. When you take care of you, then you can show up well for your kiddos and squash mom guilt.

You may also like: 16 Habits Of People Who Are More Attractive Than They Think

6. Create encouraging mantras.

I had a natural birth without an epidural or other numbing aids. When I took natural birthing courses, it seemed the biggest takeaway was how powerful the mind is. Enduring a natural birth was simply a mind game, and it was crucial that I have several truths to repeat to myself when things got hard. Labor was, well, brutal, but what got me through? Over and over, I said, “God made my body to do hard things.” This gave me the “woman power” boost I needed to get the job done. The same is true for any mommas. Find out what makes you feel reenergized, seen, and capable. Repeat these truths to yourself when things get hard.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

7. Reflect on what you’re doing right.

You might have lost your cool on the ride to school this morning, but do you remember being so patient last night when they “helped” you wash dishes? Remember when you forgot it was picture day but still bought and framed those wild-haired photos anyway? You won’t be perfect, so there’s no point in keeping yourself weighed down by what you’ve done wrong. Reflect on what you’re doing right and celebrate those things!

You may also like: 19 Stereotypes About The South That Are Totally Untrue

8. Take in your kiddo’s smile and laughter.

Why are your kids smiling and laughing? Because they’re happy—they know joy and contentment. And they know such things because of the beautiful, caring home environment you created for them. So don’t be afraid to join in with their giggles and grins. You’ll create memories for everyone.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

9. Use relevant, healthy resources.

I advise that you avoid the mom influencers who convince you that you can get your newborn to sleep through the night in week one. Avoid the mom accounts that are convinced you can keep the house spotless while chasing a toddler. There are some mom “resources” that only inflict guilt, shame, and comparison—stay away from those. But don’t be afraid to use the relevant, healthy resources that come your way. Find other moms that you trust and motherhood blogs and digital resources that offer encouraging, useful tools.

You may also like: Things You Should Never Say To Someone You Love

10. Take “Mommy Minutes” as you need them.

When my little sister and I were creating chaos in the car, my mom would say, “Okay, girls. I need five ‘Mommy Minutes.’” That meant we had to keep quiet in the car for five minutes, and if we talked, the five minutes started all over. Now, as a mom, I understand that this was her way of regrouping and taking time to recharge. Don’t be afraid to take those “Mommy Minutes” as you need them.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

11. Celebrate little wins.

Did you finally figure out how to do the “Elsa braid” your little girl has been dying to sport? Have you finally figured out what your son means when he asks how his football blitzing play went? Celebrate those small wins that make you feel better equipped to connect with your children. (After all, complicated braids and confusing football plays are tough stuff!)

You may also like: Reasons Your Adult Children Want Nothing To Do With You

12. Journal your frustrations.

We all need healthy ways to process our frustrations, especially mommas. Consider journaling at the end of each day, allowing your biggest fears and failures to transfer from your brain to the page. This allows you to process how you feel about these things and discover ways to navigate the next day. Meanwhile, you’re able to brain dump, getting all of those heavy thoughts out of your head so you’re ready to tackle tomorrow.

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

13. Consider therapy.

I started going to therapy four weeks after my son was born because I knew postpartum depression was invading my mind. It was destroying not only me as an individual, but my ability to be a momma and wife. My family and I all deserved better than that. Maybe you’re in a really difficult season mothering toddlers or teens. It’s okay—in fact, it’s healthy–to talk with a professional third party who can offer insight into how to process your motherhood journey.

You may also like: People Who Had Unhappy Childhoods Usually Develop These Traits

14. Recognize the role of grace.

Grace isn’t just for the kids. It’s for you too. And let’s be honest–kids do what we do. They don’t do what we say. If they don’t see us giving ourselves grace when we make mistakes, how will they ever learn to give themselves and others grace?

Don’t miss out – follow Bolde for exclusive content daily

15. Respect yourself and the motherhood journey.

Motherhood is tough. And I’ll be honest, some days, it’s miserable. I wish I had a dollar for every time I locked myself in the bathroom to cry or scream because the sensory overload of a little one was overbearing. You get to have hard days and still hold your head high. I give you permission to respect yourself and how intense the motherhood journey can be. And remember, motherhood is hard because you’re doing it right. It’s only hard when you’re selfless, showing up for your babies in ways you never dreamed of showing up for yourself. You get to pat yourself on the back for that, Momma.

You’re doing the dang thing. And you’re rocking it!

Enjoy this piece? Give it a like and follow Bolde on MSN for more!

Peyton Garland is a boy mama and Tennessee farmer who loves sharing her heart on OCD, postpartum life, and hope in the messy places.