In the mid-twentieth century, being a “good mom” meant something much different from what it means now. That definition still varies depending on culture, finances, and how many kids you have! So, what’s with all the mom guilt?
Perfection is overrated!
You’re not mom-bot. You’re human. Trying to be the perfect mother is not a self-loving choice because:
- You are putting unnecessary pressure on yourself
- It can cause anxiety or depression
- It can negatively impact your physical health
- There’s no such thing as a “the perfect mother”
What causes mom guilt these days?
Here are some factors, specific to our current culture:
1. Social media
It seems everything we do is documented in real time. Of course, the image we present to the world on social media is heavily edited. This combination can lead us to compete on so many levels. Other parents, the messages imply, are doing a way better job than you.
2. More expectations imposed on kids
Today’s high-tech world also imposes pressure on our children. They’ve never lived in a world without smartphones and the Internet. Peer pressure has become a 24/7 reality and it can influence how parents judge their own skills.
3. Higher cost of living
Gadgets, devices, fashion trends, and more—our kids are hooked into what’s trending. But who can afford the latest thing when the latest thing changes daily? Here comes more mom guilt. Guilt from comparison.
4. Balancing work and home
More moms than ever work outside the home. For these mom’s, balancing the needs of work and home can lead to “not enough time” guilt. Not enough time for work, not enough time for family.
Of course, there’s one form of mom guilt that spans the centuries. You have a sincere and loving desire to do the best you can for your kids. What can a dedicated mom do?
5 Ways to Shed the Mom Guilt
1. Decide what really matters
Not everything you worry about is a crisis—even if your kids act that way! Learn how it feels to trust yourself to know the difference.
2. Don’t compete with other parents
Your kids will use their friends’ parents as a ploy. Also, their friends’ parents may present themselves on social media as parenting superheroes. There’s nothing to gain (except guilt) from getting caught up in all of that. Be yourself.
3. See your identity as more than “Mom”
If being a parent becomes your primary (or sole) identity, guilt is inevitable. Honor all of the roles you have in your life. Acknowledge to yourself when you do well at the gym or at work or with other parts of your life. You will have ups and downs in all those areas but hey, nobody’s perfect!
4. Nobody’s perfect!
Aiming for perfection causes more than mom guilt. Perfection is boring because it takes out all of the fun. It also sets you up for an unhappy life. Keep learning and growing. Commit to evolving. Do the best you can with what you have right now. Your kids will appreciate it and so will you.
5. Recognize that your kids are turning out great
Your children are strong and resilient and have so much to learn from their struggles. You can’t protect and guide them always… and that’s a great thing! Your children will benefit if they can learn how to “self-protect” and cope in times that are personally challenging.
How does this tie into shedding mom guilt? (Women are encouraged to strive. But women still face criticism for striving.) It can be helpful to talk with a therapist about this. Issues like guilt, not feeling “good enough,” and anxiety can be tough to tackle on your own. There’s no mom guilt in seeking the counsel of a professional, it can instead, be considered excellent self-care.