Month’s ago we shared a post from Kierra Gray on how she Manages Mommy Guilt.
I believe this is just a continuing struggle amongst moms. We all deal with over-critique of ourselves but in my experience of comparing pre-motherhood to present life as a parent, I believe it just hits different when the guilt includes tiny lives dependent on your daily choices.
Guilt is universal but also completely unique to each individual that struggles with it. So we at Bougiemama have done a little self-reflection to give our 3 unique perspectives, which in turn may relate to you or someone you know. As we all know talking about, relating to, and shining the light on those things that like to keep us hidden away can break the power that they hold over us.
Below is a transcript of questions and answers from us 3 here at BougieMama. As you read on, try to write or mentally fill in your own response as well and let us know (or someone close to you) the accountability steps you will take to be kinder to yourself.
When you hear the term “mommy guilt” what springs to mind?
Bridgid-Ryan : When I think of mom guilt I think of that guilty feeling you get when you think about something you’ve done involving your kids that just wasn’t good enough in your eyes or according to society. Sometimes I feel mom-guilt when I look back on a motherhood situation and think “I feel bad because I know I could have and should have handled that better.”
Desiree : Mommy guilt is the never-ending nagging feeling that I can do better for my little ones. I feel it when I watch TV, when I think about my own goals, and sometimes even when I shower! I want the best for them, and my mind is always working overtime trying to figure out what that looks like!
Tiffany : I have immediate feelings of anxiousness when I hear “mommy guilt”
2. Have you dealt “mommy guilt,” if so in what ways?
Bridgid-Ryan : As far as dealing with mom guilt, I used to let it crumble me when I was a new mom. I was really down on myself and would just really over-analyze everything, which is very uncharacteristic of me. We start out motherhood with very high and often unrealistic expectations of ourselves and the first time we mess up it’s like “wow I suck as a mom.” But I realized that’s an incredibly unhealthy way to handle failures in general. Now I try not to do that and give myself space to be human.
Desiree : I always deal with this. Clearly! 😫
Tiffany : Yes, I have been a mom for 6yrs and still struggle with this. I now have more time to do more things just for myself but the level of guilt is still present
3. Has your guilt derived from your own expectations or that of others?
Bridgid-Ryan : Mostly myself because I generally don’t lose sleep over other people’s opinions, but I’d be lying if I said some of my guilt wasn’t influenced by other people or society. There are certain pressures put on moms that can be very hard to live up to and its not even always something that I really care about but I know other people do and I think about how it makes me look as a mom to others if I don’t live up to it all.
Desiree : I’m a type A personality, so I contribute to it for sure! But the internet doesn’t help. I still get caught in internet wormholes of forums and blogs. And I remember factoids and suggestions I read with my first daughter 4 years ago! I try to get out of my head, and sometimes even that makes me feel guilty!
Tiffany : I think my own, in an attempt to be a great parent and great wife and bc I almost equally want to be great in my field the time sacrifices needed cause me to get overwhelmed and like underperforming so then I feel guilt for not being able to do it all greatly all the time. Basically my self-imposed desire to be superwoman but I also think it’s bc of what I think my husbands expectations of me are. I just realized although I’ve complained or broken-down in frustration we’ve never really had a conversation about our expectations of each other reasonable and unreasonable and the ones we each can adopt or need to let go. Maybe it’s the uncertainty that makes me feel like I’m underperforming
4. What have you tried that has helped?
Bridgid-Ryan : I started taking a step back and giving myself time to think about if 1) my guilt was over something ridiculous, like not buying soft enough baby towels, or something valid like losing my patience with my kid and yelling; then 2) what lessons can I learn from this situation and how can I apply that to be a better mom going forth. I also ask other moms that I look up to for their opinion on the certain situation to see how they would handle it and/or for encouragement. Having other moms to talk to really helps. Also, speaking with my husband helps.
Desiree : THERAPY. Find a therapist who is also a mom. I tend to use a lot of negative self talk, and therapists help with that.
Tiffany : Talking to my husband about things I would really like to do and figuring out how to make time for it so that when it comes up and guilt keeps me from doing it he can say to me “hey I thought you were going to fill in the blank? Knowing that he has carved out time to hold things down makes me feel a tad less guilty
5. What have you tried that has not helped?
Bridgid-Ryan : Trying to accomplish everything and be super perfect mom. Not helpful. Not possible
Desiree : Googling things absolutely does not help me.
Tiffany : The opposite of that, so just impromptu “me-time”
6. What would you say to a mom-friend that was consumed by “mommy guilt?”
Bridgid-Ryan : I would say think about what you would tell another mom dealing with the same situation. What would you tell them? How would you encourage them? Now look in the mirror and say that to yourself. Keep a list of positive mom affirmations. Say them to yourself, Keep positive self-talk and just learn from your mistakes so that you can be more of the mom that you want to be moving forward. But don’t let anyone make you feel like you need to be a different mother that what you want to be. If you don’t want to be the mom that cooks 3 meals-a-day from scratch and teaches their kids 2 or 3 languages then don’t! But if that’s what YOU want to do, then go for it and don’t feel bad if you miss the mark a little. These kids didn’t come with a manual. We’re all winging it at the end of the day.
Desiree : To a friend I’d say, the best thing you can do is be present for your babies when you’re around them. Life is messy. Get out of your head and into the room with them.
Tiffany : I would say; try to convert that feeling into recognition that it’s her responsibility and accountability reminding her but not to let it become a negative all-consuming issue and to still focus on becoming who she is meant to be in addition to her role as mom and other roles
How would you answer some of these questions? Do you relate to any of the responses above? Hop down to our comments and join in the conversation!