MOM GUILT. Sound familiar?
Any other moms feel like they are constantly fighting Mom Guilt?
I recently had one of those weeks where I kept trying to fight back mom guilt, but the mom guilt seemed to be winning.
You see, I have two little kids and the baby is now crawling. My big boy’s world has turned upside down with this new reality wherein his baby brother can now grab at all his toys. The baby has also become his big brother’s shadow, so sweetly crawling after him all over the house. My youngest wants to be part of whatever my oldest is doing.
My big boy is totally freaking out. For the first time, he is learning how to share and interact with another tiny human 24/7. Up until now, little bro was often in someone’s arms, in a jumper or in a swing. So, this is totally new territory.
“MOMMA! I need space!” my oldest continually yells. “Ok, buddy. That’s fine, but you’ll need to go play in your room if you want to be alone,” I repeatedly reply.
We have this conversation throughout the day. He refuses to actually go upstairs into his room. It’s getting old for both of us.
Then, the moment happened that made me lose my ever-loving mind.
My 3-year-old got so annoyed and upset with his new shadow that he made the poor decision to hurt his baby brother. He KICKED the baby. It was actually quite a smooth, athletic and swift kick…so fast and quick I may have never noticed it, if it hadn’t make my baby fall on to the hardwood floor. The little guy began wailing and my rage escalated with his crying. My baby just got kicked, I kept thinking over and again in my mind.
Now, believe me, I know this stuff happens and it’s not developmentally abnormal for a toddler to harness his frustration through aggression. Also, after crying for a short bit, my baby was totally fine. But, still, the mama bear came out of the cave…
I yelled, “DID YOU JUST KICK YOUR BROTHER?” Followed up by, “GO. TO. YOUR. ROOM. NOW.” Christian Bale Batman voice>
I tried to calm myself down before going in to talk to my oldest. I took deep breaths and waited several minutes, then went upstairs when I thought I was ready to actually address the kick with my firstborn son.
When You Blow It as a Mom…
Instead, I went upstairs and totally blew it.
I yelled some more and was not loving or gracious like I had hoped. I made my son feel worse about something he seemed to already feel pretty badly about. I felt like a total FAILURE of a mom.
I lost my cool a few more times this past week and I was feeling pretty low. I was trying to remind myself that no parent is perfect and I am doing the best I can, but it didn’t feel like enough.
MOM GUILT is such a vicious monster and it seems to plague nearly everyone I know that is doing the hard work of mothering. So, how are we supposed to deal with mom guilt?
RELATED: Mom Guilt – The Struggle is Real
Here are 5 things I’m doing to cope with my mom guilt:
- Openly share. I am blessed to have some really wonderful friends that are there for me when I send a SOS text out like “Help! My kids are driving me insane today and I have lost my temper way too many times.” Whenever I’ve shared vulnerably about my challenges, my friends have always offered support, practical ideas or just simply shared that I’m not alone in my struggles. Moms, don’t feel like you need to keep it all together. Vulnerability is refreshing and can lead to deeper, more supportive friendships.
- Practice self-care. Self-care is so important. As they say, “you can’t pour out from an empty cup.” I began prioritizing my personal self-care over the past few years and it’s amazing just how beneficial taking time out for me is. When I’m slacking in the self-care department, it shows. I’m more crabby, more easily stressed out and more run down. Self-care looks different for everyone, but for me it involves carving out time to do things that rejuvenate me like exercising, writing in coffee shops, baking and connecting with friends.
- Positive affirmations. This may sound silly, but the words we say to ourselves (our “self talk”) have so much power over us. Is the “voice in your head” kind or critical? Do you often say to yourself, “you’re such a bad mom” or “why can’t you ever get anything right?” I think we’ve all been there, at least at times. Pick some positive, affirming mantras and repeat them over and over–even when you don’t believe them. They truly will transform your outlook, over time. I like to tell myself, “you’re doing the best you can.”
- Ask for help. Asking for help is never any fun and it’s so hard to do, but force yourself to ask for help. Be the kind of friend that is there for others when they need it and know that those around you want to be there for you, too, when you are struggling. For instance, if your budget is tight, but you know you desperately need a regular date night, ask a friend to swap babysitting with you. The first friend you ask isn’t interested? Keep trying until you find someone that is.
- Spend time away from your kids. As a mom it’s so easy to wrap your entire identity up in caring for your children and it’s hard to count on others to take care of your kids. However, I’m a huge believer in spending time away from your kids because it is so refreshing! Also, if you’re married, time away from your family can allow your spouse to connect in new ways with your kids. I took a trip away with my college roommate last spring and my husband watched our little guys (with the help of their grandparents). When I came back, it was so sweet to see the ways they had bonded and my husband’s increased confidence as a father. Plus, I felt so fabulously recharged and excited to be back with them. I know this is a big task, but try to get away for an afternoon (at minimum), a night or even a weekend and see how this does wonders for your perspective as a mom.
If you are struggling with mom guilt try to give yourself A LOT of grace and see where you can implement self-care. Also, when your child says to you, “you’re the best mama in the whole world” or your spouse says, “you’re doing a really great job,” take their words to heart.
You are doing a great job. You are wonderfully imperfect…and the perfect mom for your family.