Every mom I know is racked with guilt. Whether it’s feeling bad because you work full-time or wondering whether you’ve done enough to boost your child’s academic success, if you’re a mom and you feel guilty, you’re not alone. The problem is so serious that, if I listened to what the moms I know tell me rather than watching what they do, I’d be convinced that the world is filled with terrible mothers. When I look around me, though, I see women who love their children but who are so overwhelmed with guilt that they can’t enjoy life. Often this guilt gives rise to unhealthy habits, such as overeating to cope with your feelings.
It’s time to end the mom guilt. You deserve a life of happiness, and your kids deserve a mom who knows her own value. If you’re ready to dispense with the mom guilt and get to the business of living, check out these five ways to feel better about yourself as a parent.
1. Stop the Comparison Game
Someone is always going to do something better or have something more than you. But often, those same people also suffer in ways you don’t see. That mom with the gorgeous, Pinterest-worthy home? She may be struggling with a failing marriage or a disabled child. The friend constantly posting the gorgeous vacay photos? Maybe infertility is lurking in the back of her mind. When you compare yourself to others, you always come out the loser. Don’t do it. And if you can’t resist, stop looking at Facebook and social media.
2. Talk it Out
Women are often ravaged by shame, convinced they’re the only ones who feel the way they do. Rest assured: I’ve felt it all, and so too has every other woman. Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings with your friends. Just make sure you’ve got the right group. Mean-girl mommies will only make you feel guilty about your choices, so take some time to invest in a friendship group that really cares about you.
3. Ask Your Kids
Asking your kids about your parenting may very well be one of the best decisions you ever make. Of course, no mom should rely on her kids for self-esteem, so don’t count on reassurance. But by asking your child what he liked best about the day, you may be surprised to learn just how well you’re doing. Don’t believe me? Check out what happened to these moms when their kids were asked to provide honest feedback.
4. Pay Attention
Don’t view time with your kids as an obligation. Instead, sit back and enjoy it. Really pay attention to what your kids like, do, and say. There’s no greater fun than getting down n a child’s level and seeing things through his eyes. And when you do, you’ll learn things about yourself and your child.
5. Get Some Help
Remember that guy you occasionally see in your kitchen or sharing your bed? If you’re married, parenting is a joint duty, not something you have to do all alone! Don’t be afraid to ask your husband to pick up some slack. Single or struggling with an uncooperative husband? Call mom or a friend, or invest in an excellent baby-sitter or nanny. The best moms are the ones who take time for themselves. No one can do it all on her own, and getting some help to take a break can be one of the best parenting decisions a mom makes.
How do you work through mom guilt? Add your tips in the comments.