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How to deal with mom guilt? (when you don’t feel your best)

Today was not my best 

Onto his third breakfast. Crying because he didn’t like the color cup he got. Goldfish all over the floor. Sitting on the bathroom floor instead of brushing his teeth. Stepped on legos. Fighting, hitting, pushing and the dog barking. All before 10 am. Yup, it’s going to be one of those days. Wondering if you will make it to bedtime. Filling up with mom guilt.

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We all have days that just break us down. We try and keep our heads up and move forward but sometimes you feel as though you’re being pushed down. Your best efforts are out in abundance but it doesn’t seem to change things.

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Working mom guilt, stay at home mom guilt, work part-time, work in house we all have struggles and hard days. I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. Not by a long shot. We are all trying to figure things out and what works the best. Some days just get the best of us.

The bad days aren’t the problem, but instead that immense feeling of mom guilt. We all struggle with this. If you feel that you work too much and miss important milestones, don’t like that your child is in daycare, upset that you need a break from your kids, home and lonely and always looking a mess, it’s all the same pain. That feeling in your gut that you are not doing something right, or missing something or that others do it better. We all struggle with some level of mom guilt. Working mom guilt, stay at home mom guilt, yelling mom guilt (I struggle with this), and all the other factors that contribute to that sinking feeling.

In a world where breastfeeding in public is not ok, formula they say isn’t best, don’t work too much, staying home is better, daycare, babysitter and all the things, all the time.

I’m writing this to try and share what we are all feeling even if the situation is different. We have to stop saying “should”. Give your little ones a hug, a snuggle, read a book and give a kiss. They are loved and you are doing all you can.

We have to accept that dishes may be in the sink, the clothes didn’t get washed today, he missed his bath, you forgot snack or the other hundred things that might happen tomorrow. This is hard for someone with a type-A personally (like me to say.) I have started to realize that everything can’t always get done in the time you wish. When your little one is having a tantrum every 20 min it’s nearly impossible to do anything else. You get off work and pick up your child to take a bath, dinner and already bedtime.

For the mom that never hears “you’re doing a great job” when you are trying your best and it still doesn’t feel like enough. Who’s up all night and exhausted, but still manages to push through. I’m here to tell you you are not alone. You may feel like the only one struggling and crying, but I promise I understand.

Parenting is hard. There is no one way to do everything. Mom guilt is real. Are you wondering how do you deal with mom guilt overload?

I have you covered.

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Tips for Dealing with Mom Guilt

1.Take care of yourself

Many moms struggle with self- care or doing things for themselves. Self- care is something our bodies need. Having some “me time” helps to improve relationships, be more present and leads to better health.

If you like to exercise, craft, listen to a podcast, read or just watch TV. Find something to just let your mind go. (This is something I’m currently working on. )

When you take care of yourself you are better able to take care of your family. It does not mean you are neglecting them, it’s just a way to refresh yourself and be a better you.

2. It’s ok if you work

Going back to work leaves many mothers feeling a huge sense of mom guilt. You are spinning your wheels trying to balance work and home life. You ache when you are not there for your little one. Sometimes you need to hear that it’s ok to go back to work, that you shouldn’t beat yourself up about that.

3. It’s ok if you stay home

You can’t afford daycare or babysitting or you choose to stay home. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Stay at home moms are happy being home with their little ones, but feel guilty about not helping with the finances. You feel guilty for wanting a break from your kids and a grown-up conversation. You are lonely but it’s a lot of work to leave the house.

It’s all ok to feel this way.

4. Ignore Social Media

Social media is so prevalent in everyone lives and so easy to access that more than ever people are comparing themselves to others. Looking at the perfect birthday party, the mom who lost all the baby weight, and the mother that always cooks and doesn’t order.

People post their best self on social media. They don’t post everything. I promise you that the picture of the kids sitting nicely on the couch was two minutes after a screaming fight. That the perfect picture of them playing a game was at the right angle to not get everything all over the floor in the shot. People are only showing you one angel, not the whole picture.

5. No one is perfect

TV and movies used to portray mothers only staying home, cause that was expected then. Now, they show women having it all. They show moms working, taking care of the family and everything is balanced and fine. We don’t live on TV and should have learned a long time ago that life is not a movie. We all have a messy room, toys on the floor, things are thrown into the closet. No one is perfect, it’s just what you are looking at.

Everyone is trying to find their balance and what works for their family.

6. Don’t over-schedule and write it all down

I don’t know where the idea came from that kids need to be entertained every minute. They don’t. Running around to every after school activity, appointments, lessons, shower, dinner, and bed. It’s actually better for kids to have downtime and figure out what to do themselves without every minute being figured out for them. U.S News discussed what real downtime means.

Try and leave some wiggle room. Leave a day with no afterschool activities. If possible. Write everything down. Have a calendar in your kitchen and on your phone. Write down events for school and after school. (Nothing like forgetting the school t-shirt on field trip day.) If I don’t have it written down, it’s doesn’t get done. I have lists for everything.

How to structure your toddlers day. A toddler daily home schedule included. Print your planner here.
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Sixteen ideas to help you de-stress (backed by Science)

When we are filled with mom guilt our stress levels increase. Now we can never truly avoid stress, but we can learn ways to manage and de-stress. These are some of the best ways to destress. These are scientifically proven ways to help de-stress and release anxiety.

  1. Put your phone in another room and don’t check it for a certain amount of time.
  2. Read a new book or a favorite book
  3. Sit outside and get some fresh air
  4. Exercise, meditate or do yoga
  5. Go to bed a little earlier
  6. Write in a journal
  7. Take a shower
  8. Spend time with your pets
  9. Squeeze a stress ball
  10. Take a long bath
  11. Engage in a creative activity
  12. Eat foods that reduce stress including avocado, lemon, and dark chocolate.
  13. Drink tea
  14. Play some music and dance.
  15. Read or watch something funny. Laughing releases hormones known to reduce stress and boost immunity.
  16. Celebrate small wins

Change the way you think about mom guilt

The amount of time isn’t as important as the quality of time spent together. This study from Today’s Parent addressed whether the amount of time a child spends with their mother affects their development.

When you are home with your kids, be present. Be with them. Listen, play, talk and cuddle. Show them what they mean to you.

You are awesome! You are doing your best! Say this out loud.

Mom guilt is bound to happen. It can strike at any time. The trick is to not let it get the best of you, to not let mom guilt wear you down.

Becoming a mother is one of (if not the biggest transition) of your life. Getting married, moving, getting a new job, and buying a house are all transitions you might experience but none compare to becoming a mother. Use these destress strategies to help you when you don’t feel your best.

Please comment below and share when you feel mom guilt. What do you do to de-stress?

Mom guilt is real. These ways will help you beat mom guilt.

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Mom guilt is real. Woman covering her face.

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