5 Mommy Guilt Trip Situations and How to Deal With Them
You had planned on buying a new pair of shoes on your next payday. You weren't thinking of anything fancy or expensive, just another pair of dark-colored flats which would serve as an alternate to your basic black. When you finally had the time to go to the shoe store, you found yourself thinking twice about getting a new pair. You ask yourself, “Do I really, really need a new pair shoes? Aren't my basic blacks still okay? Didn't my son say that he needed a new pair of pants?” You hew and you haw, and eventually, you go to the children's department to get your child some pants. The shoes would have to wait till next payday.
This scenario is all too familiar with moms. In fact, it's even got a name: mom guilt.
You feel guilty when you have to leave your baby to go back to work. You feel guilty when you go to your girlfriend's wedding. You even feel guilty when you find yourself nodding off in exhaustion because you've been taking care of your sick baby for the past three days.
A certain amount of guilt may actually be good for moms. It might be a signal that a change in your household system is in order or that a shift in familial relationships is necessary. But there are certain guilt trips which moms must definitely not take. Here's how to deal with them. Guilt trip #1: Taking care of yourself Why is it that a mom would think twice about buying herself a shiny, new bag, which she would undoubtedly use until it ain't so shiny no more, but think nothing about getting her daughter the toy-of-the-moment, which would most definitely be expensive? Moms are supposed to be giving, nurturing, and selfless—and a lot of moms feel that nothing less than everything would do when it comes to their children.
How to deal: You cannot give what you don't have. So if you are running on empty, neglecting yourself, not loving yourself, how do you expect to love and nurture your children? Take pause. Relax. Breathe. Taking care of yourself doesn't mean spending a whole day at the spa or blowing your household budget on a whirlwind shopping spree. Sometimes, all you need to recharge and re-energize is to take a few minutes to center yourself. Do some stretching exercises. Read pages from a favorite book. Take a long bath or write a couple of love letters. Give yourself time to breathe.
Guilt trip situation #2: Going back to work Most moms feel guilty going back to work once their maternity leave is up. They worry that them not being present at home 24 hours a day would have a catastrophic effect on the healthy development of their babies. Although there isn't much of a difference between children of working moms and children of stay-at-home moms, the guilt stays.
How to deal: Take heart, moms. Children are incredibly resilient. They can adapt to all sorts of family arrangements and grow up beautifully. What children need are security and stability. A conscientious and dependable caregiver along with a reliable support system are essential. Enforcing an organized system would also be of great help. For example, make an hour by hour schedule for your caregiver so that she knows exactly what to do at any given time. Make sure baby supplies are always on hand so that random runs to the grocery or drugstore for cotton buds or diapers are minimized.
Guilt trip #3: Judging yourself Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat—these are all great ways to communicate with friends and share good news with loved ones. Unfortunately, these are also avenues by which moms compare themselves with others, asking themselves why their kids aren't walking yet or why they can't keep their homes clean, or why they can't prepare awesome-looking dinners.
How to deal: Unplug. Get off Facebook. Stop scrolling down Instagram. Steer clear of folks who love playing the bragging game. Comparing yourself to other moms, and beating yourself up in the process, would do you no good. There is no such thing as a perfect mother. Instead of always looking at the things you cannot do, look at the stuff that you can do and that you are good at. And when you find yourself backsliding, judging yourself, ask whose standards you're comparing yourself to? You might be surprised at your answer!
Guilt trip #4: Asking for help When you become a mom, you are expected to know how to cook rice perfectly, change diapers exquisitely, breastfeed with ease, and earn a good living too all on your own. While everybody else is still sleeping, mom is already awake at five in the morning, preparing breakfast. While everybody else is lounging around after dinner, mom is washing the dishes and working at the menu for the next day. Nobody questions this setup but if you really think about it, it is awfully unfair. But mom doesn't realize it and even feels guilty when she asks other family members for help.
How to deal: Say this sentence out aloud: “I am not superwoman. I cannot do it alone, and it's perfectly okay.” There is no shame in asking for help. Ask your husband to pitch in with the household chores. He might actually have wanted to help out in the past, but you were just insistent in doing it alone. Assign chores to your children. This will help them become more independent and self-reliant. By freeing yourself from some of the household chores, you give yourself time to relax and recharge, making you an even better mom.
Guilt trip #5: Spending time with your partner and friends Once the babies come, a lot of moms focus their time and energy on taking care of the little ones. They beg off dates with their hubbies, and make themselves scarce with their friends. It's no wonder then that they find themselves worn out and burned out after a few months.
How to deal: Your kids can survive without you for a few hours, so go ahead and watch a movie with your husband. Go on a spa date with your friends. Have a laugh with your work colleagues. Get yourself some fun, meaningful adult conversation. It would certainly be a refreshing departure from the two-syllable words you use around your kids on most days. Never forget the woman you are before you became a mom. Nurture her. Take care of her. It would make you an even better mom and a more awesome human being!