Mom guilt is something that affects far more mothers across the world than we might initially think.
In fact, studies show that nearly 90% of mothers feel guilty at some point throughout motherhood, and 21% feel guilty nearly all or all of the time.
Does this surprise you?
If you aren’t a mom, it might. If you are a mom, it might not, because you feel or have felt the exact same way.
So, why does it happen? And how can we work to deal with it?
Let’s talk about that together.
Why Do Moms Feel So Guilty?
There are many reasons why moms might feel guilty and this guilt might be coming from multiple sources, however, it tends to stem from a central theme of not being a good enough mom and not doing enough for our children.
Despite the fact that this is very rarely true at all.
Mom guilt very often stems from comparison; comparing ourselves to other moms leaves us feeling that they are doing much more for their children and giving them much more than we are, which makes us feel guilty.
Things like social media, cultural expectations, and family traditions can all add to this comparison and level of pressure from others.
As society has changed in terms of gender roles and the family structure mom guilt seems to have increased too. The fact that so many more women are working moms seems to play into this and people are, simply, busier than they have ever been before.
Mom guilt seems to stem very often from women feeling that they are spread too thin and that they can’t give their children the time, attention, and even material things that they think they should have.
Mom guilt will look different for every mom and we can’t overgeneralise such a complex issue, but these are some of the main themes that we see consistently through those who self-report as feeling guilty.
How Can Moms Help Themselves With Mom Guilt?
The thing with mom guilt is that it eats us up and stops us from fully enjoying and appreciating the time we do have with our children. It can significantly impact our mood and stress levels and can hold us back from acting in the way we really want with our families.
Basically, mom guilt isn’t helpful and it doesn’t make us better moms at all.
So we need to leave it behind as much as we can.
We deserve to feel happy, grateful, and easy-flowing in the relationships we have with our children. We deserve to enjoy the time we have together without constantly berating ourselves and putting ourselves down.
We deserve to let this mom guilt go.
Here are just some of the ways that we can begin to do this for ourselves:
- Talk openly with other moms about this issue
- Join a group or forum for moms specifically to talk and gain support from others
- Take a break from social media and/or anything that might be actively adding to our mom guilt
- Read books, blogs, and articles on the subject to educate ourselves more on what we might be feeling and how others feel the same
- Write your own blog to talk about your own experience and feelings openly
- Keep a journal
- Work with gratitude and write gratitude statements each day
- Practice self-care
- See a counsellor
There are lots of ways that we can learn to be free of mom guilt. It might take a while, and the process might not look like a linear graph, which it never does with any kind of progress. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t ultimately get there in the end.
You deserve to feel better and so you deserve to take some of these measures to ensure that happens.
How Can Others Help Moms With Their Mom Guilt?
If you aren’t a mom but you are reading this blog in the hopes that you can learn something new to help a mom out with their mom guilt – what a great thing to do! And you are in luck too, because there are indeed lots of things that other people can do in order to support moms who are struggling with these feelings of guilt.
One of the main things that we can do is simply listen to them and give them the space to talk. They might feel a lot of confusing feelings at once about this issue and they might worry that other people will judge them or think less of them for feeling so guilty. Supporting someone can look like simply giving them an open, judgement-free space to talk freely about how they feel. This can do a lot more good than you would even think.
Secondly, we can help the moms in our lives out in practical ways. As we said, sometimes moms can feel guilty because they have so much on their plate and they are spread so thinly. To help them out, we can help take some of these tasks off their plate so that they may have some more free time to spend with their children. This could be things like doing shopping, helping with household chores, bringing home-cooked meals, helping entertain the children and taking them out for fun activities, and so on.
Helping can take many different forms and it will ultimately depend on the specific mom that you are helping, but as long as you are willing to make the effort, you will help them.
Moms are some of the very most important people in our community and we can all be a lot happier and healthier when we help each other out (and ourselves).
So, this year, let’s work together on helping ourselves and those around us not feel so guilty and worn down and work instead on being grateful, happy, and free to spend our time in a way that works for us.
We don’t need to feel so guilty and we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves.
Let’s choose a new direction instead.