10 Ways to Deal with Mom Guilt

Have you ever felt like you aren’t doing a good enough job as a mom?

You feel you should be doing more with or for your kids, you worry you’re damaging them in some way, or you long for a break from them – but think you shouldn’t feel that way!

Mom guilt can make you miserable!

How can you stop feeling this way?

What is mom guilt?

Mom guilt is the feeling that you have done something wrong that will cause harm to your child. It usually arises from the feelings of not being able to meet the expectations of being a perfect mother.

What causes mom guilt?

Mom guilt is built on the idea of who we think we should be, not who we are.

Here are some common causes of mom-guilt:

  • You feel you should be taking better care of other people’s needs (namely, your kids)
  • Yelling at your kids or losing your temper
  • Going back to work
  • Believing you’re not doing enough for your kids
  • Feeling overwhelmed and thinking you shouldn’t be
  • Not breast feeding
  • Leaving your child with other people
  • Taking time for yourself
  • Wanting a break
  • Not meeting expectations – of yourself – or the perceived expectations of others
  • Comparing your kids or feeling like you prefer one over the other (tip: spend special time with each of them.)
  • Feeling bored or unstimulated
  • Asking for help
  • Not spending enough time with your kids
  • Opinionated/judgmental family members

All of these things can make you feel so guilty, but it’s important to analyse your feelings and determine whether the guilt is legitimate, because you’re losing precious happy-time with your family.

How to deal with mom guilt

So, how can you deal with mom guilt so that it doesn’t steal the joy of motherhood from you? 

#1 Live to please God

Galatians 1:10 tells us that if we seek to please men, we will not please God. Ultimately we want to make sure that we are pleasing God and doing His will for us.

If you do this, you don’t need to worry about what others are doing. God has a plan for your family that suits you, your limitations, and what you are capable of.

Rest in that.

#2 Stop comparing yourself

2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us that when we compare ourselves among ourselves we are not wise.

Comparison is one of the biggest causes of mom-guilt – and does not make you a better mom. It only makes you miserable.

Stop doing it!

#3 Stop focusing on yourself

Ouch. Sorry, I don’t mean to step on your toes, but we often experience mom-guilt because we are focused on ourselves and our perceived failures.

We turn inward, we self-flagellate, self-obsess, and get stuck on focusing on ourselves instead of going out there and being present with our kids.

Take your eyes of yourself and focus on how you can be more present with your family.

#4 Accept yourself and your limitations

You are you and not the next mom. You should not be trying to meet the “standard” others are setting.

You may not be able to do as much as the next person, and that’s ok. Learn to be at peace with yourself, who you are, and what you can do.

Like I said before, the bottom line is to seek to please God.

Related: How to accept yourself

#5 Learn to recognise the guilt and deal with it in a healthy way

Where is this guilt coming from? Is it really true? Is it from comparison with other moms? Is it coming from what your parents or other relatives are expecting? From social media?

Deal with the guilt cognitively instead of allowing the feeling to rule you. Challenge irrational thoughts and work through them with prayerful reason and logic.

#6 Let go of expectations

Dump all the expectations you have of yourself, what others are pushing on you through their opinions, or what you see on social media.

Unfollow some people if you need to. (And don’t feel guilty about doing that!)

Again, consult God and His expectations of you.

#7 Get help

It’s perfectly ok to talk to someone who will help you work through your guilt feelings without pampering you.

Having someone who is a safe sounding board will help you process your guilt without indulging you if you truly are being a neglectful parent.

#8 Remember who you are beyond motherhood

It’s easy to lose yourself when you become a mother. Try and take time for yourself and do something you really enjoy that is not kid-related.

I realise that this could trigger mom-guilt because you feel bad taking time for yourself.

But investing in a little self-care will make you a better mom. Don’t allow that guilt to keep you stuck in not caring for yourself.

#9 Look at the big picture

Take a step back and think about what’s really going to matter in 10 or 20 years’ time.

Will your kids care that you did amazing crafts with them and went on outings every week, or will they remember that you always had time to listen to their stories, soothe their worries, and laugh at their jokes?

Yes. We both know what the answer is to that one.

#10 Focus on the things you are doing right

Again, don’t compare what you are doing to the supermoms out there. You have no idea what goes on inside their heads or their homes.

Ask God to show you the things you are doing well, then write them down to remind yourself when you feel that nasty comparison bug creeping up on you.

And a last, bonus tip:

#11 Choose to be present

“When you’re lost in mom guilt, you’re distracted from the present moment. You’re not with your children, which is ultimately what good mothering is about.”

Final word on mom-guilt:

One of the names for God is El Roi, which means You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees.

God sees you – the mom who’s struggling with depression and barely keeping up with the dishes.

He sees the struggles you have with self-worth.

He sees you battling to learn the housekeeping skills you never learned as a kid.

He sees you trying balance a home, garden, and perhaps even homeschooling.

He sees and He understands the guilty feelings you experience because you feel you’re not measuring up.

Stop worrying about what other moms are doing. Stop comparing yourself. Your job is to follow Jesus and His plan for you.

As Jesus said to Peter when he asked Jesus what John would do, “…If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.”

Walk closely with Him. Seek His will every day.

Live up to His expectations and not the expectations of others, and you will be a good mom.

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has three grown kids and is married to her best friend, Richard. She started this website as a platform to help families, and specifically women, to take control of their lives and grow themselves spiritually, mentally & emotionally, and to discover their God-given purpose and live it out with confidence. She is a trained Life Coach and has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). She is a certified SYMBIS (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) facilitator. She lives in sunny South Africa.

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