If you are one of the many American women who feels mom guilt, it may help to know you’re not alone.
What Is Mom Guilt?
Mom guilt refers to the feelings of guilt that may come with not being the perfect parent. This can stem from a variety of different situations, such as leaving your child with a babysitter while you go out, going back to work or giving your child too much screen time.
Oftentimes, mom guilt, or mommy guilt, comes from feeling bad because you think you could do better or do more for your child. For example, working moms can feel guilt for spending time on their career rather than their child.
How Mom Guilt Can Affect You
Some amount of mom guilt can help you be a better parent if it provides you a healthy conscience that your behavior matters with your child, but too much guilt is a bad thing.
When guilty feelings compete for your attention, they usually win. As a result, unresolved guilt could potentially lead to lack of concentration and productivity. It can also make you reluctant to enjoy your time away from your child or possibly lead to feelings of depression or stress.
How to Deal With Mom Guilt
Try these strategies to get rid yourself of problematic mom guilt:
- Identify your sources of guilt. Is your mom guilt coming from something valid? Or is your mom guilt the result of unobtainable standards for yourself, family or culture? Once you identify why you’re feeling guilty, you can choose how best to move forward.
- Ignore social media. There are an increasing number of studies that suggest social media usage can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety or feelings of inadequacy, envy or resentment in the general population. This could be because many people typically only post what is flattering to them. If your online mom friends are only posting moments of parenting perfection, you might feel a major dose of mom guilt for not being as good as they are, even though that doesn’t really line up with reality.
- Let go of perfectionism. Probably the biggest thing you can try to do to get rid of mom guilt is to let go of the idea of being a perfect parent. Of course, you are allowed to want the best for your child but expecting perfection from yourself or from your child can only lead to disappointment. You and your child are humans, and humans will never be perfect. To better set yourself up for success, aim high but be okay if you fall short sometimes.
Many women set their personal standards so high that to be a good mom, they feel they must sacrifice their entire physical and emotional health all day, every day. Remember, you are a mother, not a martyr.
Talk to a Professional
If you are having difficulty managing mom guilt, talking with a St. Elizabeth Physicians primary care provider in Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana can help.