Most...okay, ALL moms have felt this at some point or another.
I’m talking about mom guilt.
Let’s talk about this today and how you can let go of this mom guilt.
What is mom guilt?
Mom guilt is a feeling that you are not doing enough as a mother.
“I should have done this….”
“I could have done this….”
Sound familiar? This is part of “mom guilt”. Oftentimes guilt can lead to
feelings of shame.
The idea that guilt and shame are a part of mothering is way too
Have you had that internal dialogue with yourself?
What brings on mom guilt?
Seriously there are way too many expectations about what moms should or
should not be like and what they should or should not do.
These pressures come from society, family, friends and media. At times even
recommendations from healthcare providers or health organizations can
create feelings of inadequacy.
You take these external pressures and internalize them where personal
insecurities and perhaps childhood experiences take hold. Feelings of guilt
arise when we don’t measure up to some outside standard that doesn’t really
Everyone seems to have an opinion on what makes a good mother.
Remember, the only one that matters is yours!
Okay we’re not saying you can’t have some guilt. Sure, occasional guilt can
be felt and is normal. But pervasive guilt is not a good
If you spend too much time sweating the small stuff and lose the
Big picture (like getting the house cleared up but missing playing with
your baby) this can lead to unhealthy behavior patterns and even
postpartum depression or anxiety.
Remember 1 out 5 women experience postpartum depression or
anxiety. Feelings of guilt can be a symptom of
postpartum depression or anxiety.
If you are feeling guilt most of the time, talk to a mental health
counselor or your healthcare provider to screen for postpartum
depression or anxiety.
Mom guilt can appear at any time, but some common triggers may be
Sleep training choices
Going back to work
Spending time away from your kids
Taking time for yourself
Feelings of missing your old life
Don’t worry If you are unsure about the source of your mom guilt.
Try journaling or making a quick note when you feel mom guilt coming on.
Over time you will discover a cause and then it will be easier to be aware
of these triggers. This is an easy first step you can take toward living
your life with less guilt!
Why address this guilt?
Brene Brown, a researcher in the area of guilt and shame, describes guilt
as focused on behavior and shame as focused on self.
So for mothers guilt may sound like “ I did not breastfeed enough” and
shame sounds like “I am a bad mother”.
Mom guilt is a slippery slope which leads to shame which leads to deep
judgement and comparisons which can lead to persistent negative thoughts
which drives our behaviors.
Behaviors may include:
Spending too much time on social media which keeps feeding into
negative thought patterns.
Overdoing or over scheduling to avoid the feelings of guilt or
“counteract” the guilt which leads to burnout.
Develop addictive behaviors of drinking or overspending to feel
What can you do to get rid of mom
Well you already took the first step by acknowledging your
feelings. Remind yourself that your feelings are normal given the
stress of being a new mother but don’t allow yourself to be consumed by the
guilt. Then say to yourself “There is no such thing as a perfect mom”.
Let’s see what else can help.
Recognize irrational thoughts and change them. When
going back to work you may think “ I should stop working” because it is
harming my baby. Or “I am not a good mom” leaving my baby at daycare.
Instead focus your thoughts on something positive. “ I am a better mom
because I work” or “This is a good daycare, and my baby will have multiple
opportunities for developmental growth.” Use positive affirmations to
change your thoughts!
Build a tribe of like-minded, judgment-free, trusted
friends. Surround yourself with this group. If there are people
or relatives that make you feel guilty or judged, there is nothing wrong
with avoiding them.
Stay away from bragging. Yes, we have all been part of
that. Let’s stop mom guilt by not contributing to it. This goes for social
media posts as well. We can lessen mom guilt by not spreading it, and
instead encourage each other to follow our own intuition.
Treat yourself like a friend and make time for you! If
your friend was feeling mom guilt, how would you speak to them? Now say the
same to yourself! Remember, loving yourself is one of the best ways to love
Celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small! Taking
note of all the little things of motherhood like cuddling or laughing!
Remember its quality not quantity!
These are just a few things to implement on your path toward letting go of
your mom guilt.
Remember that if you need more support speak to a mental health counselor.
Don’t be a hostage to mom guilt! Becoming a mother is a profound life
transition so give yourself the time and space to adjust! You ARE a good
mother so let go of that mom guilt and enjoy this time with your little
Contact MaternalWell text support for any general questions or schedule a
personal virtual consultation with our mental health specialists.