When did guilt become such a huge part of being a mom? We all want to be the best mom we can for our kids. But we also have to remember we are human beings. And as human beings, perfection is an impossible goal. Trying to do everything “right” as a mom at the expense of your own needs is a recipe for stress, exhaustion, and unhappiness.
The truth is your kids don’t need perfection. They just need you. The real you. And all the flaws that come with it. In the spirit of embracing flawed motherhood and raising kids in the real world, here are 23 things (among the hundreds out there) to stop feeling guilty about today. Let’s stop the mom guilt!
23 Things to Stop Feeling Mom Guilt About
1. Needing time alone
Human beings need time alone. If you are an introvert who needs time away from people to recharge this is even truer.
Parents need time away from their kids. This means time to do things just for you. This doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids enough. It simply means you are a person separate from them and you need time to remember that. Don’t let your mom guilt tell you any different.
2. Spending time with your spouse without the kids
One of the best gifts you can give your kids is keeping your marriage in a good place. You need time alone as a couple. To spend time together without background whining and interruptions to wipe a little one’s butt.
Time to talk, time to have fun, and time to be your adult selves that don’t go by “Mom” and “Dad”.
3. Letting your kids have screen time
We watched TV when I was a kid. I loved watching TV. I STILL love watching TV (alone and as a couple. See #1 & #2 above). I’m glad my kids enjoy TV.
Of course, there need to be limits on the amount of screen time your kids watch. You should definitely set some. But if your kids watch a show or two in the morning and the occasional movie on a rainy day instead of moping around the house telling you how bored they are there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Do your research, set some limits, and enjoy the breaks while you can when they are happily occupied by screen time.
4. Hiding treats to eat when your kids aren’t around
Do this! How many times have you saved a treat for yourself whether it’s a muffin or a candy bar only to have your kids come up asking for a bite and before you know it, it’s gone?
Or try and sneak a piece of candy and have your kids want some. Which you give them and then spend all night dealing with their sugar high.
Hide the treats! Their yours! You deserve them. Hide when you eat them and be careful not to let the crinkling wrapper give you away!
5. Being a working mom/stay at home mom/work at home mom
Whatever choices you’ve made or been forced into with regards to working, staying home, working at home, or some combination, feel secure knowing you’re doing the best you can for yourself and your family.
Don’t let mom guilt make you feel bad about your choices. You’re a superstar mom. I know it.
6. WANTING to work
You are a person outside of your role as mom. If you have a dream outside of that role for a career- pursue it! If you like earning your own income, that’s awesome!
If you can’t stand the idea of being home with your kids all day- no one blames you! Some of us are better moms for going to work and coming home to them. You do you, mama! Guilt-free.
7. Stealing from your kid’s Halloween candy (or Easter or Christmas)
Your kids don’t need that much effing candy! Nobody does! I still have Halloween candy in my cupboard from last year because I can’t stand the monsters kids turn into when they have too much candy. And I only allow one or two pieces a day.
I have to eat some so it doesn’t go to waste. It’s basically an obligation. Seriously, eat the treats, mom.
8. Not enjoying playing with your kids
I’m a good mom. I love my kids and I try to arrange our lives to give them everything they need to grow up healthy and happy. I am not a get down on the floor and play mom. I’m just not.
I hate playing with my kids sometimes. I like board games or tag in the yard. But sitting on the floor moving little plastic toys around while my kids give orders and tell me I’m not doing it right- no thank you. And I don’t feel bad about it.
Learning to entertain yourself is a valuable life skill. Kids can learn it.
My kids have a craft box the size of magician’s trunk. I dread when they ask me to get it out. I don’t like paint, glue, or glitter in the hands of my children. It has never resulted in anything for me but I mess I had to clean up.
It doesn’t mean I never allow it. But sometimes I think, that’s what school is for. Let them clean glitter off the floor. We don’t need that crap in my house.
10. Serving fast food/take out/frozen dinners to your kids
I don’t like to cook. Anyone observing my life would think it was my favorite hobby based on how much time I spend doing it. Sometimes I need a night off from my role as family chef.
It’s ok to need a break, a shortcut, or a night without someone telling you how yucky the meal you prepared is. Serve the takeout, the frozen corn dogs, the whatever and enjoy a meal you didn’t make yourself.
Seriously, make time for exercise. It will do you good! You’ll be healthier, happier, and better able to cope. Never feel guilty for taking care of yourself.
Whether this means taking the kids for a walk with you or leaving them in the daycare at your gym, do it! Show your kids that a healthy lifestyle includes exercise and self-care. It’s a lesson worth teaching.
12. Taking a nap!
Moms always talk about how tired they are because well, momming is exhausting. It is not your imagination. Stop laughing at those moms who say sleep when the baby sleeps. Do it! They’re not wrong.
Even if your baby is a toddler. If they nap and you need to lay down for a few minutes, take advantage of the time!
If you need your partner to take over with the kids so you can nap on a weekend. Let them know. It’s back to that self-care, time for yourself stuff. It’s good for you.
13. Looking at your phone when you’re with your kids
Obviously, if your kids are unsafe and unsupervised because you can’t stop scrolling through your Facebook feed at the park, you need to check yourself and your phone addiction.
But if your kids are playing happily while you supervise nearby and you want to check a text or watch a video, go ahead. Take the mental break for a minute. Then you know, check on the kids. Because they are probably up to something.
14. Pursuing YOUR interests and passions outside of your kids and family
You’re still YOU. With dreams and goals of your own. You only have one life. You better pursue them when you have the chance.
We all want our kids to try and achieve their dreams. Show them how it’s done, mama. Go after your dreams. Pursue your passions.
15. Asking for help with your kids
Whether you’re asking for help with a specific struggle you’re having with your child or asking for child care because you need a break, let go of the mom guilt.
You are not a perfect all-knowing parent, no one is. And you can’t possibly be and do everything your kids need every minute. Especially if you’re not taking care of yourself.
When you need help from friends or family, feel no shame in asking. Whether it’s advice, a babysitter, or a place to vent. It’s all ok. It’s ok to need it. It’s ok to ask. It’s ALL OK.
16. Venting about parenting and your kids to a friend
You may have seen the Facebook meme where a mom says “I said I’m tired, Alice. Not that I hate my children. I’m allowed to feel things.” Can you relate? If so, your friend is too judgy and you need to talk to someone else.
But it’s true, you’re allowed to feel things. Even negative things about your kids, your life as a mom, and everything that comes with it. Kids are hard. They will find and push every button. And if you need to talk to another mom about your struggles, do it.
Most of the time, it helps! Unless your friend is a judgy stinker. Then, find a mom who gets it. They’re out there. And ready to hear you out and lift you up.
17. Hiring a daycare/babysitter/nanny
Whether you’re choosing a daycare provider so you can go back to work or a babysitter for date night, there is nothing to feel guilty about. Lots of moms struggle with this one. But it shouldn’t be a source of guilt.
Find someone you trust of course. Make sure your kids are safe. Then give them a kiss, say goodbye and walk out the door. You are doing what you need to do. The best you can. And you’re a great mom. Even when you’re away from your kids.
18. Having a messy house
Is your house a mess? It’s ok to admit it! It’s ok that your house is a mess! All of our houses are a mess. Family life is messy. Kids are messy. Cooking, living, playing, all of it is messy and it’s happening inside your house.
There is nothing you can do about it most of the time. Try to keep up and clean up when you can. But the rest of the time, throw your hands up, sit down on the couch and take some deep breaths.
And then when you get up, make the kids help you clean!
19. Wearing yoga pants and no makeup
Ten years ago if you had told me I would regularly leave the house in yoga pants and no makeup, I’m not sure I would have believed you. Skipped showers? No way! Not me. Until it happened. Motherhood.
Nowadays, it’s like, can I get away with no shower again today? Are these yoga pants clean enough to wear one more day? Does the headband I put in to wash my face count as a hairstyle?
I pretty much think, unless I am on my way to a wedding or a funeral, decently covered is all that really matters. And my kids look adorable! So, if I ran out of time to fix myself up? It was worth the extra 15 minutes of sleep.
20. Wearing a hot dress and all the makeup
On the flip side, when and if you take the time to get all dolled up, rock it, mama! I look like a slob often, but when I dress up, I do it up right. And if it means your partner is the one who gets the kids dressed, or you end up having to rush around a little helping your kids. Then that’s what it takes.
You deserve to look good when you want to.
21. Blowing up at your kids
This is like, ok, you shouldn’t blow up at your kids. And if you do, you should apologize. Talk to them about the situation. Give hugs. But then, let it go. No mom guilt because you are human.
Humans get frustrated. They get mad. They yell (I yell). I’m trying to do better. It sucks that I am not the ultimate master of self-control I want to be. But there it is.
If you blow up at your kids. Let them know, YOU know it’s not cool. Talk about it. Hug it out. Then let it go.
And hey, give your kids the same courtesy. When they throw a fit. Wait for the storm to calm. Then talk to them about it. Hug them. Get things right between you. And let it go.
It’s what love looks like.
22. Having a meltdown in front of your kids
Life is frustrating outside of parenting too. When my computer doesn’t work or I get stuck on hold with some endless customer service call or the car breaks down, I have been known to lose my shit!
And my kids have seen it happen. Damn.
When they witness a mommy flip out, I’m embarrassed by it. And that’s what I tell them. Again with apologizing. Letting them know, it wasn’t about them. And it wasn’t the best way to handle it. Those are all important things.
As long as you’re not being unsafe, throwing things, taking it out on your kids or your spouse, you’re within the realm of what’s covered by “I’m sorry.” So, say it. And then let it go.
(If you’re not being safe and you’re crossing lines into scaring your kids or creating an unsafe home, get some help, mama. Do it for your kids and yourself.)
If your meltdown is more along the line of an emotional crying jag, well no guilt there either. It’s good for kids to see people express emotions. And to know that moms feel things. If they’re upset that you’re upset, tell them why. Tell them what’s going on with you, as long as it’s age appropriate.
Sure, we all want our kids to see us as strong, but they also need to know we’re human.
23. Making mistakes
You’re going to make mistakes. It’s ok to make them. We’re all pretty much winging it at this parenting thing. There is no instruction manual.
When you screw up, own it. And fix it. But don’t beat yourself up. Or wallow in mom guilt because you’re not perfect. No one is.
The fact that you care so much shows you’re doing good, mama.
You ARE a WONDERFUL MOM!
The reason mom guilt messes with our heads is because of how much we love our kids. We want to do and be and give everything our kids need. But what they really need is you, their mom, healthy and happy. The best way to give them that is to let go of the mom guilt. You’re doing an amazing job, mama!
What are some things that bring on the mom guilt that YOU want to let go of? Share in the comments!
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