Summertime schedules can bring on extra episodes of “mom-guilt”.
That sinking feeling you get when you’re not being the mom you think you should be.
Professional Life Coach, Tiffany Peterson, shares strategies to help shake the guilt and make peace with
Do you ever feel guilty as a mom?
Do you ever think or feel that you should do more for your kids?
Do you ever struggle with knowing that you need to take better care of yourself yet find it hard to actually do so in the face of not spending that time or energy on your children?
You’re not alone!
Many mothers feel often feel that they are not living up to their own expectations of motherhood in one way or another. They feel guilty if they take time for themselves or if they have to juggle a career and children. They stew over and wonder, “Am I doing enough? Do I measure up?” Or perhaps deal with the battle of the “what if” disease. What if I had been more firm or less firm? What if I had been more of parent and less of a friend or vice versa?
If you want to make peace with yourself and shake the guilty feelings, let’s explore a few things:
1. Guilt stems from not living up to a belief or expectation of what you believe you “should” be doing in or with your life. You have a belief that you should be different than what you are doing and your behavior isn’t aligning with that belief system. For many people, they are operating on beliefs they are not even aware that they have. For example, “good moms do______.” You could be finishing that sentence with “good moms stay home with their kids” and you’re working in a career. “Good moms make dinner every night at the same hour” and you’re lucky with your hectic schedule to get a pizza picked up on the way home. Whatever the example is, the guilt is created by a belief system not matching your reality. It has also been stated that guilt is the way that we punish ourselves to feel better for not living up to what we proclaim or perceive as being a “good mom” or any other ideal we hold dear. Beliefs or belief systems can be chosen and reframed. Begin considering, are my beliefs or expectations about myself realistic? Are these my expectations of myself or the expectations of others or of society? Explore where your “shoulds” or “expectations” have come from and with this awareness, make conscious decisions about how you choose to feel about your expectations.
2. Release perfectionism. For many of you, the biggest issue at play is you have a perfectionist mindset about your mothering and role as a mom. You’re always focused on what you could do more of or better as a mom versus all that you are doing. You’re likely comparing yourself to other moms or your mom or even the ideal of the “perfect mom” in your head and in the comparison, not measuring up in your eyes. For instance, let’s say you’re there for your children, taking time to listen and connect, making dinner, and reading stories at bedtime; however, you’re still focused on the fact that you didn’t make fresh cookies today right after school got out or you missed your son’s baseball game to attend a different function. Perhaps you need to let go of seeking to be perfect or the comparison game and give yourself credit for the valuable parenting you are giving your children.
3. Be Present…in other words “be there while you’re there.” I know for most of us being present where we are while we are there is a great measuring stick. If you’re at work feeling guilty you’re not with your children and then when you’re home with your children and thinking about work, you’re not present living. Being present where you are, no matter the amount of time, will increase your level of connection with who you are with – your kids – and increase the quality of that relationship. Connection to our children and other relationships is really what we want to experience so focus on quality time, being present and true connection.
At the core of motherhood, we want to have great relationships with our children. We want to feel close and connected. Guilt creates the opposite experience of this connection with judgment, disconnect, or distraction. Focus on what you are doing great as a parent, releasing the perfectionism, and work on being more present with the ones you love. If you’re still feeling a lot of self judgment and guilt, take some self time to journal what you’re needing to experience to feel at peace in your role as a mom, listening to your intuition, and getting clear on what you do want to create versus simply staying stuck in focusing on what you’re not being or doing as a mom. Judgment rarely motivates – it keeps us stuck. Be gentle with yourself and the answers will become clear.
Tiffany Peterson is a speaker and coach, helping individuals and audiences to create their ideal life, business and results. For more information and free resources on creating your ideal life, visit www.TheLighthousePrinciples.com.