Ask any mother, they’ve all experienced it. The dreaded “mothers guilt”. A supposed affliction that turns up the minute you’ve given birth to your beautiful bundle of joy.
When your needs are now no longer a priority, they become secondary to those of your children’s. When despite putting your child’s needs first, you still doubt whether you are being the Mum you need and MUST be to your child.
Are they growing alright? Are you spending enough time with them? Are they getting enough nutrients? And so, the endless questioning, doubting whether we are good enough begins.
There are so many differing opinions out there on how to be a good parent. Yet, how do we know if we are getting it right?! Are we making the right choices? We have full responsibility for this tiny, little human that is entirely dependent on us. What if we muck it up?! Something goes wrong and we automatically assume it’s because we should have made a different choice. Or we’re a working Mum and we feel guilty that we’re not around enough.
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The opportunities to beat ourselves up are endless.
Here are some ways to silence the mother’s guilt:
1) STOP COMPARING
In today’s world, we have so much information at our fingertips. However, there is no filtering on what is the one best way to parent. In addition, there are so many posts of supposedly fabulous Mums nailing it in the parenting world. What you don’t see is completely into their lives. Every child is different. Every Mums situation is different. Stop comparing yourself with other Mums and stop comparing your child to other children. Be the Mama Bear that tunes into her child and reacts based on what she sees, senses, needs to happen. Trust your instincts. They are there if you create the space to hear them.
2) LOSE THE NEED FOR PERFECTION AND CONTROL
Perfectionists never achieve their goals because they never know what success looks like. It’s a consistently moving target. You cannot control anyone but yourself. Accept that and allow life to flow as it needs to. Be more accepting of the need to flow and adapt.
3) SET SIMPLE GOALS
Keep your goals simple. E.g. “My goal is that little Johnny is loved, healthy and happy”. Knowing he’s loved, well that’s as simple as a hug, a kiss, telling him. Healthy should mean, no serious illness. Happy means he smiles and laughs. Tick, tick, tick you got this.
4) STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP/FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE ACHIEVING
For some of us its natural to focus on the negatives. Even easier to focus on what’s going wrong when you are sleep deprived. Let go of the blame game. “he’s got a cold because I did x, y, z” Instead, keep it to the facts, “he’s got a cold” End of story. Take a moment each day to focus on this amazing human being in front of you that is growing before your very eyes. Notice all the little ways in which they are changing, growing, evolving. Know that you have contributed to that and let that be enough.
5) BE FULLY PRESENT WHEN YOU ARE THERE
The time juggle is real. Many of us are working Mums balancing that the best we can. Keep the lines between work and play definitive. When you are working, separate completely. When you are with your kids, be fully present to that, disconnect from your phone, give them your full attention. If you need to, share with them “mummy needs to work right now, however when I’m finished, you and I will play together ok?” Honour this commitment and they will respect your time and the time you give them.
6) EMBRACE THE CHAOS
Just when you think you’ve got them sorted, something else comes along, teething, potty training, you name it. It’s always evolving. The only thing that is constant is change. The minute you accept that raising a child doesn’t follow a standard roadmap, the more relaxed you’ll be. Accept that with the new challenges, comes a new version of your child’s development and that is beautiful to watch.