Hello!

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.

  • We just have to recognize we are doing the best we can.

    Reply

  • I don’t know if mother guilt ever goes. I just think time and experience helps us to learn to manage it better and to realise that’s it’s not all on us. It’s taken me 17 years to get to that point!!!

    Reply

  • Only had a mother’s guilt month’s after the fact – suddenly found dust where it shouldn’t have been, etc. Then I said to hell with it – I have better things to do than dust.

    Reply

  • Mother’s guilt is just par for the course. We all have it and need to control it.


    • Yes, it is very common. Controlling it or managing it is definitely the answer

    Reply

  • Absolutely true, but sometimes hard to put into practice.

    Reply

  • What a great read. I wished i had read before having my 2 little ones. A mum will always put the needs of her family/child in front of herselves. But woman do need to remember that at times they can put there own needs in front of others or her families.


    • Thank you :) Yes, its a natural instinct for women to put others needs first. However, we have to take care of our own. My husband helps to remind me when I forget sometimes.

    Reply

  • A good mum always puts her family first this is what we do but also we have to look after ourselves so we can look after our children and raise them in a healthy household


    • Exactly! Children learn by example and by having role models and a healthy and happy mum is a terrific role model.



      • Absolutely!! Our kids learn so much from us. The good, the bad, the ugly. So if it helps to tell yourself I’m helping them by looking after myself do it.

    Reply

  • Mummy guilt is just not productive and needs to be banished! Mums do need to put themselves first as a priority and take care of themselves and it flows onto family. Always live your own life on your own terms as you never know what is going on in others lives.

    Reply

  • Yes our needs become secondary to those of our children and that’s what mummies naturally do and most of the times feel happy to do.
    One thing in regards to setting ‘simple goals’ that our children are loved, healthy and happy. To be honest these are not simple goals: for some it isn’t easy to love, for some there is no health (but disease and disability), for some there isn’t happiness but disorders and mental illnesses. These are basic needs but can be very complex goals.


    • You’re totally right Ellen. I think sometimes the mothers guilt is feeling like we’re less of a Mum or that we’re not good enough rather than we are sacrificing our own needs. In terms of the simple goals, yes I agree. Life isn’t always so straight forward. There may be simplicity in the concept however not always in the application. The key is to identify what you are aiming for and find easy ways to feel like you’re achieving it more often.

    Reply

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