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Mum-guilt; that overwhelming feeling in the pit of your stomach that hits you like a ball thrown by a frustrated toddler (ouch!).

No matter how hard I work at overcoming and bypassing Mum-guilt, I still feel it. And having recently become a Mum of two, I feel it more than ever when I have to choose between whose tears, bums or mouths need wiping first.

I feel it when I am driving in the car with my newborn wailing, willing to get home in time for my toddler’s nap.

I feel it when I am feeding my newborn and my toddler needs help getting her toys out of her toy basket.

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I feel it when I give my toddler a packet of biscuits, so she doesn’t go bananas while we do the groceries.

I feel it when I am having a long-overdue wine with a friend. Hell, I feel it the minute the catch up is planned and I think about not being there even though I know I will have prepared dinner and put them to bed.

Plus, the million other things that trigger it.

It’s the feeling that no one tells you about before you have kids and it’s a feeling that only a Mum can really understand. What I know now is that the feeling can either be fleeting, or it can stick with you, just like every feeling we have. You can CHOOSE to let it consume you so that you end up a self-hating mess or you can CHOOSE a different response.

Here are my top tips for overcoming Mum-guilt so that the feeling is fleeting and you can continue on being the awesome Mum that we know you are!

In any moment where that feeling hits you, choose one (or all) of the following responses: (Note: It is okay to feel however you feel. The aim is to move through the negative feelings quickly and not let them stick with you – or worse, eat away at you. We must feel it, identify it and shift the focus by taking action as per the suggestions below!)

- You are doing the best you can

We put so much pressure on ourselves as Mums, remind yourself that you really are doing the best you can and that really is enough!

- It will be so worth it

Eyes on the prize. Most of the time the reason that we are or aren’t doing whatever is stirring up the Mum-guilt is for long-term gain. Remind yourself of this in the moments you are triggered.

- Take a long, deep breath

It’s easy to rush and to focus on what’s going on in the moment (the tears, the fact you’re running late, the washing, the dishes etc.) but when we take a breath it brings us back to the present moment and allows us to really BE there.

- It’s not life or death

Put what’s going on in perspective, is it really worth mulling over and potentially ruining a fun experience?

- Think about what you’re grateful for in this situation

This will help you shift your perspective and literally change the way your body feels so that the Mum-guilt is no longer!

You’ve got this, Mummy!

How do you keep calm and carry on when you feel guilty? Share with us in the comments.

  • As long as all of you are fed, had a bath or shower (you may not manage that every day), have enough food in the house, enough clean clothes to wear and your food preparation areas clean, enough clean cooking and eating gear, the rest can wait. Once baby starts moving around the floor you may need to give it a quick sweep or vacuum in those areas., especially if you have one that puts everything in his/her mouth.

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  • Guilt is so unhelpful and negative.

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  • I’m over feeling guilt. Age and time has given me that – I’m 48 with a 16 year old son. I can’t be everything to everyone and nor should I be. I’m doing the best I can and I deserve time and effort for me too. I have trained my immediate family to understand that. We’re in this family/life together and I refuse to feel guilty for anything.

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  • Great points raised here and so important to remember our best is enough.

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  • Think those feelings can be a bit stronger when the kids are very young and you try everything to keep or make them happy. I have found indeed that there’s so much you can do, you do your best and that is enough. The more calm and happy you are, the more your kids will pick that up.

    Reply

  • Had never really thought about this. I guess I just got on with the job at hand and didn’t give myself time to think with 4 kids under 7.

    Reply

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