Full time entrepreneur. Full time corporate job. Full time wife. Full time mom. Full time friend. Full time sister. Part time ministry. Part time "take care of you." No wonder it's so easy to live in FULL TIME GUILT! However, we know as Moms "living in guilt" would be unhealthy for so many obvious reasons.
Whether you're a single mom, a first time mom (like me:), a second or third time mom, the truth is we wear A LOT of hats. We are innate caretakers and nurturers many times neglecting to take care of ourselves, especially emotionally. One particular emotion we must manage as mothers is our elevated feelings of guilt. Therefore, I wanted to provide you with 5 Ways to Combat this ugly, (yet can be beautiful:) feelings of "Mommy Guilt!" Here are 5 ways to help you combat this feeling:
1. CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF BALANCE.
Before remarrying and having a child I used to hear often the importance of balance when you have a family. You just don’t quite understand the importance of family and balance until you live it! Oh how I can teach a class on this! Balance is EVERYTHING but here's what I've learned. Balance is not defined the same for everybody. I used to try to find this "balance" with all of the hats I wear only to find myself experiencing MORE guilt. Why? It was because of my personal perception of balance. When I would hear the word "balance," I would visualize this perfect scale (pictured below).
However, my reality of balance looked like THIS (pictured below)! For example, everyday I cook for my husband and daughter, but at the same time, I would have to prepare for upcoming back to back speaking engagements. Although I had more temporary weight in one area of my life, I still had to maintain my other responsibilities as well.
To some, this scale may appear chaotic, but that's okay. I had to find out what would work best for me and my family. By embracing the perception of the "not so perfect" scale of balance I was able to do more, achieve more, and eliminate feelings of guilt. By defining my own perception of balance, it certainly helps me combat "Mommy," and might I add "Wifey" guilt. What does balance look like for you? Only you can make that determination.
2. YOU NEED A BREAK!
Lets face it...my sisters, YOU NEED A BREAK! Allow Dad (yes he is indeed the other capable parent too) and others to give you a break. This may sound so easy to do, but as a Mother you're just built with this maternal instinct that your spouse or significant other does not have. Maybe you feel that YOUR way is the best way (which usually is:), your child's Father would forget a step (which they usually do :), or no one can take care of your child they way you can (including Dad...somewhat TRUE -ha!).
When Kori was born, my husband would TRY to give me a break by changing diapers, giving her bath, and so forth. I said TRY because I would always be RIGHT there in his ear telling him what to do. He finally got fed up and said, "LOOK WOMAN, Let me do this MY WAY! She's MY CHILD TOO!" ha! Whew! Talk about a reality check!
I realized if I did not allow him to be a parent too it would not only rob me of much needed breaks, but most importantly it would rob my husband from the bond of caring for OUR child as well. Let me be transparent here, of course it took some time for me to be "hands off" and to this day he'll say, "Babe, I peep you coming into the media room ‘checking on us’ from time to time." My response, "Nooo Babe, I just want to have "family time." Then of course we would both BUST OUT LAUGHING! Who am I fooling??!
With that said, allow Dad and others their time with your precious babies, because YOU NEED A BREAK!
3. BE IN THE MOMENT WITH YOUR CHILD.
Put that phone and computer down! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard my phone go off and reach for it only to find myself getting lost in checking emails or responding to social media posts when my daughter is asking me to play with her. I had to stop that because it only created feelings of guilt when I’ve spent 30 minutes on that phone while it’s getting closer to her bedtime. Then I realize I’ve just wasted 30 minutes of my quality playtime with her because of that stupid phone! This created major guilt but responding to emails, etc can wait. However, time will not wait on me. I cannot gain those minutes back. My solution has been to leave the phone in another room and focus on our playtime.
Also, ever had a rough day? It’s like being completely focused on the problem during their playtime too right? I’ve learned to place how I feel or those thoughts on my temporary back burner (meaning I will revisit them not leave them there) to be in the moment with my child. By doing this what I have discovered is God’s precious ways of restoring my joy through those moments as I witness my daughter play on her piano and sing, listen to her make funny noises with her voice, or doing the Yo-Kai Watch Dance! (Just YOUTUBE it, it’s the cutest thing ever!:)
Eliminate feelings of guilt by being in the moment with your child.
4. CHECK YOUR GUILT!
Aviva Pflock, coauthor of Mommy Guilt: Learn to Worry Less, Focus on What Matters Most, and Raise Happier Kids states, “Guilt can actually serve as a helpful tool — as long as you don't take it too far. It can provide a check and balance, [but] the trick is that you want to be in control of the guilt, rather than letting the guilt control you." Guilt can be both good and bad. If you're feeling guilty about not spending enough time with your child then check to see if that feeling is true (check and balance). Emotions help us indicate if something is going on internally, just like a car’s dashboard lets us know something is happening within the car (pictured below). If we “feel” that guilt check light come on within then maybe it's time to do an internal diagnostic and make the necessary correction.
On the other hand, if you feel you’re not spending enough time with your child but realizing you really are then dismiss those feelings of guilt with what is TRUE. I love what Paul says in Philippians 4:8 which reads, “ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
We must focus on what is TRUE because it dispels confusion and erroneous thoughts. By accepting what is TRUE in the heart of feeling guilty this will help you check that guilt and combat Mommy Guilt.
5. CELEBRATE YOU!
It's only proper to give yourself some "props" by acknowledging how great you truly are! Like seriously, you had a child for goodness sake! You deserve an accolade for that alone, but think about the additional roles you serve, the way you were created to nurture your child, your husband, mom, sisters, friends, brothers, family members, and co-workers.
You GOT this! Don't beat yourself up for falling short as a new Mom or a Mom 2 or 3 times over. Remember you're very HUMAN. Instead, CELEBRATE YOU to dismiss the guilt that you're not doing ENOUGH, not giving ENOUGH or just NOT ENOUGH period! I say this to my daughter at her tender age now, "Pumpkin, you are sooo beautiful and YOU ARE ENOUGH for me and your Daddy just because simply exist!" She gives me this bewildered look like, "Oh okay Mommy..." Yet, I tear up every time I think about affirming that in her spirit because it's a reflection of my own needs and acknowledgments that I too am GOOD ENOUGH. Therefore, let me remind you...You are ENOUGH and very WORTHY...Super MOM!
Lets combat Mommy Guilt by implementing these 5 ways to be good to ourselves and to live life abundantly while expressing our challenges transparently. You'll be so glad you did!
Do you have some additional ways to combat Mommy Guilt? Please share below. I would love to learn from you as well. :)
Get ready to embrace “A NEW ME: Transparently, Abundantly.”
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