How to Overcome Mom Guilt

Overcoming mom guilt is something that all moms want. Because if you are a mom – I can guarantee you that you have experienced mom guilt at some point in your life.

What is mom guilt all about?

Step 1: WHY Do you Feel Mom Guilt?

The first step to overcome mom guilt is to figure out why you feel it in the first place. Because I think there are two main root causes of mom guilt. One is based on how you feel about a situation and the other one is based on how society feels about the situation.

In other words, do you feel guilty because they way your life is currently structured is not aligned with your beliefs and desires? Or does your family, friends, or society in general make you feel guilty about the way you live your life when it comes to parenting.

Think about the times when you feel the most mom guilt. What has caused you to feel it? Was it when you missed your kid’s sporting event because you were working an evening shift at work? Or maybe it was when you were enjoying a massage instead of spending that time with your kids?

Because we as moms can feel guilty about everything! Including feeling guilty about not feeling guilty!!! Yes, it’s a thing! I have experienced that myself a lot of times.

So figure out what is the root cause of your mom guilt. Because you don’t want to treat the symptoms – you want to treat the disease. And mom guilt is definitely a disease that needs to be treated for good.

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Step 2: Address Your Life Balance

Let’s start by addressing the mom guilt caused by some internal imbalance. In other words, it’s the mom guilt that you feel because you are unhappy about the situation you are in. Maybe you work long hours but desire to be a stay at home mom. Or maybe you want to be a calmer parent but find yourself getting easily irritated and yelling at your kids. Or maybe you just simply don’t feel present when you are with your kids because you are constantly multitasking and rarely have time to give them your full attention.

This is when you have to start evaluating your life balance in general. I’m a huge believer that unless you are addressing all areas of your life, you will not feel happy and fulfilled. And mom guilt can be best addressed when you find out what are your overall shortcomings when it comes to living a life that you want.

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For example, if you are not taking care of your health and constantly making unhealthy food choices, it will affect your energy levels. And that will translate into being sluggish and preferring to watch TV with your kids over wanting to play outside with them. And then feeling guilty about it.

Or when you are dedicating all your time and energy to everyone around you but you neglect to take care of you. You don’t spend any time on self-care or personal development. That will eventually catch up with you and you will start feeling overwhelmed. Your mental health will suffer and you will discover that you don’t really feel fulfilled.

RELATED: Finding Fulfillment as Working Moms

Assess Your Life Balance

First, take a closer look at all areas of your life. These would be: health, fitness, family, household, personal development, career, spiritual, financial, volunteering, and side business (if applicable).

And ask yourself: am I happy with the way things are? Do I wish I had more time to do x,y,z? What would this area of my life look like if I was living my dream life? You can also download my FREE Life Balance Goal Planner and Tracker, as on the second page it provides some specific areas that fall under each category to help you assess each of them.

Those questions will help you understand how satisfied you are with each of the areas of your life. They will help you discover where you are unhappy with.

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Take Action

Once you discover what areas of you life you would like to change – take action. Start with creating specific goals for one or two areas of your life.

I have a whole blog post about Goal Setting, so check it out, but I will give you a short summary here.

For example, maybe the first thing you would like to address is in the area of your household. Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed with your mornings. That’s when your house is getting most chaotic and you find yourself yelling at your kids. And then you come to work agitated and in a bad mood and then you feel guilty about your morning at home and your morning at work.

Start there. Figure out if you can implement some systems and routines that would make your mornings run smoother.

And once you have that accomplished, move on to other goals and tasks. Little by little you will gain more life balance and less mom guilt.

RELATED: Feeling Overwhelmed - 10 Actions to Take

Step 3: Address Mom Guilt Caused by Society 

If some, or all, of your mom guilt is caused by the society you need to have a heart to heart conversation with yourself. As Rachel Hollis would say “someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business”.

A lot of people in our society still think that women should be doing everything and do it well with a smile on their faces. Well, that is unrealistic. Such a perfect woman does not exist… unless of course you are looking at someone’s Instagram pictures. But that is just a snapshot of someone’s life. Behind the scenes looks just like for any of us – with ups and downs.

No matter what you do, you will never win! There will always be a group of people who will disagree about the decisions you are making.

The only thing that matters is YOU and your family. So that is what you should concentrate on. And the others can live their lives the way they want to 😉

RELATED: How to Increase Your Self-Confidence

How to Overcome Mom Guilt

Step 4: Change your Mindset

The next step you need to take to overcome mom guilt is to change your mindset. This is specifically for those of us who feel guilty about spending time away from our kids. Whether that is for work or for self-care.

We have to realize three things:

  1. Quality over quantity. Don’t measure the time you spend with your kids in minutes. But in the quality of time you spend with them.
  2. You need to be physically and mentally present. When you are over tired and overwhelmed due to too many responsibilities and too little time to yourself – you will often not be mentally present. So don’t cheat yourself and your kids – invest time in personal development and self-care.
  3. What message are you sending to your kids about mom guilt. Kids learn from the way we act. If we constantly feel guilty about taking time for ourselves to chase our dreams or for self-care – our kids will think this is how they should feel as well. And when they grow up and have kids on their own, they cycle will repeat itself.
RELATED: Work-Life Balance: 5 Misconceptions that Hold You Back

Step 5: Develop a Habit to Deal with Occasional Mom Guilt Relapse

I believe that there are still going to be situations that make us feel guilty from time to time. That’s life. And we need to learn how to address those situations right away in a healthy way. The last thing that we want is for one situation to spiral out of control.

So here are my quick suggestions:

  1. Affirmations – have a list of affirmations that you can read.
  2. Journaling – write down your feelings. I find it that writing things down helps me process things much quicker.
  3. Talk with other moms – sometimes all you need is a sounding board. And there is nobody better to do that than a fellow mom who knows the feeling of mom guilt all too well.

Your Turn

What are your feelings about mom guilt? How often do you experience it?

Posted by

Wife, mom, full-time employee, blogger. Love to travel, read mysteries, and everything chocolate. Learning to embrace the imperfections and helping others embrace theirs.

10 thoughts on “How to Overcome Mom Guilt

  1. Definitely agree that you have to ignore what other people in society think. We love our children so much it’s hard not to feel bad when someone thinks we’re doing it wrong even if we can live with other people having different opinions on the rest of the stuff in out lives.

    1. That is sucha great point. We can shake off comments and disagreements about other topics so much quicker. But when it comes to our children, that’s when we struggle. Because we all want the best for our kids, so we constantly question ourselves. But the wonderful thing is that there is no one best way to raise our kids 🙂

  2. This is so important and something that needs to be talked about more. Mum guilt is brushed off as a bit of a joke, but it can actually be really damaging. It’s difficult for me to address head-on because it’s so tied into my anxiety, but I’m certainly trying to work on it. Thanks for the pointers.

    1. Thank you! Yes, it is something that I think we all experience and we need to talk more about it. Mom guilt should not be our ‘normal’.

    1. Thanks Sharon! yes, it never goes away. But I’m determined to talk more about it so it does not become they normal part of motherhood.

  3. I love the bit “feeling guilty about not feeling guilty”. It’s so true that. Problem with us, mothers, is we are long sighted when it comes to looking after others. We can’t see ourselves!! Good writing. Lovely reminder.

    1. Yes, I found myself on so many occassions where I felt content with a decision I was making. And I was so happy for not feeling guilty about it. And then I started feeling guilty about not feeling guilty. Agh…. It is definitely something we need to talk more about.

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