Did you know that mum guilt is the number 1 struggle amongst mums?
On the one hand, it is no wonder. When you scroll through your social media feed, you see an endless number of ‘perfect’ motherhood images that often create the feelings of not measuring up and not being good enough.
When you talk to mummy friends or visit baby or toddler groups, you have the impression that other mums ‘have it all.’
Not to mention how much pressure is on mums who are expected to juggle the unrealistic number of tasks every day (with homeschooling being just a cherry on a cake).
The pressure can be unbearable.
On the other hand though, there is rarely a real reason to actually feel guilty.
Mothers do an incredible job every single day and go above and beyond for their children. However instead of seeing and appreciating it, they often focus on things they believe they ‘should do’ or ‘should have done’.
This is quite sad as when you think back in the old days, mums used to work together as a team. They spent a lot of time together, they babysat for each other, they raised each other’s children, and helping out went without saying.
Today a mum is separated and lonely.
The good news is though that it does not have to be this way.
Having worked with mums for over 3 years, I have discovered powerful ways to let go of mum guilt and build supportive community.
Below are 7 tips that have worked really well with my clients.
1. Let’s go back to sisterhood
If you have not found any supportive community, why not start one yourself? Get together with a few mummy friends (you can find a lot of local mums online) and create a ‘club’ where they can be open and honest about the ups and downs of motherhood without worrying about being judged.
You can also babysit for each other, do the shopping for each other, take each other’s children out. Anything that works for you and makes your lives easier.
2. Remember that you’re a human
You always do your best with the resources you have available. Did you shout at your child and now feel guilty about it? Well you were probably under huge pressure, in which case you cannot expect to react as you have just returned from a 2-week spiritual retreat.
We are only human and always have our children’s best interests in mind in everything we do.
If you find yourself shouting or feeling stressed more than you would like to, then it might be worth considering reaching out to a parenting expert or a coach/counsellor (depending on what the issue is) who will help you to solve the cause of your distress.
But once the emotion is there, do not feel bad about releasing it. It is only natural and normal.
3. Do you really feel guilty?
In most cases we feel guilt only when we look back at the situation. We did not feel bad when it happened. So stop for a minute and ask yourself if it is your voices or voices from other people that make you feel guilty.
4. Think of what example you want to set to your children
You are constantly modelling to your children, whether you realise it or not. So if you constantly doubt your actions or feel bad about them, you teach your children to do the same.
5. Social media is not the real world
Don’t believe everything you see on social media. Most of those ‘perfect’ mums feel just like you once the camera is off. I used to post ‘happy images’ when I struggled with postnatal depression too. I was simply scared to admit how I really felt. I was scared of the judgement and I am sure I was not the only one.
So please remember that the images we see on social media is one thing, but we never know what is happening being closed doors.
6. Celebrate your wins.
Every day before you go to bed list at least 5 amazing things you did that day. Did you tell your children you loved them? Are they fed? Do they sleep in a clean bed? Amazing! They have more than most of the children on this planet.
7. Always remember your why.
Do you feel guilty about going to work? About sending your children to the nursery? About being strict with your children? Remember why you do it in the first place.
At the end of the day, everything we do, we do it for them.
So take a deep breath and see that there is no space for guilt whatsoever.
And say to yourself: I am proud of myself.
Thank you to Ivana Poku for this fabulous blog – you can find out more at www.mumsjourney.com