“I’m just SO tired, I can’t keep doing this.”
“I feel like I don’t measure up to my other mom friends.”
“I’ve never been so stressed out in my life!”
“Am I feeding, teaching, and training my kid the right way?!”
“I feel so disconnected from God right now.”
“I’m sure my kid would have been better off with another parent who has it all together.”
Ever said any of these things? Mom guilt is REAL folks! The anxiousness, stress, and defeated feelings, wondering if we are ever good enough, can take an emotional, physical, and spiritual toll on us.
Here are some practical ways to reduce all the overwhelming feelings that come with motherhood and live a fuller, happier life in return!
1. Practice good self-care.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” This is why self-care is crucial, because as much as you want to give give give to your children, you can’t when you’re running on empty. Self-care may look different for everyone. It may mean having scheduled days of the month where you do something alone (like a pedicure, massage, or a meal out by yourself), it may mean joining a women’s group or bible study for weekly support, or it may even mean seeing a therapist or other professional for help. Regardless of your level of need, be honest with yourself about how debilitating your shame and guilt has become. Vow to take care of yourself so that you can truly be the best mama to your kiddos, guilt-free! Loving yourself is the best example you can set for your children.
2. Be okay with saying no sometimes.
As moms, we feel like we have to do it all. The truth is, it’s okay to say no to various commitments. It is also okay to try something and then realize it is too much and back out. If you don’t take your children to an activity every hour of the week, it doesn’t make you any less of a mother, it makes you human. Keep a calendar, stay organized, and be realistic about what you can commit to. You don’t need to be a full-time working mom, president of the PTA, soccer mom, dance mom, choir mom, chef, housekeeper, and plan every social event that comes up on the calendar. Learn to say no and also learn to share responsibilities with your spouse and others in your support system so that you don’t get run-down.
3. Learn to recognize irrational thinking.
Alright, here I go wearing my therapist hat, but this one is HUGE! Have you truly given thought to how you think? Seems odd, but it’s a huge step in reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. For most of us, our impulsive thoughts are not grounded in truth. We may perceive that others have negative thoughts about us when there’s no logical evidence to support those feelings. We may be constantly anxious thinking about our children’s safety, yet statistically the amount of times they experience danger is minimal compared to the times they are safe. We may perceive that everyone else’s children are well behaved while we raise little hellions, strictly based off the biased posts we see on social media. How do we fix this? It starts by recognizing it. For example, if you’re experiencing guilt about going back to work, ask yourself, “Do I know well-developed children who had working parents? Are there positive aspects in regard to socialization and healthy attachment that my child may benefit from? Am I working in order to provide for my family and support my children?” When we begin to think logically, our guilt can dissipate.
Piggy-backing off the last point, journaling can be a huge help in recognizing negative thought patterns and effectively correcting them. Have you ever journaled and looked back at what you wrote with a more logical mindset? In the moment, we can feel emotional and impulsive, and subsequently remain in our negative headspace. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and give our thoughts a place to “live” (on paper), we may be able to better process how we are feeling. As I mentioned in a previous post, A Call to Journal, “Journaling allows for past reflection, future insight, and present surrender.” Read more about journaling and its benefits here.
5. Read the Bible and Pray.
As a Christian, I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Carving out time to read God’s word can provide comfort, direction, and relaxation in the midst of life’s chaos. Praying allows you to be dependent on God when you feel like you’re drowning. Be real with Him and let him know you are struggling. Ask for guidance. Ask for patience. Ask for peace. Read more tips about praying here.
As a mother, the enemy surely knows how to steal, kill, and destroy any confidence I have in motherhood. Just when I’m feeling like I’m doing something right, anxiousness, doubt, and fear creep in. As a therapist I am constantly telling my clients to combat irrational thinking with truth. As a Christian, there is no stronger truth than God’s word. That’s why I created a one-page downloadable, printable PDF to remind myself that the guilt I feel can ultimately only be battled by Scripture. I hang this on my fridge and whenever I am feeling crummy, I can reflect on God’s word to bring me peace. Signing up for the free printable below gives you additional access to FaithFilledMotherhood.com newsletters, new posts, and other future freebies!
Praying for you to be released from the stronghold of mom guilt, today and every day. You’ve got this, mama!