The Mother Lode (of Working Mom Guilt)
With motherhood comes an onslaught of emotions. Depending on the circumstances, we feel everything from joy to dread. But perhaps the one emotion that strikes the hardest and most often is guilt.
“Mom guilt” can be defined as what a mother feels any time she opts to do something for herself instead of for her children. (For example, even going to work at a legit job can spark guilt.)
In reality, we know we can’t be in the presence of our kids 24/7, nor can we spend every waking moment thinking just about them. But that doesn’t stop the guilt from creeping up and blindsiding us. How can we deal with this?
Below are 8 mantras to help banish the mom guilt! Whenever you feel the guilty pangs, recite one of these phrases (as many times as necessary) until you’ve calmed down. Over time, these sayings will take root in your mind and quash the negativity once and for all.
8 Mantras to Banish Working Mom Guilt for Good
1.“It’s only a problem if it’s a problem for me”
Not everyone has the same hot buttons. For example, just because your sister can’t stand baby bottles piled up in her sink doesn’t mean your kitchen has to be spotless. Or if you have a friend who freaks out when her kid eats fried food, but you see nothing wrong with a side of fries, go ahead and order them (with pleasure) for your little one.
In a nutshell: Don’t waste time making other peoples’ problems your own.
2. “I am the best mother for my child”
It’s totally OK to establish your own routines. Let’s say your neighbor brags that her kid is in bed at 7:30 sharp every night and she thinks yours should be too. Most likely she means well, but since she isn’t privy to your kid’s sleep patterns or his nocturnal needs, she really shouldn’t tell you what to do.
In a nutshell: Your parenting style is as unique as your child.
3. “I am still learning”
We’re reluctant to try new things because we feel guilty when we mess up. What we forget is that when it comes to raising kids, a giant percentage is trial and error. So applaud yourself when you do something well, and go easy when you make a mistake. Remember, your baby didn’t come with a manual and no one expects you to be an expert overnight!
In a nutshell: Motherhood is a huge learning curve with no end in sight.
4. “I am not alone”
Listen when other moms share their troubles. You’ll hear how they’ve scalded the baby formula, let their kid drink from a puddle, skipped showering for a week, and cried (often) from exhaustion. It’s much easier to cut yourself a break when you know other moms have been in your shoes.
In a nutshell: No matter what’s happening to you, chances are another mom has already experienced it.
5. “I am enough”
Your kid’s best friend speaks 3 languages, has 2 nannies, enjoys 5 vacations a year, and keeps a pony in his backyard. Instead of feeling guilty that you can’t give your child similar gifts, fill him to bursting with less tangible things (like security, inspiration and love) that last a lifetime.
In a nutshell: Genuine emotional support is priceless.
6. “This too shall pass”
There’s no place for guilt when calamity strikes. Instead, use your energy to control the situation as best you can. It’s important to remind yourself that eventually the teething will stop, the night terrors will end, and Chicken pox will run its course.
In a nutshell: When the going gets tough, remember that most unfortunate events are temporary.
7. “Be the mom you want your kids to remember”
It’s a warm summer evening and you’re eager to get home from a day-long beach excursion. Your young one wants to stay longer to swim under the stars. Before you say no way, consider your reasons: is there something you need to do at home or are you just worn out from a day of sun and fun?
In a nutshell: It’s OK to compromise or change plans in order to create special, memorable moments.
8. “The days are long but the years are short”
Motherhood guarantees endless days and sleepless nights. However, somehow these ceaseless hours condense into lightning-quick years and one day baby is suddenly all grown up.
Therefore, there’s no time to waste on feeling guilty about daily mishaps or to second-guess trivial decisions. Instead, cherish your time together.
In a nutshell: Embrace today and all its quirks because your role as mom will shift and morph before you know it.
Affirmative Action Required
As a mom, one of our many tasks is to cultivate our own mind-body connection. One of the easiest ways to do this is through daily affirmations.
When we think positive thoughts on a regular basis, we begin to believe them and act upon them. As a result, our negative ideas aren’t so pronounced and they begin to have less of a grip on our reality.
Mantras are simple exercises that actually work. They take just minutes to recall and they work in countless situations. And best of all? There’s no guilt attached.