If you’re struggling with mom guilt, know you are not alone. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to overcome it for good and stop feeling guilty.
As far as I can see, mom guilt is an unavoidable feature of motherhood. We care for our little ones; we want to show up as often and as best as possible. Of course, sometimes we can’t be there (and things don’t always go as planned), so mom guilt can creep in.
It’s essential to recognize that mom guilt is shared, common, and manageable.
What is mom guilt?
Mom guilt is best described as an intense or subtle feeling of guilt or shame associated with motherhood. These feelings often arise when mothers feel they don’t live up to their or others’ expectations of being a parent.
What’s important to note is that mom guilt comes in many forms and can be felt for various reasons. From personal expectations to social media influence to unrealistic societal standards, mom guilt is pervasive and a shared experience for many.
Four tips to overcome mom guilt
- Accept the feeling
- Expect to feel it
- Remind yourself that everyone is okay
- Check-in and shift
1. Accept the feeling
The feeling of mom guilt is unique because it feels like we’ve done something wrong. Guilt traditionally implies offense.
But with mom guilt, we haven’t done anything wrong; it just feels like we have. Mom guilt is a peculiar breed of emotion that we, as moms, will feel. And that’s okay.
2. Expect to feel it
We can almost predict when we’ll feel guilty: leaving the house for date night, coming home from work, forgetting the babe’s favorite blanket at home even though it was requested ten times.
We know historically that we’re likely to feel bad, but we hope it’ll be different; my fingers are crossed that I won’t feel guilty this time. Wishful thinking is sweet, but nope—mom-guilt perseveres.
It seems counter-intuitive, but expecting to feel guilty is beneficial. By anticipating the feeling, it feels less intense upon arrival.
3. Remind yourself that “you’re okay, they’re okay, it’s okay”
Remember that you are not doing anything wrong. Most likely, you’re doing something very right. Ideally, you’re taking time to do something that promotes your fulfillment apart from being a mom.
Your babe may experience a little adversity, which helps the child build resilience. This is healthy. Remember that all feelings are transitory, and the sense of mom guilt will pass.
4. Check-in and shift
When the pangs of mom-guilt strike, check in with yourself. See if you’re able to shift your perspective by reframing the experience.
For example, “Ugh, I feel awful. This is our second date night this month. Do we need to leave tonight? The baby seemed so upset with the new sitter. Let’s go back inside.”
Reframe it to: “I knew I would feel guilty. I anticipated this feeling, and it’s okay to feel this way. The baby is in safe and loving hands and will be fine. My marriage is strengthened by date nights. This is important. We’re all okay.”
Supportive quotes on mom guilt
From the editor: we’ve rounded up some helpful – and funny – quotes on mom guilt to help you feel less alone in your feelings. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Quote: “You never have to balance it completely. Motherhood is a constant struggle of a little more time there, a little more time here, and feeling a little bit guilty all the time.” – Halle Berry
Quote: “Parenting is not about perfection; it is about intention and connection.” -Unknown
Quote: “Mama, you are going to struggle. There will be days that you aren’t the best mom, and as soon as the kids go to sleep, your brain fills with mom guilt. Don’t give in. You are allowed to have bad days. Those days do not define you.” – Katie Hendrickson
Quote: “If you are experiencing mom guilt, take a deep breath, and allow it. Do not let it define you. Let it come and go as it pleases.” – Marissa Johnson
Quote: “It’s not difficult to take care of a child; it’s difficult to do anything else while taking care of a child.” – Julianne Moore
Quote: “It’s not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts.” – Mother Teresa
Other resources you might find helpful
Kristen Lillian Riordan has a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling; she is an Ayurveda Counselor, Yoga Teacher, Wife and Mom. Kristen has been featured in Huffington Post, Yoga Journal, and Mantra Magazine. Clueless & Wise: Pregnancy, Postpartum, Early Motherhood: Adorable, Raw & Taboo is her third book, following— Your Life is Medicine: Ayurveda for Yogis, and Love Fearlessly: The Soulmate Within. She lives in St. Petersburg, FL.