I had an Ah-ha! Moment today. I was offering support a school girl who has recently had a baby. When asked what she was struggling with most, she said “the guilt”. The guilt of leaving her small baby with a nanny while she goes to school, the guilt that her parents have to buy things for the baby, the guilt that she has to ask her mom everything when it comes to raising a baby. And right there in the middle of the conversation,
I had my Ah-Ha Moment!
I know this might seem weird, because I talk about this to groups of moms all the time, (you can check out my upcoming talks of here) but it just became so much more real, speaking to such a young girl about guilt feelings that are induced by becoming a mom. It’s like a switch that trips as we hold our child for the first time.
When I first starting thinking about Mommy Guilt, my thought processes changed dramatically. Initially, I searched for ways to eliminate it altogether. But then in just another moment, I realised the Mommy Guilt is a positive thing. And here is why…
The reason being is that the fact that you feel Mommy Guilt is because you care about your children.
If you didn’t care then you wouldn’t experience guilt, would you?
Right! So I guess, Mommy Guilt is somewhat unavoidable! If you didn’t care about the well-being of yourself and your children, then you wouldn’t be reading this either.
What I can do, is give you a few coping skills. Mommy Guilt stems from our fear of failure, so let’s look at failure in general, and how to deal with that. I am not going to sit here and give you a miracle recipe to get rid of Mommy Guilt. Sorry, that is impossible for me to do.
- Accept how you feel, and be brutally honest
Most times when we fail (at anything) it is painful and difficult to deal with. The reality is that it is not going to go away. It doesn’t help to distract ourselves, try and forget about it or blame everyone else around us, because those emotions will surface at some point and then disaster while strike. Rather sit down and face it, I promise it will still hurt, but the hurt will lessen quicker than when you brew on it.
- Let it out and find support from your world
Sometimes a good vent is all a person needs to realise the disappointment they are experiencing. There are major benefits of venting, it helps you get it off your chest, perhaps you might see the situation from a different perspective or, like in most cases, you realise you are not the only one who struggles with a certain thing. Sometimes, just finding out we are normal, is enough.
- Take stock, learn and adapt
Take stock of where you are and what happened. How did it make you feel? How did you react? What would I have done differently? How would I be feeling with a different outcome? Then put a plan together as to how you are going to deal with this same issue in the future.
- Put your plan into action right away
Even if your new action plan might not be perfect, put it into action right away! Because brewing over it until you feel it is perfect, is only a form of procrastination. Delaying this will just start the cycle from the beginning
- Release your need for approval from others
Now, this one is big! And this is what we all struggle with the most. Susan Tardanico, leadership writer at Forbes said “Often our fear of failure is rooted in our fear of being judged and losing others’ respect and esteem.” If you give too much power to others’ opinions, it could douse your passion and confidence, undermining your ability to ultimately succeed.
So… I honestly feel that we do not need to try and eliminate Mommy Guilt completely. After all…
Mommy Guilt makes us real, it makes us authentic.