Mom guilt refers to the feeling of guilt, anxiousness, doubt or uncertainty experienced by a mother when she feels like she is falling short of her own expectation or the expectation of others. While mom guilt can happen to any moms at any time, it is particularly experienced by new moms, working moms or single moms.
There is a long list of expectations about what moms “should be like” and what moms “should do”, and they often come from society, media and even family and friends. Some of the common expectations include “moms should breastfeed” and “moms should spend more time with kids and less time on work”. When moms believe that they have failed to meet these (often unreasonable) expectations, they may feel guilty, inadequate or pressured. The guilt and resulting feelings could appear in some of the following ways:
- Negative Thoughts: Having negative thoughts such as “I am neglecting my baby if I go to work” or “I am a bad mom if I don’t breastfeed”.
- Negative Emotions: Feeling tired, angry, stressed, or over-worrying most of the time, among other signs.
- Overdoing or Overworking: Believing that the more is done, the better, and this eventually leads to a burnout.
- Perfectionism: Avoiding feelings by trying to come across as “having it all together”, fears failure and judgement.
If any of the above sounds familiar to you, please know that you are not alone. Being a mom can be the most challenging job in the world, but it can also be the most rewarding. It all depends on your self-acceptance and how you choose to deal with other people’s opinion. It is normal for you to feel worried and stressed from time to time, but if your feelings are overwhelming you, try these simple tips to feel better:
Acknowledge Your Feelings And Accept Them
The key here is not to avoid your negative emotions, but rather acknowledging these emotions when they happen, and respond to them with self-acceptance and kindness. Remind yourself that your feelings of guilt, sadness or worry are normal, and you are doing your best to take care of your child. After all, being a mother requires an enormous amount of time, energy and patience.
Shift Your Mindset
Sometimes all it takes is for you to change your thoughts to feel a whole lot better about a situation. When you are feeling guilty, focus on the things that you have achieved in your motherhood instead of the ones that you may be missing. And when you feel like you’ve made a mistake, instead of beating yourself up, think of it as an opportunity for you to learn more and do better in the future.
Understand Others’ Perspective Rationally
While some people’s comments for you can be plain meanness, others could be sharing purely based on their personal values and experience. So next time when you face another comment regarding your childcare methods, before feeling offended or stressed, try to understand where they are coming from and what is their experience with childcare that made them give such comments.
Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Having a group of people who are supportive can make things easier. When you feel like you can’t cope, seek assistance from your spouse, your family or even fellow moms. If you notice you are feeling guilty mostly because of someone’s judgement or negative comment, get some space from that person.
Make Time For Yourself
Just because you have become a mother, doesn’t mean you have to spend every minute of your time on your child. Spending time to relax or doing things that you love can help you recharge and improve your mood. This can be treating yourself to a massage, going on a brunch with your friends, or even just taking a long nap. Remember that loving yourself is one of the best ways to love your baby.
Stepping into motherhood is one of the most significant shifts in life, and that’s why it takes time for you to adjust and adapt. Other than the support of your spouse and family, having an experienced helping hand at home—like a confinement lady—during the first month after your labour can be a great relief. If you are looking for Singapore confinement nanny recommendation by other moms, check out PEM Confinement Nanny Agency’s website.
Last but not least, regardless of your struggles and mistakes, remember that you did good enough, and you are doing good enough. Keep going, mommies!