You know the feeling. It’s been a hectic day, so you feed your kids fish fingers from the freezer instead of a healthy dinner. Or you give in and agree to another half an hour on the iPad so you can actually get some work done. Or maybe, you’re cranky AF cos your boobs freakin’ hate this breastfeeding business and you feel like you haven’t slept in a decade.
And all the while, the dreaded feeling of mama guilt sits like a weight on your chest, insisting you’re failing miserably at this whole parenting thing.
Parental guilt involves all those horrible feelings of “I shouldn’t be doing this”, “I should be doing that”, and “everyone else is doing a much better job of raising their kids than me”. It’s the sick, panicky sense that you’re not good enough as a mother.
And honestly? It’s total bull****. But that doesn’t make it any less real.
The thing is, mama guilt can be debilitating - and if left unchecked, it can take a huge toll on our mental health. To help you kick it to the curb, we’ve put together some tips on how to overcome the guilty feelings, so you can get your mojo back and remember what an epic super-mama you are.
tip 1: ditch the quest for perfection
Before you freak out about those five extra minutes on your phone or saying yes to another episode of Peppa Pig, take a moment to look at the bigger picture.
Parenthood isn’t about being 100% perfect, 100% of the time. That’s an impossible standard - and seriously, no one is actually doing it (nope, not even that angelic Insta yummy mummy you follow). If you’re gonna follow mama accounts, be sure to choose ones that uplift you - there are so many badass mamas out there telling it how it is!
So if you sometimes resort to the turkey twizzlers instead of the steamed broccoli, don’t beat yourself up. Find the balance, remember you’re only human, and allow yourself to fall short on occasion.
tip 2: focus on your fam, not the one next door
Your kids, your rules. Period.
It doesn’t matter if little Taylor’s mama never ever forgets to launder her gym gear before sports practice or Tyler down the street only watches TV on the weekends. You do you, mama.
At the end of the day, you’re doing the best you can - and that’s enough. So, so enough. Plus, your kids think you’re freakin’ awesome no matter what. So stay in your lane and focus on your own little tribe. They love you.
tip 3: check your squad
Wanna know what we don’t have time for anymore? Those “friends” who make us feel like we’re not good enough. You know what (and who) we’re talking about.
If your crew doesn’t uplift you, support you and motivate you - then mama, you might need some new people in your squad.
Think about how the people in your circle make you feel when you spend time with them, especially when it comes to parenting. Good friends are the ones who lift us up on our down days, listen without judgement, and show up for us no matter what.
tip 4: check in on your kids
No one knows your children better than you do. So go check in on how they’re really doing, rather than relying on what that nagging voice in your head is telling you.
When you stop, look and listen to how your kids are responding to the circumstances around them, you’ll often be surprised at how resilient they are - and how unfazed they are by the problems that seem huge in your head.
Consider what your children actually need right now, rather than what you feel you should be doing as a mama. It’s probably a lot more simple than you thought.
tip 5: seek professional support
Gone are the days of keeping our emotions bottled up inside or putting our mental health on the backburner. Hell no to that!
If you’re struggling to cope with mama guilt or are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by it, reach out to an expert and get yourself the support you need. There are times when all we need is a big old cry and a vent to feel better - and sometimes that’s easier to do with a stranger.
Whether it’s a therapist, counsellor or your local GP, seeking professional advice is one of the most important things you can do to stay on top of your mental health and keep on shining like the awesome mama you are.
“To be safe, happy, healthy and loved…that’s the true meaning of life. The rest is just noise.”