Mom Guilt: What It Is And What To Do About It
Guilt is a strange thing. When society talks about motherhood, it often focuses on the warm, sepia-hued moments that we see on Instagram or in slow-motion marketing videos. Caressing your baby’s silky-smooth skin and being enraptured by your little one’s infectious giggle definitely happens, but motherhood isn’t like that 24/7. One of the things that don't discuss much, yet it impacts almost every mom, is mom guilt.
Mom guilt masks itself in many different ways and will find itself attached to either side of the coin. Just take the topics of breastfeeding and being a career mom.
- Moms can feel guilty for choosing not to breastfeed
- Moms can feel guilty if they’re breastfeeding and have difficulty producing enough milk
- Moms can feel guilty for going back to work as a new mom
- Stay-at-home moms can feel guilty for not bringing in extra income to help provide for the family
Lauren Smith Brody, author of The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Success After Baby, conducted research surveying over 700 new working moms and found that regardless of their current situation (mothers who run Fortune 500 organizations, freelance moms, part-time working moms, adoptive mom, moms on a career break…etc), they all reported feelings of guilt. Her conclusion?
"If everyone feels guilty, there is no other ‘better’ mother to compare ourselves to. Mom guilt is a sham"
Sham or not — we feel what we feel. And while knowing other women experience mom guilt may make us feel better for a brief moment, guilt can settle into our core and sit there. We do our best to not let mom guilt control our thoughts, but occasionally, it wreaks havoc over our brain. While the chaos will eventually settle, mom guilt still lingers.
So, how do we deal with mom guilt? Here are 4 simple ways that you can ward away mom guilt in your daily life.
1. Talk with Someone
We can easily talk someone’s ear off over how cute our baby was this morning. But when it comes to the gritty stuff — the really gritty stuff that you think people will judge you for — we tend to bite our tongues.
Mom guilt can be about any area of motherhood. We can feel guilty for wanting to go back to work, switching to formula, or occasionally longing for the times before we were mothers. However, when mom guilt masquerades itself in your life, find someone you can fully confide in.
When we try to pretend that guilt doesn’t bother us or if we try to keep it all to ourselves, there will come a time when the burden becomes too heavy. This mom guilt can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, or depression. None of this is worth hiding our mom guilt.
Whether it’s a close friend, your spouse, a mom support group, or a therapist, find someone to talk to. Always remember: you are not weak for experiencing guilt. Instead of judging one another or trying to make it seem like we have it all together, focus on opening up and supporting one another.
Communication is a two-way street. You never know if opening up to someone about your thoughts could simultaneously save them from theirs at the same time.
2. Step Away From Social
There are definitely benefits to social media. Feeling a sense of community or finding mommy bloggers that offer free advice on teething tricks and organic spinach pasta for your toddler are all great resources, but at times, social media can lead to unhealthy comparison battles.
It’s almost second nature to compare ourselves to other people’s Instagram posts. We like their minimalistic interiors, linen jumpsuits, and sweet little baby ensembles. While we know those photos are posed and carefully curated, we still find ourselves scrolling through and admiring their feeds.
If you notice yourself feeling more inadequate and discouraged, take a second to think about how much you’ve been browsing on social media. Consider monitoring your screen time and if you notice you are investing too many hours of your time and energy on social media, put a time cap or time limit on your screen time.
Something else you can do is to make sure you only follow accounts that add value to your life. Find accounts that inspire you — as a person, as a mom, as a business woman, or whatever you aspire to be more like — and fill your feed with accounts that uplift you.
3. Rethink Your Nutrition
After giving birth, our bodies are physically and nutritionally depleted. Sometimes this nutritional depletion can cause us to feel worse physically and emotionally. To make sure our bodies recover and our minds are at their best, we need to get the proper nutrition to restore and heal our postpartum bodies.
Your diet affects your postpartum recovery. Taking a healthy supplement that covers the basics of your nutritional bases is one of the easiest ways to incorporate proper nutrition into our lifestyle. Products like Majka Nourishing Lactation Protein Powder have whole food ingredients that help with your protein, fruit and veggie intake, prebiotic and probiotic health, and digestive enzymes. Plus, it also gives you a safe boost in milk production.
4. Write Affirmations
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about self-love, positive vibes, and affirmations. We understand if you think this is a bunch of foo-foo nonsense, however, as this topic grows, there is more and more scientific research to support positive affirmations and its impact on the brain.
Studies with MRI evidence suggest that neural pathways in the brain become more active when we perform self-affirmation tasks.
This means that positive self-thoughts and affirmations can affect our psyche and can even go as far as affecting our physical bodies. On the flip side, negative self-thoughts and beliefs can adversely affect our brains and our bodies as well.
Take time to sit down and write uplifiting affirmations. This will reinforce your positive brain activity. We have a FREE Majka Mom Affirmations Guide featuring 15 affirmations just for you! Simply click here to download your free PDF today:
Mom guilt is experienced by many but is displayed differently in every person. Opening up to someone, monitoring our surroundings, and getting the proper nutrition is all-important, but the one thing we really need to focus on to make a change when it comes to mom guilt? Shifting our mindset.
It’s common for us as moms to experience guilt for wanting to take care of ourselves. We feel selfish or that we’re neglecting our babies. But we need to understand that by focusing on ourselves and making sure we’re happy, healthy, and strong, we better equip ourselves to look after our families—and that is the best gift we can give to our loved ones.
For more motherhood tips and conversations, follow along at @lovemajka #lovemajka #fuelingmotherhood