Mum Guilt – It’s Time to Let it Go!
It’s fair to say that every Mum will have experienced Mum guilt at some stage of their motherhood journey, but guess what…it’s time to let it go! Negative feelings about yourself as a Mum, or the decisions you make, aren’t helpful to you or your kids.
Research carried out by FarmRich found that 75 percent of American parents felt pressured to be ‘perfect’ from friends, family and social media. It also found that one in four had their decisions questioned by other parents, and that 31 percent of Millennial parents regularly compete with other parents on social media.
So, what can you do to fight that guilt and push the negative feelings aside? Here’s a bunch of tips to help you do just that.
• Don’t try to be the ‘perfect’ Mum. Social media is terrible for making you feel inadequate. You’re bombarded with photos of themed birthday parties with perfect cakes, homemade costumes for Book Day, videos of kids doing things yours don’t do…it’s everywhere. The best thing you can do is ignore those photos and just do your own thing. Do you think your kids will moan if they get a slightly wonky cake bought from the supermarket with M&Ms thrown on top (by the way, this to me sounds just spot on to be honest!)? No way! They will be so happy to have cake to share with their family and friends. What it looks like is irrelevant! You do you.
• Drop the word ‘should’. If you keep thinking ‘should’ thoughts (I should be working, I shouldn’t be working, I should do more crafts/sport/music with my children, I should make more meals from scratch) you are simply knocking yourself down on a regular basis, making yourself feel inadequate. You are doing enough, there’s no ‘should’ about anything!
• Stop comparing yourself to others. Rather than thinking about all the things your friends do that you don’t do, and subsequently feeling guilty about it, focus on all the good things you do with your children.
• Be ok with messing up. We all make mistakes, it’s called being human. If you mess up by missing the first half of your daughter’s netball game, rather than beat yourself up about it, give yourself credit for getting there in time to see the second half. Messing up is how we learn, it’s an important part of life no matter how young or old you are.
• Take care of yourself. A happy Mum is a better Mum. By allowing yourself some ‘me’ time and making it a priority, you will be a better Mum for it. Let the kids stay a weekend with friends or family so you can get away. Chances are they will have just as much fun as you, so there really is no need to feel guilty. Time apart is a good thing.
• Stop trying to be everything to everyone. If you try to do too much, you’re more likely to let someone down – yourself, your kids, your partner, your friends, your family. It’s going to happen. So rather than try to be a Superhero, learn to say ‘no’ and prioritise your family before others. It’s human nature to want to help others, but it shouldn’t be at the detriment of your own family.
• Take a break from social media. Feelings of inadequacy will be heightened by scrolling through your newsfeed. You’ll be subjected to photos of all the ‘perfect’ holidays, occasions, kids, successes…basically anything that might make someone else look good. Rather than wasting time looking at them all and then feeling stink about yourself, unfollow people or take a break from social media completely.
If you can do even just one of these things, you’ll be better off. Be proud of the Mum you are and rather than ridicule yourself, give praise and credit for the amazing job you’re doing.