Your house is a mess, you yelled at your kids over something small, and you have no idea what’s for dinner. Maybe you and your husband decided to take a weekend away and you feel guilty for leaving the kids with a sitter. Or perhaps you do it all by the book but still feel like a bad mom. This is mom guilt. I struggle with it, you probably struggle with it, and most moms struggle with it.

So why do we have this overwhelming mom guilt? Why do we all feel like someone else out there is a way better mom than us? And how in the world do we start getting past it?

 

Why We Feel Mom Guilt

 

Most of it is due to comparison. We compare ourselves to other moms we know or this perfect mom that we imagine. We assume most other moms are better than us. Or at least that they do certain things better.

One of my biggest comparisons and guilt inducers is the amount of time I spend actually playing with Will. I feel like something else is always calling my attention away. There is always something else in the house that needs to be cleaned, more emails to answer, and laundry to be done. As soon as I finish one thing, I’m on to the next thing. Before I know it, it’s time for lunch and nap time and I haven’t sat down and played with him at all.

I always have this feeling that I should have been playing with him. But at the same time, I have mom guilt when I don’t get anything done all day because I was playing with Will. It’s a cycle that I can’t seem to win. And I have this lie in my head that other moms have it figured out. They have figured out how to play with the kids all morning, have a clean house, and have dinner prepped and ready by 5:30. Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that woman actually exists.

 

Why We Need to Take Control Back from the Mom Guilt

 

No matter what your guilt inducing issue is, I assure you, someone else out there also feels guilty on a regular basis about it as well. The truth is there just isn’t any way to be a perfect mom no matter how hard we try. One of my favorite phrases is “There is no way to be a perfect mom, but there are a million ways to be a great one.”

When we are constantly demanding perfection from ourselves, the pressure starts to overflow onto those around us. Soon we start getting frustrated when our husband messes up on little things. Then it starts to trickle down to our kids. And when it does, we get more guilty.

By taking back control of our lives from the guilt, we say to ourselves and those around us that it’s ok to mess up. Kids need to see that adults mess up, too, and how we handle ourselves when we make mistakes.

There is a reason I say we need to take control back from mom guilt rather than get rid of it. Let’s be real: we probably won’t be able to get rid of it completely. Also, guilt can be a healthy thing. It can act as a warning sign to unhealthy behaviors. However, we have to be in control of the guilt rather than the other way around.

 

How to Cope with Mom Guilt

 

So, mom guilt is probably never going to go away completely. And we also aren’t going to suddenly become the perfect mom. So how do we cope with it? By taking baby steps to get it under control. Every day, decide to have grace toward yourself instead of demanding perfection.

The next time you feel guilty, pause and ask yourself if you really should be feeling guilty about it. If you think it really is an issue, come up with a plan to start finding some balance in that issue. If not, let it go and move on with your day and be confident in your choices.

If you struggle with mom guilt and need some day by day exercises to get over the mom guilt, try taking my free email course! I’ll send you an email a day for 5 days. Everyday will have a new task or exercise designed to help you get your mom guilt under control (most can be done in less than 30 minutes a day during nap time!).

25 Comments

  1. The mom guilt struggle is real! It feels like there is no way out of it sometimes. I feel guilty for doing A and not B. I feel guilty for doing B and not A. I can’t win.

    Reply
  2. Yes, I always feel there’s something else to do, like emails. Scheduling helps even if I schedule time with my kid.

    Reply
  3. I enjoyed reading this because I feel mom guilt too! I work so what really helps me is when I get home until she goes to bed we play and read and cuddle. I try not to clean or look at my phone until after she goes to bed! It helps and we get our quality bonding time!!

    Reply
  4. It is a struggle! What I am working on is being present in the moment with my kids.

    Reply
  5. Oh yes! The mom guilt! It can be so consuming. Thanks for sharing this and pointing out that we don’t need to be perfect.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for this! Mom guilt is a serious struggle.

    Reply
  7. The struggle is real! I hate that I have to “schedule” time with my kid but I’m an all over the place creative individual and that’s what’s needed sometimes to tackle all THE THINGS

    Reply
  8. The first time I experienced mom guilt was when my daughter was only a few weeks old. She barely let me put her down the first couple of months of her life without screaming, so the first time I had her settled enough to enjoy a meal with both hands I found myself feeling guilty! I couldn’t believe I felt guilty over not holding her so I could eat a meal, but I did. Mom guilt is such a real thing!

    Reply
  9. I absolutely struggle with Mom guilt! I completely agree though – comparison is my huge downfall. I have heard that comparison is a stealer of joy – so true! Love these tips.

    Reply
  10. The struggle with mom guilt is real! I do not necessarily compare myself to others, but I am a total type A personality perfectionist. I logically realize that I cannot be a “perfect mom”, but that guilt still creeps in! Scheduling time that is completely uninterrupted seems to work best. Life is so distracting, but being intentional in our time together seems to do the best to assuage my guilt.

    Reply
  11. Mom guilt is the worst! My kid is about to be two years old, and, luckily, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at controlling the mom guilt. Signed up for your course and am excited to take it!

    Reply
  12. Mom guilt is very real. I sometimes feel like I have it under control and then it rears its ugly head.

    Reply
  13. I LOVE that quote! I need to keep this in mind. I struggle with mom guilt and I have to just remind myself that I am doing the best that I can and my kids aren’t going to die because the kitchen stayed a mess for a few days, lol.

    Reply
  14. Mom guilt is so real here! I too struggle with the “playing with my kids.” I even try to write it down on my schedule. Then when I do sit down with them I have a hard time shutting my brain off to the things I need to be doing. It is something I’m working on, because I think some time, 15 min? is important.

    Reply
  15. I love the quote you have, “There is no way to be a perfect mom, but there are a million ways to be a great one.” Thank you for the reminder!!

    Reply
  16. Thank you for sharing this! As a single mom with MS and FM, I struggle with guilt in a very huge way! Not so much for comparison to others but because they need more than I have. But we have a happy little family and I try to give myself credit for giving all I do have to give 🙂

    Reply
  17. Thank you for this, I am first time mom and I have noticed so much comparison or just out right shaming. It’s sad but I am starting early on not to let them get to me and just being the best mom I can be for my little one.

    Reply
  18. Goodness, this is SUCH a REAL thing! And sometimes it’s hard not to internalize things, at least for me. Thanks for the practical tips!

    Reply
  19. I needed the reminder not to compare myself to others today! I have found that if I start my morning playing with my son and really giving him my full attention, he is more likely to go play on his own for awhile so I can do a few things. It really helps to invest in him first in order for him to feel confident to play on his own. I look forward to your email course and the daily reminders to put mom guilt aside and be the best mom I can be.

    Reply
  20. Oh mom guilt! I def. know the feeling. Great read, though!

    Reply
  21. I can’t say I know what mom guilt is since I don’t have kids of my own. But, life circumstances have brought me back home living with my sisters’ family and caring for an aging dad for the moment. I feel the frustration of being stuck at home, the routines, and other emotions associated with being a stay-at-home mom, especially the comparison game. Something that I need to work on. Thanks for the article.

    Reply
  22. I too struggle with feeling like I don’t play with my children enough, that everything else demands my attention and I go to them first. Thank you for this post!

    Reply
  23. I struggle with this daily. It hard to be a parent and not be hard on yourself. I love the idea of giving myself grace.

    Reply
  24. I felt this when I was still working in a corporate. Now that I work from home I’m able to manage my time and balance it with my kids.

    Reply
  25. Such a real struggle!! Even as a stay at home mom I often feel like any time spent doing something else is taking it from my children but then when the house gets messy I feel bad about that too…. I feel you!

    Reply

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Hey there! My name is Rachel and I’m a 23 year old wife and mother. I’m decidedly in favor of DIY projects and decidedly against mom-shaming. This blog is my place to take a stand against superiority and to share ways to thrive in motherhood. My hope is that you leave this site feeling validated and encouraged in your mom-bilities.

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