I thought I was done with mom guilt.
But it showed up again this week, forming a pit in my stomach and telling me I was a horrible, selfish mom for doing something just for me. (And let’s be clear: That something was just a quick happy hour with a girlfriend. Logically, I knew it wasn’t a big deal to disappear during dinner but my mom guilt persisted just the same.)
I can’t tell you why many moms struggle with guilt but I can say it’s a very common emotion, especially among new moms. It usually shows up when you decide to take time away from your family or practice better self-care or when you don't do the things that a "good mom" should do.
The guilt might stop you from taking care of you all together. (Mom guilt is incredibly good at holding you hostage.) Or, maybe it doesn't prevent you from sneaking out the door but does make it hard to fully enjoy your me time.
Either way, mom guilt doesn’t serve you.
And it doesn’t feel good. So it’s not surprising that my clients often ask how to get rid of this emotion forever.
My answer is always the same – and it’s never the one they want to hear.
That’s because the guilt itself isn’t the problem. It’s the way you react to it that makes it an issue and causes you frustration and pain. So instead of trying to delete mom guilt from your life, you have to stop resisting it and instead learn to actively accept it. You have to allow yourself to feel it instead of treating it like an unwanted guest in your life.
Accepting mom guilt is where your freedom lies - even though it feels a little uncomfortable at first. When you stop running from your guilt, stop judging yourself for having it and stop trying to push it away, you reach a place where you can observe it.
Give it a try the next time mom guilt shows up. Lay out the welcome mat and accept it as one of the many emotions you’ll feel as a mom. Take a minute to notice where it shows up in your body. (Does it make you sick to your stomach? Tight through your chest?) Then ask, is feeling the emotion of guilt really so bad? And does it feel different now that you aren’t running from it? Do you feel more in control?
When you invite guilt into your life, you put yourself in a position of power because you're proving you can handle it. And from that place of power, you can decide how you want to deal with your guilt.
If you want to let guilt keep running your life, that’s fine as long as you like your reasons. But if you decide that mom guilt is holding you back from pursuing your passions or practicing self-care, you have another option.
Acknowledge it, then tell that guilt to hit the road.
To believing your time is now,
P.S. If you’re dealing with a persistent case of mom guilt, I’d love to talk more about it – including how you can look at mom guilt as a gift. Yes, a gift.