Living the "mom life" is often a fast-paced whirlwind of activity, so sometimes it can…
Are you ready to get rid of mom guilt?? I’m dedicating this post to all of the working moms. Don’t get me wrong! I know that alllll moms are working moms, but for the sake of this post, I’m focusing on the part-time or full-time working moms who feel guilty when they come home from a long, stressful day with little left to give their families. You know the ones who feel guilty about not having enough time or energy for what’s most important to them. Let’s face it, after a long day of working and the never-ending to-do list once you are finally home, you’ve got nothing left to give and then you feel guilty or you just run out of time and feel guilty. So, if this is you, you’re in the right place! I’m going to share my best tips to ditch this type of mom-guilt once and for all.
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If we haven’t met yet, I’m Stephanie from www.embracethebeautifulchaos.com, helping moms find their Zen in the whirlwind craziness of motherhood. Today we’re talking about mom-guilt as it relates to the full-time working mom. I’ll be sharing with you three tried and true strategies of how to handle the mom-guilt so you can better enjoy the time that you have with your loved ones. I’ve used these three strategies myself with a lot of success for years. I’m amazed at the difference they have made. I’m really excited to hear how all of it works for you. Be sure to let me know in the comments!
So Much To Do, So Little Time
It’s no secret that working moms have a lot to do and very little time to do it in. Time, or lack of it, for a working mom, it’s a huge stressor. It can feel like we don’t have time to do everything we need to and get rid of mom guilt. You’re pushed to do it all and when you fall short, you feel guilty. No one likes to feel this way. So, to avoid it, you plan and plan and plan some more. You make lists and lists of everything and anything under the sun. To ensure that everything runs smoothly so your life doesn’t self-destruct, you need to make sure these plans are followed to a T. But…… the downfall with that strategy is that you can start to become that drill sergeant mom. Often you don’t even see her coming until it’s too late – she just bubbles right out of you as you demand immediate action – NOW!
Is That Who You Really Want To Be?
Sure, you can accomplish a lot and yes, you get your family to accomplish a lot. You are a lean-mean producing machine! But after all the pushing is said and done – the bags are packed for the next day, the kids are bathed and tucked in and you’re finally resting a little, catching your breath from the go-go-go of the day, you may realize that you weren’t the mom that you had hoped to be with your kids that evening. #morepatienceplease Then, the inevitable mom-guilt sets in – HARD. Let’s get into the steps so you can get rid of your mom guilt once and for all!
So, what’s a tired mom to do? To avoid this from happening, use your planning in a new way. Establish what’s most important to you based on what we want to do and plan that into your day first.
Instead of just planning what you have to do (i.e. cook dinner, dishes, laundry, schedule dentist appointment, take child to karate class, pick up prescription from pharmacy, etc…), plan what you want to do but never have time for (i.e. snuggle time on the couch, reading a new book, playing with your kids, having an undistracted conversation, etc…) The focus shifts from the must-do’s to the want-to-do’s for what gets scheduled in FIRST. This could be playtime, could downtime, a rest – whatever. It could be time that you spend with each family member individually, maybe there’s some type of rotation. Look, whatever works best for you and your family is what you should do, okay? Doing this will help you ditch mom guilt fast! Just make sure that whatever you are doing, is something that is fun for everyone and that you stick to that part of your schedule no.matter.what. Most importantly, make sure that these activities are aligned with what truly is most important to you, lined up with your top priorities.
For example, a top priority of yours is to nurture your relationship with your elementary school child and you know a good way of doing this is to play a favorite game that they have. This could be a board game, video game, whatever. Make sure that if that’s the best way for the two of you to connect, that you’re scheduling in some Minecraft. Who the hell cares that you don’t know what you’re doing and that there’s still other stuff that you need to do?! The to-do list will always be there. Have fun with your family anyway. Scheduling in this top priority will keep you less “commander-in-chief” and more “mom who’s engaged in the moment”, opening up opportunities for fun and bonding with the people you love the most in the whole wide world.
What If Things Don’t Go To Plan?
Let’s say you planned some downtime into your night but someone in your family isn’t on the same page and is jumping around like a maniac, screaming the lyrics of “Old Town Road” or howling like the werewolves from Zombies 2. You are frustrated and annoyed. When things don’t go to plan, and they won’t sometimes – it’s guaranteed, don’t lose your shit. Take a deep breath. You’re not a bad mom. You’re doing your absolute best. Just take the breath and keep going. It’s all part of this motherhood deal. Maybe you swap the downtime for a quick dance party to get that bottled up energy out and then get back to relaxing, or just banish them to the basement for your regularly scheduled downtime– whatever works.
It’s hard to keep going without getting flustered when things don’t go as planned, but Step Two helps with that – rewrite your expectations. For a long time, a huge trigger of mom-guilt for me was my morning routine. I had to get my sons up and ready for school on time. Okay, I’ll admit it! I’m not a morning person and on most days, they weren’t either. So, there were many mornings filled with stress and yelling that I would feel guilty about all day long, vowing to have a better day the next day.
Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn’t. It wasn’t until I reworked my main priority for those mornings that they shifted. So, I took what was most important to me – a good relationship with my kids, starting their day in a healthy, calm, positive way – and made that my main priority. Instead of the, “we’re going to be on time no matter what – at any cost”, it shifted to “I’m going to get them to school as happily and calmly as possible”. I still had the goal of getting them to school on time, but my primary focus was how we were doing it. Most days before this was a goal, my kids were not going to school on a very happy note. Sorry, boys! But after I reworked this, it shifted and they were going on a much happier note.
Even the days that I ended up being late, it wasn’t as big of a deal because I didn’t have the mom-guilt afterward. At least we had a peaceful start of the day. I acted according to my top priority and felt better about the whole situation. Readjusting expectations can quickly help you get rid of your mom guilt.
What About Those Really Crazy Days?
What about the days that you’ve worked all day, the kids had school followed by an evening full of extracurricular activities that go until late. Everyone gets home super hungry and exhausted. Picture yourself in that situation and ask yourself, “Are my expectations realistic for this type of night?” What can you re-work about these expectations? It’s nuts, but even on these crazy days, sometimes we still think we have to play supermom and unless we get through all the things on our to-do list and every single checkbox is ticked off, we’re failing as a mom. And that’s not true.
Let me challenge you to think about it differently, especially on the crazy days. Maybe it’s enough for these days just to simply sit next to your child as you both veg out on your own device and decompress. Maybe it’s enough if you’re having a really crazy week, to just let it be what it is and not force an issue. Forget beating up on yourself that you’re not on the floor playing Candy Land with them. It’s okay.
What Isn’t Being Hit Consistently?
Do you have expectations that you aren’t consistently hitting with your family? With time you’re spending with your kids or what you’re doing as a mom? If any of those are a “yes”, take a step back, take a deep breath and reevaluate your expectations. A lot of times when my expectation isn’t matching up with what’s happening, it’s usually an indicator that I need to rework it somehow.
Doing this can be as simple as saying, “Okay, Wednesdays are crazy busy for us, so Wednesday I’m not planning any special activities, instead I’m planning some downtime. The kids can have, time on their electronics, I’m going to just veg out with a magazine, with a book, with my iPhone, whatever. And that’s enough.” Boom! You are getting rid of your mom guilt – go girl!! Question yourself and your expectations. Maybe you haven’t realized them until now and that’s totally ok. Comment below if you’ve ever felt frustrated with unrealistic expectations or can totally relate to feeling guilty when they’re not met.
Alright, you’re planning what’s most important, getting that into your days and you’re reworking your expectations! You are on a roll. Keep up the wonderful work!! But just one last thing…Remember how we said things won’t always go as planned? When that happens, pretty please remember Step Three – be gentle with yourself and your family. Your best-laid plans and expectations do not always work out. It’s guaranteed that this will happen. So, if your reality isn’t matching up with your expectations consistently, it’s totally okay to reevaluate, right? Take a look at those expectations with grace. It’s no way or reflection of you or your capabilities as a mom. It’s possible to have a bad moment and still get rid of mom guilt.
You will need to be the gentlest with yourself on your craziest days. It’s okay not to be okay.
It’s Ok Not To Be Ok
It’s okay to have crazy days. It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay for someone in your family not to be okay. There’s no shame in any of that. It’s all part of the process. You’ll have a much easier time getting back on track with life and enjoying it more when you have a gentle approach with yourself and with others, especially when things don’t go as you would have liked them to. The same rule applies when you mess up. As a mom, I mess up all the time. Instead of feeling guilty about it, I acknowledge my mistake. I fix it if I can, usually involving some type of apology and change of action. Most of all, I’m compassionate with myself. Please realize that you’re human. Realize perfection doesn’t exist. Don’t be fooled by social media or any quick glimpses into anyone’s life. This is an enormous step in getting rid of your mom guilt.
Gentle = Better
If you’re gentle with yourself, you can be a better mom. All three steps work better with a gentle approach. Lighten up, mama! Life is meant to be enjoyed and your kids will only be little for a while. Being gentle is the secret of how to best deal with mom-guilt as a working mom and getting rid of mom guilt for good. If no one’s told you lately, you are doing a wonderful job, you’re an amazing mom and those kiddos are lucky to have you as their mama.
Hopefully, these three tips were a huge help for you. I go into way more detail in my book, Embrace the Beautiful Chaos of Motherhood: The Secret of Staying True to Yourself. I’m excited to announce that it will be available in April 2020. Check out more on that at https://embracethebeautifulchaos.com/the-book/ and Stay up to date on all announcements by joining my email list – http://eepurl.com/gO4VNb
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