Dr. Julie Hanks, PhD, LCSW leads the hosts in an inspiring conversation on the topic of mom guilt. Motherhood is a beautiful journey filled with love, joy, and precious moments. However, it can also be accompanied by an all-too-familiar feeling: mom guilt.
Mom guilt is a complex emotion that arises from various sources, including unrealistic societal expectations, lack of practical support, unequal distribution of childcare and housework, and negative self-talk. We explore six empowering strategies to help you overcome mom guilt and embrace motherhood on your own terms.
1) Focus on Motherhood as a Relationship
One of the keys to overcoming mom guilt is to shift your perspective and view motherhood as a relationship rather than a checklist of responsibilities. Society often bombards us with images of the “perfect” mother who seems to effortlessly juggle all aspects of life. However, it’s essential to remember that motherhood is a dynamic relationship that evolves over time. It’s about building a strong emotional connection with your child, and that doesn’t require perfection.
Instead of obsessing over whether you’re doing everything “right,” focus on nurturing your relationship with your child. Cherish the moments of connection, laughter, and shared experiences. Recognize that it’s the quality of your interactions that matters most.
2) Separate Motherhood from Housework
Mom guilt often stems from the unrealistic expectation that mothers should be responsible for all aspects of childcare and housework. It’s crucial to challenge this notion and redefine your roles and responsibilities within your household. Share the workload with your partner and delegate tasks as needed.
Remember that a tidy home doesn’t equate to a happy family. Prioritize your well-being and your child’s needs over a perfectly clean house. Embrace the imperfections and messiness that come with parenthood, and don’t let housework define your worth as a mother.
3) Value Motherhood Instead of Idealizing It
Society often idealizes motherhood, placing immense pressure on mothers to meet unattainable standards. It’s time to break free from these unrealistic expectations and value motherhood for what it truly is—an incredible, messy, and imperfect journey. To idealize means to paint a picture that is better than reality. To value means to consider something to be important.
Recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to motherhood. Your unique parenting style and your child’s individual needs are what matter most. Embrace the idea that being a good mother means loving, supporting, and nurturing your child to the best of your abilities, regardless of whether you fit society’s mold of the “perfect mom.”
4) Recognize Your Value
Mom guilt often stems from feeling undervalued or unappreciated. According to salary.com the work a mother does based on the market value of the tasks is approximately $184,000. It’s also essential to acknowledge your worth as a mother and the impact you have on your child’s life. Take a moment to reflect on your accomplishments and the positive aspects of your parenting journey.
Remember that being a mother involves countless acts of love, patience, and sacrifice. You are not defined by your mistakes or shortcomings, but by your unwavering commitment to your child’s well-being. Recognizing your value as a mother can help alleviate mom guilt and boost your self-esteem.
5) Bring Your Unique Self to Motherhood
Each mother is a unique individual with her strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Embrace your uniqueness and bring your authentic self to motherhood. Your child doesn’t need a perfect mother; they need a real one.
Don’t compare yourself to other mothers or try to be someone you’re not. Your child loves you for who you are. Celebrate your individuality and use your unique qualities to enrich your relationship with your child.
6) Create Your Village
No mother should have to navigate the challenges of parenthood alone. Building a support network or “village” can significantly reduce mom guilt. Seek out friends, family members, or support groups who understand the ups and downs of motherhood.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s for a break, emotional support, or practical assistance, your village can provide valuable resources and a sense of community that helps alleviate the burden of mom guilt.
Wasatch Family Therapy is currently offering the first session for free (a $100 value) with their graduate interns, and reduced fees for subsequent sessions. There are options for in-person sessions in Farmington, Lehi, Sandy, as well as virtual sessions serving clients throughout Utah.
To schedule your free session, text 801-413-3106 or hop online: wasatchfamilytherapy.com