What is Mom Guilt? And 10 Reasons You Feel Mom Guilt…But Totally Shouldn’t
If you’re a mom, there’s a 99% chance you’ve experienced mom guilt. Okay, let’s be real. It’s more like 100%.
What is mom guilt?
Mom guilt is a special brand of guilt reserved for moms. Where it comes from varies as widely as what it’s about—the guilt can come from expectations from your mother-in-law, from yourself, or from Instagram. You can feel guilty about screen time, breastfeeding, or whether or not you ‘re teaching your infant sign language.
We’re not here to tell you that mommy guilt isn’t real—it is—and sometimes it’s overwhelming. But there are some things you feel guilty about that you shouldn’t so what we are saying is take a deep breath and give yourself a break. Raising little humans is hard!
Here are some things you might feel guilty about but totally shouldn’t…
Reasons for mom guilt and how to deal with it:
- Thinking your kids are annoying. Obviously, your children are the cutest, sweetest, most loving human beings on the planet…except when they’re not. And that’s okay! You don’t have to spend the entire day staring starry-eyed in their direction. Sometimes, kids are annoying…and you shouldn’t feel guilty for thinking that. It’s okay to wish your toddler would stop repeating the same question three hundred times in a row even though you OBVIOUSLY ALREADY ANSWERED IT. Don’t sweat it.
- Being bored. Why don’t people talk more about how boring parenthood can be? Of course, it’s a blast to play with your kids, watch them master new skills, and conquer new games. But sometimes, your child asks you to read Goodnight, Moon for the tenth time in a row and you just find yourself feeling a little…bored. Especially in those infant days, it can be hard taking care of a little being who is so completely dependent on you but so lacking in social skills. I mean, the feeling of relief when you get to have an adult conversation...priceless!
- Not breastfeeding or not breastfeeding long enough or not enjoying every single second of breastfeeding. This one is a doozy especially because people love to throw in their two cents about how your child should be fed. Your mother-in-law says you should breastfeed until 18 months because she did and look how great her son is! (That’s a whole different blog post.) Your friend says breastfeeding is torture and you should give it up as soon as possible – or not even start! Meanwhile, the internet is full of #breastisbest crusaders. Here’s the thing: You have to make whichever choice is best for you and your baby…and you shouldn’t feel any guilt about it. Because FED IS BEST!!!
- Being snappy with your little one or your partner. Most of the time, you can take a deep breath and calmly explain why your child can’t have ice cream for dinner…but once in a while, you’re just going to snap “Because I said so!” or “Enough already!.” That’s okay…after all, you’re only human. So even though it seems absurd to eat ice cream for dinner, it’s also okay to give into some rule-breaking requests.
- Reaching out for help. Here’s the truth about motherhood: You need a little help to get by. Whether that’s from your partner, a babysitter, a daycare, your mother, or any combination of the above…don’t feel bad about asking for it. There is a limit to how many things you can do in a day. And stretching yourself too thin has repercussions for your physical and mental health. Plus, you just plain deserve some help. So, take the time to ask for it and tell guilt to get in the backseat.
- Having a bad day. Sometimes, you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Other days, it’s hard to leave work drama at the office and you come home feeling heavy. Then the guilt sets in and you try to shame yourself into having a better day. We’re here to say shame doesn’t work. What does work is compassion. Be gentle with yourself when you’re having a bad day because yes, even moms have bad days.
- Going back to work…or not going back to work. How is that no matter what decision you make, you’re going to feel some guilt? Working mom guilt is one of the most common mom guilt feelings out there. You’ve heard it before—if you go back to work, you’re missing out on precious bonding moments with your little one. And if you don’t go back to work, you’re setting a bad example. Just like with every other decision you’re making for your family, you’re doing the best you can. Try to make peace with that and let the guilt fall by the wayside.
- Letting your kids be bored. If you check out Instagram, it seems like moms always have Pinterest-perfect crafts and activities set up and ready to go for their little ones. So obviously you start to feel the mom guilt creeping in when your kids whine that they’re bored. But guess what? It’s okay for them to be bored! They have toys, books, and imaginations. They can figure it out themselves sometimes… it isn’t always your job to entertain them.
- Being embarrassed by your kids. Whether it’s your toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store or your preschooler telling their teacher about your tattoo that you hope no one ever sees, your kid is going to embarrass you. It is inevitable. It’s also nothing to feel guilty about! Just remember—in a few years, you’ll laugh at this!
- Letting them have extra screen time. Because you just need ONE MOMENT to hear your own thoughts. Yes, limiting screen time is ideal. But also, some days, that plan has to be thrown out the window.
When we say you shouldn’t feel guilty, we know that isn’t going to erase mom guilt like a magic wand. But, accepting that the feelings are valid and normal is a first step to overcoming this special guilt that moms are prone to feeling.
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.