How I Let Go of Mom Guilt Once and For All
“The best way to insure you achieve the greatest satisfaction out of life is to behave intentionally.” - Deborah Day, Be Happy Now
Before I had kids I rarely felt guilty about what I was and wasn't doing.
Once I became a mom, the guilt hit like a wrecking ball, coming to crash all of my confidence to bits and pieces.
I didn't breast feed long enough.
I didn't play with my kids enough.
The house is a mess because I read a book while the kids were napping.
I work too many hours and don't spend enough time with my boys.
I have too many pictures of the oldest child and hardly any of the youngest.
The guilt list is endless.
The cycle of guilt we take ourselves through as moms is pretty excruciating, don't you think? Once summer hit and my boys were home for summer vacation, I noticed my mom guilt was at an all time high.
There was one day that I noticed myself feeling guilty for all of the following items:
- letting my boys play too many video games
- realizing that my youngest hadn't showered in three days (I am praying he remembered to brush his teeth)
- the empty refrigerator and pantry shelves (didn't I just come home with a huge hall from Sam's?)
- and last but not least, not enough "family memory makers" on the calendar for this summer
Like for real.
All of these things were on my list of failings as a mom and it was only the second full week of summer. We have a long way to go until school starts back. I knew I had better get a handle on all of this mom guilt. And fast!
I started doing a little soul searching and asking myself where all of this mom guilt comes from. I think I might be on to something.
What if the guilt we are feeling actually comes from our lack of being intentional?
Hear me out on this.
What if we feel guilty because we see our to do list as this thing to tackle, the only way we feel confident as a mom. But because the list is so freaking long we end up focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time.
Have you ever been known to hide under the covers in the mornings for just a few minutes longer before heaving yourself out of bed to get to tackling the mile long to do list? Please tell me it isn't just me!
I run my own business from my home office so a lot of my mom guilt is centered around time on work, time with my boys, and time taking care of my household responsibilities so these four walls don't go down in flames. I always need a summer survival plan to make sure my summer doesn't run away with me.
Since I think I have a pretty good handle on how to manage my time this summer why on earth am I still struggling with mom guilt?
It all comes down to letting go of feeling guilty and instead, being intentional.
For me, there are three areas that when I am intentional and focused on each one at a time, I feel like a rockstar mom.
**Disclaimer: My two boys are 11 and 13 as of the writing of this post. That means that they can now take their own baths, make their own breakfast, and pretty much make sure they don't die all by themselves. Please know that I know that this season of motherhood looks a lot different, and in a lot of ways is much simpler than if I had preschool children or babies demanding to be nursed and comforted.
But the points I make in this post are still relevant to all mothers in each stage of parenting. When we decide to be intentional and let go of the guilt we enjoy motherhood so much more!
1. Spend quality, uninterrupted time with my boys.
I feel most connected to my boys when my attention is completely on them. Whether we are hanging out together on the back deck, watching a movie or enjoying dinner together as a family, putting away the cell phone and focusing on them 100% not only makes them feel important but fuels my spirit as well.
2. Work when it is time to work.
My business that I run from home is what affords me the ability to stay home with my boys so it is very import that I make it a priority. When I am intentional about creating an action plan and avoid procrastination by staying laser focused during my work time (sometimes that means I get up at 5:00am to get stuff knocked off my list) I feel much more confident in what I am doing as I help provide for my family.
This focused work time also affords me the right and opportunity to put work aside and spend that quality time with my boys I talked about earlier.
3. Household chores such as grocery shopping, laundry, etc.
The daily, mundane mom tasks are the first thing I push off until later. When I am not intentional about making time for them my family suffers. And there comes the guilt.
Because I have two boys that eat a ton, plus a husband that kinda likes to eat and have a clean towel every once in a while, I find that I get a lot of self gratification out of serving them in certain areas.
When I am intentional about having such things as the laundry caught up (by the way...I have taught both of my boys to do their own laundry so Yay! #winning) and the pantry stocked with food I feel filled up as a mom and the guilt subsides.
I now make it a daily practice to be intentional and say no to guilt. When I choose to be intentional instead of riddled with guilt I dig this mom gig so much more!
The mom guilt is like the plague that spreads into all nooks and crannies of our lives if we let it. Instead, let's let go of all of that nasty mom guilt and be intentional. If I can do it, so can you!