4 Ways to Turn Your Mum Guilt into Something Positive.
Don’t you wish you could turn your mum guilt into something positive?
Every mum has it. That pang of guilt that you’re somehow failing your child. Or you’re not doing enough for them. Or too much for them. Mum guilt is real. It’s completely normal and can make you question everything you’ve ever done at the same time. Have I spent enough time with them? Have I smothered them? Am I teaching them all the skills they need for a well rounded, happy life? Am I allowing them the freedom to learn who they are for themselves? The list is endless. All we can hope for as a parent is that it doesn’t consume us too much.
When I was pregnant with my second child, the mum guilt was overwhelming at times. Partly down to my raging hormones I’m sure. You can read more about second pregnancy mum guilt here.
What I learned through talking to other mum’s about it, is that it’s something we all experience. It doesn’t go away as your children grow it just evolves with them and you. So if we’re stuck with it, here’s 5 ways to turn your mum guilt into something positive.
Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel guilty.
It’s okay to feel guilty. Feeling guilty doesn’t make you a bad mum. In fact, the fact that you care so much about being your best for your child is a good thing. It’s a reminder of how important they are to you. Whilst there’s no benefit to beating yourself up for all the things you think you should be doing better, there’s definitely a positive to wanting to do better by your kids if you think you can.
Make the time to do the things you feel guilty about not doing.
So, you don’t read them a story book every night and you feel like you should? You can either spend the next five minutes beating yourself up over it or you can do something to lessen the guilt. The moment that guilt sets in is exactly the moment to take out a book and read to them. Don’t dwell on all the times you haven’t read to them. Instead, make sure that moment isn’t another time adding to the guilt.
Learn to be a mindful mum.
Mindfulness is literally focussing on the present moment. It can be so easy to get swept away in the feelings of guilt over ways you’re failing as a mum, many of which are hypothetical. Don’t let that distract you from the brilliant job you’re doing right now. There’s no benefit in fretting over whether you’re not spending enough time playing with your child whilst actually playing with them. Enjoy the moment and remind yourself of the things you are doing really well.
Use it as motivation for self development.
So, you lost your patience with your child and shouted at them and now you feel terrible. Take a minute to remind yourself that you’re not the only one. You haven’t scarred them for life. Then, check in with yourself and try to figure out why you reacted this way today and other days you’re the epitome of calm. Maybe you’ve had a stressful day at work and your child said “no” to you one too many times. Maybe the particular thing your child did in that moment was a trigger for you. Whatever the reason, find it, and use it as a learning for you and your child going forward.
Remember, you’re not alone in feeling guilty as a parent sometimes. But, if you can find ways to turn your mum guilt into something positive, you’re doing your best.
If you wan’t to read more about Mum Guilt, Marie Claire talks about mum guilt in the UK, here.