From the moment I laid eyes on my daughter I knew there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. I would quickly learn “doing anything for her” translated into neglecting the things I needed to do for me.
This is a tale of a MILF (mom, independently, living fabulously) who would love to feel “not guilty” while attempting to enjoy the things that fuel my passion while perfecting parenting.
As a single mother, I know firsthand the struggles of finding the balance between my career and family. Every day, I’m faced with the decision of whether to put my dreams on hold for my daughter or chase them at the expense of missing out on milestones.
The truth is, no matter what choice you make, mom guilt often follows. On the days when I choose to focus on my career, I feel guilty about missing out on moments with my now teenage daughter. On the other hand, when I choose my family over my career, I feel guilty about putting my passions on the back burner.
“Mom guilt or mommy guilt” is defined by BetterUp as “the name given to the feelings of guilt women experience in relation to their kids. New mothers are particularly susceptible to mom guilt. They constantly worry about making mistakes and try to get everything right. Mom guilt comes from an unrealistic ideal of a perfect mom.”
It’s a never-ending cycle of choices and consequences that can leave any mother exhausted and questioning her decisions. But here’s the thing, it’s okay to choose yourself sometimes.
Yes, your kids are a priority, but so are your dreams and aspirations. Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your identity and passions for your children.
“Mom guilt is also particularly prevalent among professional women. Professional women often feel torn between their desire to continue working and mixed feelings over leaving their child,” writes Erin Eatough, PhD.
It’s important to remember that by chasing your dreams, you’re setting a positive example for your children. You’re showing them that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes and that hard work and dedication can lead to success.
Of course, balancing motherhood and pursuing your goals is easier said than done. But one thing that’s helped me is making a schedule and sticking to it as much as possible. Giving yourself time to focus on your dreams and prioritize your family will improve your mental state, and your kids will appreciate the example you set.
So how can you combat the overwhelming feeling of mom guilt? According to ChoosingTherapy.com, practice self-compassion:
“It is natural to want to spiral into a cycle of guilt, shame, and negative self-talk. When you practice self-compassion, it allows room for you to forgive yourself for mistakes, love deeper, and open opportunities for growth.”
And, equally as important, speak up!
“The most common problem when it comes to coping with mom guilt is not being able to communicate or share how you are feeling with others. Remember, no one is a mind reader, so try not to assume that your needs are obvious to those around you. What do you actually need—Is it a night alone, maybe even a night at a hotel? A hot, uninterrupted meal? Maybe it’s a long, warm shower. These things are within your reach, but you have to work on asking your partner or other supports for help in a way that is clear to each of you.”
In the end, it’s all about creating a balance that works for you and your family. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself and not let “mom guilt” consume you. You’re doing the best you can, and that’s all that matters.
Resisting A Rest: Dealing With The Struggles Of Mommy Guilt was originally published on hellobeautiful.com
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