Here’s How Letting Go Of Guilt Will Make You Happier

As moms, we often feel guilty about one thing or another.

When I wanted to continue my education after having my first child, I felt guilty for leaving my kids at home with a nanny. When I started working, I felt guilty for not spending enough time with my three girls. When my 11-month-old fell and had a concussion while my nanny decided to watch TV in our bedroom, I blamed myself for being selfish and putting myself first before my children.

When we ordered in food for dinner when I felt exhausted and depressed because taking care of three kids is extremely exhausting (and yes rewarding too…) I blamed myself for being a bad mom who couldn’t even make dinner for her family. I even went on to tell myself, “What would my mom think of that?” and I came up with a whole story in my head of how horrible I was because I wasn’t a full-time stay at home mom.

There are many reasons why I thought the topic of mom’s guilt and self-blame is a good topic for Mother’s Day. After I met with a mom client who was depressed and heard what she had to say about being a mom, I was convinced that this was the perfect topic to write about.

Silvia is a mom of two boys whose dream is to be able to return to work as an interior decorator. She did that for 10 years prior to having her first child, and she tried working on a few projects after having kids but her boys and her husband weren’t happy that she wasn’t home. Her guilt and self-hatred for leaving her boys with a nanny made her decide that she would not work until her boys were older. When I asked Silvia how she felt about being a stay at home mom she said, “I feel like the days just go by and I am not doing anything meaningful. All my friends work and have careers and I am one of the only 40 years old I know that does nothing. I feel like I am nothing.”
I was very sad to hear Silvia telling herself all these negative things about being a mom. I explained to Silvia how her negative talk affects how she feels and why she behaves in ways that she wants to change (sleeping a lot, bingeing and not engaging with her boys and husband).

I asked Silvia what she wanted to do and she was certain that she wanted to stay home with her boys, ages 3 and 6, for at least two more years before she was going to go back to work.I also asked Silvia to tell herself that and be secure with how she says it to herself and others.

Silvia said, “I am a proud stay at home mom and the CEO of the Klien Family.” We both laughed and Silvia’s homework for the week was to pay attention to what she was telling herself and write it down. Guilt and self-blame are very popular with moms, and once you let go of them, you enjoy motherhood a lot more.

I found a great article that talks about dealing with the guilt we have as mothers and actually paints guilt in a positive light. We can use our guilt to channel it into making changes and actually get us to do something about the feelings tugging on our conscience. However, as the article goes on to say, most of us use our guilt in negative ways and allow it to take over our lives.

I think the most important thing is that moms understand they are in control of what they are telling themselves. Guilt and blame result from moms telling themselves all kinds of stories. Even if the stories are right, we can use the feelings of guilt and self-blame as a motivator to help us change the story.

I’ve found it is SO important for moms to use each other as a support system. Talking about your feelings of guilt surrounding motherhood helps you to realize you aren’t alone. Comparing yourself to other women, on the other hand, will just breed those negative feelings. I’d love to hear about the kind of guilt you often feel as a mom! We can use my Facebook page or the comments section here to start the conversation!

Here are just a few things I hear moms blame themselves for:

Being tired

Needing “me” time

Not being able to be two places at once

Having to work

Not being able to always spend equal time with each child

Not being as “fun” as other moms

Forgetting things — it happens

Letting someone else handle the meals

Getting frustrated

LW Wellness Network provides emotional and mental help for those who are struggling from stress or depressions, don’t hesitate to ask. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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