The R+F Blog

Understanding Mom Guilt

Understanding Mom Guilt

What is Mom Guilt?

The looming feeling of guilt that you aren’t doing enough as a Mom, or what you are doing isn’t good enough. The repetitive cycle of disappointment, confusion, even frustration that your parenting skills aren’t up to par with your (or others) expectations.

As gloomy as those statements sound, they’re the very real feelings all mothers experience in some shape or form. A feeling so common, it’s even been given a name, ‘Mom guilt.’

How to overcome it:

The thing is – there is no ‘by the book’ method to parenting. Different challenges will come and go, and learning to understand or overcome them is all part of your parenting journey. There’s no need to find a quick fix or compare yourself to other parents. In fact, you might try a few things before finding a solution that’s right for you.

And while there’s no shortage of resources and advice on the Internet, we’ve summarised 5 simple tips to understanding Mum Guilt.  Even if you only try out a few of these ideas, we hope this helps you find your feet again.

  1. Be kind to yourself
  2. Surround yourself with a support network
  3. Make time for self care
  4. Create a care plan
  5. Let go of the ideal

Be kind to yourself

Before you dive deep into finding solutions, take a step back and give yourself time to regroup. This first step is important for setting yourself up for success.

Take stock of what you have, why you’re doing this and give yourself credit for the incredible work you’ve done so far.

Part of being kind to yourself is prioritising self-care. Especially with a newborn, it can feel like there is simply no time for the simple parts of your daily routine – such as personal care, exercise, socialising or time on your own. Giving yourself the time and space to be the best version of yourself will only positively impact your ability as a parent.

While it can be confronting to admit feelings or guilt or shame, it can be extremely liberating. Validating these feelings isn’t a sign of defeat, but helps you understand the areas affecting you most and what you need to prioritise. Sharing your experience with close friends, family or your GP should help you rationalise the thoughts whirling through your head. You might even find short term solutions that help lighten your load!

Surround yourself with a support network

Especially in the postpartum period, your support network is important. Ask for help.

Early parenthood can be lonely. Your previous way of life has dramatically changed – you’ve taken on the responsibility of a newborn and are experiencing both physical and emotional change. While it’s okay to feel this way, know that you’re the only one going through similar emotions. Good and bad days will come in waves, and

This is why a support network is so important. It can be as formal or informal as you like, such as an antenatal group, healthcare professional or just a few friends and family you have on speed dial for when you need a baby sitter or a some light relief!

Don’t be afraid of calling on your network when you need it.

The best thing for parents to do is to let it go! A new baby doesn’t care if there is laundry on the floor or dishes in the sink

Make time for self care

While finding time to do anything other than take care of your newborn is far easier said than done, it’s an important way to manage the stress of new parenthood.

Find some time for a friend or family member to take care of the baby so you can have a moment to yourself. Recharge your batteries and come back refreshed and ready to go. Plus, you’ll be amazed how much good it can do you to turn off parenting brain for even an hour!

Create a care plan

Organise a schedule with your partner so it’s clear who’s taking care of the baby, day and night. A plan can help you schedule breaks for each parent, and prevent a lot of frustration at 3:00am.

Let go of the ideal

Prioritise what’s important to you and your family at the moment. Sometimes trying to do it all can be overwhelming, and it can feel like you’re getting nothing done!

Many new parents feel creeping guilt about all of the tasks they neglect when taking care of a new baby. Managing housework, keeping up with a diet and exercise routine, or maintaining relationships with friends and family suddenly all become more difficult with a newborn.

The best thing for parents to do is to let it go. A new baby doesn’t care if there is laundry on the floor or dishes in the sink, and they certainly don’t care if you haven’t worked out this week. Complete these tasks as is comfortable, functional, and fulfilling for you, but don’t pressure yourself.

Give yourself the grace to be a little behind on things right now, and focus on what’s important – the health and happiness of your family. The special moments of early parenthood will fly by, so make the most of them.

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