Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mommy Guilt; Facing My Imperfections As A Mother


And we are back with week 3 of the One Year and Beyond Link Up!  If you missed them, the last two week's topics have been Taming The Tantrums, and Weaning Your Baby!

This week's topic is a little more sensitive for me as we are tackling the topic, Dealing With Mommy Guilt.
I actually don't even know where to start with this topic. I dealt with mommy guilt even before my daughter was born! If I drank caffeine, didn't get enough sleep or did too much while pregnant with her, I would stress about what a bad mother I was being!
It's a terrible cycle to get caught up in, really.

I'm not here to tell you what you should and shouldn't feel guilty about. That really is between you, the Lord, your husband and child! However, after being a mother for over two years now (months in gestation included), I am of the opinion that there are two types of mommy guilt: rational and irrational.

Rational mommy guilt stems from something that you really have done poorly as a mother. Yes, as hard as we try to be perfect for our children, we all make mistakes as mothers. If you are feeling guilty that you haven't spent enough time with your child that day, determine whether or not that is true! If it is true that you have been neglecting your child, then maybe guilt is the wake up call for you to do something about it! Maybe you need to change something in your schedule, give up something less important than your child, and re prioritize. I know I have to do that so very often! My daughter is more important than my dreams, agenda, and plans for the day. Even though at times it may require sacrificing something that I love or that is important to me, there is nothing worth neglecting my child over. Nothing.

Irrational guilt often is a result of comparing yourself with what another mother is doing. Maybe you aren't doing the cool Pinterest crafts or teaching your toddler how to play the piano like that other mom on Facebook, and you start to feel guilty for it. That guilt isn't founded in reality. Just because you aren't mothering like everyone else doesn't make you a bad mother! 

So much of our guilt stems from what other people think of us rather than reality. That is the irrational guilt. Look at your own child, determine their needs and meet those needs as their mother. Your child's needs have nothing to do with what other mothers our doing.

Mommy guilt is dangerous because it can actually make a good mom make poor decisions. For example, if I'm feeling guilty for spending too much time blogging instead of playing with my daughter, I am less likely to discipline her for acting out because I know that will make me feel worse. I may even give her something I know she would really like, but may not be best for her just because it makes me feel less guilty.

That mentality might make me feel better, but it is harmful for my daughter. I have noticed how easy it is to make a decision regarding my daughter because of how it makes me feel. I will pick her up because I feel bad, not necessarily because it's what is best for her in that moment. Mommy guilt only compounds that. 

So I know it's not as easy as 3 steps, but here are 3 questions I ask myself when I'm starting to feel guilty.

Is this guilt a result of comparing myself with someone else?
Is what I am feeling guilty about true? (like really not spending enough time with your child)
Is there something I need to change?

After determining the root of my guilt, I either discard it as irrational and misplaced guilt or I take the necessary steps to deal with the issue causing my guilt.

It's not always easy to address, but mommy guilt is a real thing and needs to be talked about and worked through before it takes a toll on your relationship with your child!
Here are some other posts I've written on the topic of comparing ourselves to other moms! I can't wait to read what you all have to say on this topic as well.


From Here to EternityWords About Waverly
my delicious adventure Photobucket
My Delicious Adventure                  The Life Of Faith
Running From The LawThe Olive Tree
         

May 8:          Taming the Temper Tantrums
May 15:        Weaning from Breastfeeding or From Formula to Cow’s Milk 
May 22:        Dealing with Mommy Guilt
May 29:        When People Share Their Opinions and How to Lovingly Handle it
June 5:         Traveling with your Toddler
June 12:       How to get your toddler to eat their veggies…or their food at all
June 19:       How to make time to blog in the busyness of motherhood
June 26:       Bedtime Battles (nap or bedtime)


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Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

6 comments:

  1. Such an excellent post. I never thought to split it up between rational and irrational. That makes a lot of sense. Love the advice.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sara! As I was thinking through how I was going to address this topic, I realized how some of my guilt is actually because I'm guilty. Not a fun realization but it was eye-opening to me as well :)
      Thanks for the encouragement!

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  2. Great post. Great breakdown of how we should examine it to determine how to face it and handle it.
    Angela @ Time with A & N

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  3. LOVE this! The three questions are the perfect way to get me back on track when I'm having my moments! The mental aspect of being a mom can be SO difficult sometimes! It's not even fair... but it's totally worth it!

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    Replies
    1. Oh absolutely! Being a mother introduces so many new emotions and we are totally unprepared for how to deal with them. We can all help each other when it comes to this topic :)

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