Mom guilt and FOMO pressure are so strong for mothers everywhere. This phrase is something to tell yourself when you start getting confused.
I love hearing what other mothers do for inspiration and wisdom. I don’t, however, love feeling guilty, inadequate, or sub par.
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It’s usually us that makes ourselves feel guilty, inadequate or sub-par. I recently read a quote that I believe will help us shed some of the guilt and pressure we put ourselves under.
Other people’s problems are not your problems
Just because someone else is bothered by a certain behavior in their home, doesn’t mean you have to be.
Let’s talk about some gray areas and how to shed unnecessary mom guilt.
I believe that most mom guilt doesn’t come from the blatantly obvious problems…
Obviously, there will be times when something is a problem even if we pretend it isn’t (like the effect of consistently eating unhealthy foods).
“It’s only a problem if it’s a problem to you” deals not with the black and white situations in life, but instead with the areas where we may be heaping on extra burdens.
So, in what ways can we use this phrase to help us shed some of the burdens off our shoulders? Let’s hash it out!
There are 4 areas of your life to lose the mom guilt…
So many mother’s fall into a comparison trap when it comes to raising children. It goes without saying that there is more than one way to care for a baby.
Let’s evaluate 5 areas that I feel mom’s fall into mom guilt and how to use the life changing phrase- “It’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you.”
#1 How you feed is up to you
First of all, understand that other mothers love to offer “helpful” advice about feeding.
Secondly, you need to know that’s it’s up to you! You can breastfeed or bottle feed. You can start rice cereal at 5 months or skip it and introduce solids at 7 months. There are many ways to feed your kids, and it’s okay to pick what suits you best.
I like to hear how others do it, and often use their experiences as examples or to problem-solve.
For example, if nursing on a schedule is causing you major stress, then do what works for you.
Take my case for example… all my babies have had fast metabolisms (as do my husband and myself)!
So… by 5 months they were sucking rice cereal down like a banana strawberry smoothie with coconut flakes! By 6 months they were eating more than I was. Okay… that’s a slight exaggeration (but only slightly).
- The truth is, hearing how someone else does something doesn’t mean you have to do that.
- Don’t feel guilty about doing it differently.
- You shouldn’t feel compelled to do what your neighbor does!
⭐ Eating or feeding habits are only a problem if they’re a problem for you.
#2 How you sleep train (or don’t)
In my research, I found that many women want their babies to sleep longer stretches. In fact, that may be why you found my blog in the first place!
For some, having a 6-month-old who wakes 4 times a night to feed is a problem. They get some tips, advice, and thoughts and then go make their own decision.
As discussed earlier, how you sleep train (or choose not to) is up to you! Don’t let the comparison of yourself to others trap you into a cycle of mom guilt about your baby’s sleeping habits.
If you co-sleep, are completely against cry-it-out, and don’t mind waking up multiple times to feed because you see it as bonding, then go on with it! If both you and your baby are content and fine with the arrangement, there’s nothing more to say.
⭐ Sleeping habits are a problem if they’re a problem for you.
#3 Discipline behaviors that matter to you
Some mothers will require or restrict certain behaviors that you won’t. On the flip side, some mother’s will be more flexible with their children’s behaviors.
Although both may seem “off” to you…everyone is different.
In my case, I am fairly sensitive to my physical environment. Because of this, I dislike loud noises, background music, or persistent sounds. I perceive this as negative. Therefore, I absolutely cannot stand whining and screaming.
Not because of a moral issue, but because my heart begins to beat out of my chest. When there’s too much noise all I want to run for the hills. I do everything I can to eradicate these noises.
Here’s my point…
- Just because something bothers me, doesn’t mean you have to have that tendency with your kids.
- Something that may be problematic for you, may not bother someone else.
- Take what you learn from someone, and use it as a resource if you need to.
- One key way to loose mom guilt is to realize that all mom’s will handle certain things differently…and that’s ok!
⭐ If the behavior is amoral and non-destructive, it’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you.
#4 How you structure your day
I write a lot about routine and schedules, and I firmly believe they work well in any home.
Do I think every home should have one? Well, only if you want one!
When it comes to strutting the day, some people are fine getting up at 5:30am (God have mercy on those kind souls), some are happy to go with the flow, and some like fairly detailed routines and structure.
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There’s no one size fits all.
You and a friend may do things completely different… and both raise well-adjusted happy children. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) there’s no guaranteed formula in parenting.
⭐ One thing is for sure, holding onto mom guilt doesn’t help anyones style of parenting.
And it’s a great way to get stretched too thin.
Practical advice about structuring your day…
- Your preferred schedule is not going to match exactly with anyone else’s in the world.
- Researching and getting advice is very helpful! Pick and choose what works for you. Try some things out…
- Don’t be afraid to be flexible. Different season’s of life require different things.
- Loose the mom guilt about keeping a schedule just like someone who looks like they “have it all together.”
- Just do what works for you!
⭐ If you are more stressed with a routine than without, don’t create a problem by trying to stick to one.
What actually works for you?
If you see what a friend does or read articles that talk about things you never thought of, the pressure and guilt can enter in.
Sometimes… this is a sign that change may need to happen. Sometimes it’s a sign of nothing.
When I begin to think, “Oh my goodness should I do that?”… I evaluate my feelings.
- Am I filled with peace and encouragement?
- Do I feel guilty and heavy?
Depending on how I answer… I will either implement that in my home or repeat this phrase….
It’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you…
Mom Problem Solving Worksheet
- pinpoint an issue
- draw out how it’s affecting you
- label what you don’t like about it
- determine areas of responsibility
- figure out how it’s showing up
- say what you’d rather happen
- brainstorm solutions