If you suffer from a case of mom guilt, may this post bring you encouragement.
I decided to lie in bed, look up at the ceiling, and think.
Just like women from the movies.
I put on comfy pajamas, got under warm covers, and thought about everything going wrong in my life. What can I say? I’m a realist.
Mainly, though, I was thinking about my Mom Guilt…
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What's in this post...
Where was this mom guilt coming from?
Why did I feel so out of sorts lately? Why were the kids all acting like something was Off and why did I seem on the verge of Mommy Tantrums so often?
I was doing a pretty good job of keeping a lid on my feelings in front of the kids, but mentally, the feelings were taking their toll.
Was it change of routine?
Lack of sleep?
Was my stress seeping over into our daily family life?
I had no idea.
So… I did what I normally do when I’m stressed about something- I buy a ton of books and try to find a solution.
After reading the first chapter of the first book I purchased, I immediately knew why my Mom Guilt had been rearing its ugly head. I now knew why some of my kids seemed a little distant and others seemed to be crying out for attention at every turn.
Lack of Connection…
The holiday season had been wonderful, lots of time together. Then, the New Year began with a bang and we hadn’t quite caught up.
Rush here, rush there, and before I knew it… I hadn’t been making an effort to keep my children’s hearts close.
I was worried I was screwing them up,
worried they would never get along, and
worried they’d leave home, never talk again, and not come visit at Christmas.
Finally, I was worried about all the things that result from the one thing that was lacking in recent weeks…
Great relief comes from knowing what the problem is!
4 Ways To Connect And Overcome Mom Guilt
As soon as I was able to pinpoint the issue, finding solutions became much simpler…
Whereas, before, I’d been spinning in a stress cycle… now I was able to break out and figure out how to help every child feel more connected and safe in our day to day.
Here’s my strategy:
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1) Connect With Statements, Not Questions
If you want to immediately connect with your child, the easiest way is to make a comment, not a question. Asking questions can make kids feel on the spot, particularly shy kids.
Instead of putting kids on the defensive, get down to their level and make them feel comfortable.
Here are some example statements:
- “Oh, you have a truck in your hand!”
- “Your shoes light up.”
- “You’re eating a banana. It looks like it tastes good.”
It’s nearly impossible to daze out and become absent when we are commenting on what’s happening in the here and now.
And… when you see more and more meaningful interactions with your children throughout the day, the mom guilt fades away on its own.
Pull out these fun connecting questions to share some laughs with your precious ones!
Use them at:
- meal times
- car rides
- as a “calm down” trick
- for dinner time conversation
- or any time the day is getting chaotic or
- you need a reset to connect.
2) Put The Phone Down
It is normal to occasionally want to mentally escape. But, it’s unhealthy to continually be escaping into your phone. Put the phone down…
There, I said it.
It can be so overwhelming to take care of little ones all day. There are so many messes to clean up, toys to put away, mouths to feed, diapers to change and on and on and on...
I remember falling into my bed at 8:45 p.m. and wondering how I ever stayed up past midnight.
In those intense moments throughout the day, it’s so easy to reach for the phone.
But in reality…. 20 minutes later… you are pulled back to reality with needy children, a still messy house, and all those same feelings of stress!
That’s because reaching for the smartphone does not take away stress, it only increases it! The jury is no longer out. The research is overwhelmingly in. Smartphones – while useful in many areas – can actually cause us more stress than they relieve.
Is this you? Don’t worry…
Don’t end the day with anxiety, stress, and a full mind.
This evening brain dump journal sheet will help you get in a peaceful mindset so you too can sleep peacefully through the night.
3) Have Regular Individual Time
We know spending time with our children individually is valuable. Instead of waiting until you have a few free hours and childcare for the other siblings, start with something as simple as 15 minutes.
15 Minutes can make a real difference…
- Let your child decide what to do for those 15 minutes and day, and the next time, you decide.
- Give your child the undivided attention they have been craving.
- When you begin interacting with your child regularly without distraction, the connection becomes stronger and reconnecting becomes easier
- Before you know it, the mom guilt you feel naturally subsides.
If regular 1:1 time helps those feelings of guilt subside, you know they were trying to lead you to more connection. Listen to them.
4) Make Time For Yourself Too
If you are desperate for time alone and then – when you have it – consumed by guilt you aren’t at home… alone time is what you need.
Work on the connection you have with your children and then you will feel more relaxed at the end of the day. Furthermore, when you sense your children are happy, it will be easier for you to take some guilt free time for yourself.
This will allow you to take time for yourself and know – deep down – that it’s okay.
Here’s what works for me…
- Before I take some time for myself, I spend some quality time with my kids.
- I get down at their level, comment on what they’ve been up to, and routinely spend one on one time with each.
- Then, I plan something that I enjoy doing for myself (this doesn’t include hiding in the bathroom with my phone).
Once you get the balance down, the mom guild will fade. You’ll find yourself feeling more connected with your children and you’ll be able to enjoy some time doing what you want as well!
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The Cycle to Avoid
If you find yourself in the cycle below, it’s not the end of the world. You’ve got this momma! Grab ahold of the time you have with your kiddos and try the 4 steps mentioned above!
- You feel stressed and overwhelmed throughout the day and mentally escape to make it through.
- The heart ties with your children suffer a bit which causes you guilt.
- Mom guilt leads into worry and more stress
- SO… then you need to escape to avoid feeling those feelings.
- Now, you’re so consumed with escaping and avoiding stress you’re even less present with the kids.
Remember this: It all starts with connection.
I was getting crushed by mom guilt…
After going through a particularly stressful season (my father passing away, going under contract on a house, preparing to renovate and move, etc.) I found myself reaching for my phone Over and Over and Over.
Even while I did it, I hated it.
I’d go into my room to zone out for a few minutes then – when a tiny human came with a real need – I felt resentful they were interrupting my Instagramming or Facebooking or Houzzing or whatever I was doing.
I finally had a moment of clarity. The truth was, I actually did not enjoy this time on my smartphone. I was just so stressed I wanted to escape from reality. But I did NOT want to pull away from my children.
I could not allow myself to become a present but absent parent.
So I did the hard work – which turned out to be easier than I thought – and found freedom from my phone.
I started to enjoy the little moments again, started to feel alive and out of my head and into my own actual life.
- 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