As a working mom, it can be challenging to juggle the demands of work and family life. Often, we can feel guilty for not being able to do everything we want and prioritize our own needs. But guilt can consume you. It can be exhausting in itself to the point of leading to burn out. For this reason, it’s important to let go of mom guilt and prioritize self-compassion instead.
What exactly is mom’s guilt?
Mom guilt is the feeling of shame or anxiety experienced when you feel like you are not doing enough for your kids or your family in general. It’s a common experience, but it can be debilitating if left unchecked. Mom guilt prevents moms from taking care of themselves and can lead to greater overwhelm and stress.
When I returned to work, I would often feel mom guilt (and still do now). But I recognize when it’s happening and remind myself of my why. I remind myself what lessons I am both teaching and showing my kids. And then I say some positive affirmation. That helps!
Check out these blog posts after this:
- The 1st step in self-defining balance: self-care
- The 2nd step in self-defining balance: productivity
- The 3rd step in self-defining balance: accept support
- 40 self-care ideas for working moms
Why is self-compassion as a working mom important?
Self-compassion is the practice of treating oneself with kindness, care, and understanding. Oh, how important this is for us working moms. In the process you recognize that we all make mistakes or just simply can’t get to everything we want and that it’s okay to be imperfect.
For working moms, self-compassion can help alleviate the pressure to be perfect and to let go of mom guilt. We often feel like we have to be doing all things – work, time with kids, house tidy, dinner, strong communication with partner, family and friends and time for yourself. Self-compassion tells you it’s okay if not everything is done, all the time.
It can also lead to better self-care, increased resilience, and greater overall well-being.
How to let go of mom guilt and prioritize self-compassion:
Below I share 5 ways you can let go and make a change when you feel mom guilt trying to take over to the point of leaving you stressed and overwhelmed.
In different ways, I’ve encountered all of these. I have always been focused on my career but wanted to raise a family – I told myself I can do it all – and I can. But there’s a way to do it without feeling like you have to do all things by yourself at all times, hold in all those negative feelings where you cry and dislike your day before it even starts. You can enjoy this journey.
- Acknowledge your feelings: It’s important to recognize your feelings of guilt without judging yourself for having them. They will happen – it’s okay. Simply acknowledging your feelings can help you to start to let go of them. Sometimes we can’t even do this – and that is tough because we don’t acknowledge that something needs to change.
- Reframe your thoughts: When you notice thoughts of guilt or self-criticism, try reframing them in a more compassionate way. For example, instead of thinking “I’m a bad mom for missing my child’s play,” reframe it to “I’m doing the best I can and it’s okay to prioritize work sometimes.” You can even do an activity with things that commonly pop up and ways you can talk more positively when/ if it happens.
- Practice self-care: Prioritizing self-care body focused is an essential part of self-compassion. Make sure to take breaks, get enough sleep, eat healthily, and move around regularly. When you take care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to handle the demands of work and family life.
- Set realistic expectations: It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and your family. You can’t do everything perfectly, and that’s okay. Focus on what’s most important and let go of the rest. This will require you to take inventory of what you have going on and what falls within what’s realistic to do and not do.
- Seek support: You don’t have to go at this alone. It’s okay to ask for help and support when you need it. Whether it’s asking your partner to help with household chores or seeking the advice of a therapist or counselor, seeking support can help alleviate feelings of guilt and stress. The online support has also been super helpful to me.
Navigating self-compassion as a working mom
Letting go of mom guilt and prioritizing self-compassion is not easy, but it’s essential for working moms who want to achieve a better work-life balance. Remember work life balance is a feeling identified by YOU, no one else. So when you are proactively working on self-compassion then you are creating a pathway of balance in YOUR life.
I know how easy it is to be hard on ourselves. But you are doing the best you can and your kids love you.