It was an ordinary night. I came home from a ten-hour workday with crazy pressure. I was exhausted from work and needed some peaceful, loving, and relaxing time.
As soon as I opened the door, I saw the face of the person I love the most in this world – my three year old son. He ran to me, hugged me, and kissed me.
“Ahhh.. exactly what I needed,” – I thought to myself.
And then, just about ten seconds later, he started pulling me around the house because he wanted me to play with him. But I was drained, feeling so tired, I told him that I couldn’t play with him. Then right after that, something happened that I did not expect and certainly was not ready for. He hit me. I scolded him, and he cried.
My husband shook his head when he said, “He didn’t cry the whole day until now.” Immediately, I felt horrible. My son didn’t get to see me all day, and all he wanted was some attention from his mom, but instead of giving him some love, his mom yelled at him as soon as she walked through the door. His mom could put up with some nasty yelling and keep a fake smile for ten hours straight at work, but she refused to put up with him.
I said sorry to him while wiping his tears away. But I know I hurt him, and I felt guilty. I did a little bit of research, and I realized it’s not only me that has “mom guilt.” Mom guilt is a real thing and is very common.
Why do we experience mom guilt?
It’s because we are busy. When your child was a newborn, the whole world spun around their well-being, and there was nothing more important than their health, feeding schedules, diaper, sleep, and showering them with love. It was clear other people understood it. No one bothered you, or at least you didn’t really care about anything else. And your little one had all of your attention. But then the world started spinning. Life started to happen. Many things besides your little one need your attention, and if you don’t focus, the wheel will crack.
Then what we have left for our kids is a tired, exhausted mommy. It’s unfair. That’s when mom guilt hits us.
Mom guilt is causing more mom guilt
When you have mom guilt, maybe because you are stuck at work and cannot make it home to kiss your baby goodnight, you will lose focus on what you are doing.
Once you lose focus, you will need a longer time to complete whatever you have to do. And when you finally complete it, you blame yourself for consuming the time you should have given to your little one. And more mom guilt comes in.
How to deal with mom guilt so you can enjoy lives
While mom guilt can be a real motivator so that you can savor every moment you have with your baby, you must fix your mom guilt quickly and get your life running.
Here are some instant fixes you can do to deal with mom guilt.
Understand the reasons
Knowing what you are facing will help to find the solutions quickly. What causes your mom guilt?
If you have mom guilt because your job is too busy and you don’t spend enough time with your baby, then maybe it’s not the right time to go after another promotion. If you have mom guilt because you were upset toward your baby, then it’s time to learn to control your anger. Maybe when you feel like screaming, take a deep breath and walk away before coming back to your baby.
Know that your baby will only be a baby once and cannot retrieve lost time. If you put your baby behind other priorities, you need to have other plans to make it up for him. Maybe it is a weekend without work, a good walk in the park, or perhaps some bedtime stories. Tell your baby about the makeup plans and keep your promises.
You have a lot on your plate, I know.
You are tired, I know.
You are not a robot, I know.
So don’t be too hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can do, and that is all that matters. And remember to tell yourself that often.
There is an affirmation that I love from Louise Hay. “I love and accept myself. I approve of myself. I am doing the best that I can do.”
Say this often, and you will feel the change.
Mom guilt happens all the time
It is not wrong. It means you are aware. And once you are aware, you opt for a change. When it happens, you know what to do to fix it quickly and get your life back on track.
You’ve got this!
Mai Pham is a proud mom of an amazing boy. She can talk all day about her son if anyone has the time to listen. However, life is not always smooth. She has ups and downs, learning a new thing every day. She loves to talk, but she is the one you would go for if you need a listener. Sometimes she would hide in the bathroom for way too long. Her son’s kisses and a good book would make her day. She started her blog, Mommy Instinct, to share her experience as a mom. She believes that all moms have what it takes to raise good kiddos when they trust their instinct.