Every single mom faces “mommy guilt”. It is a universal thing, circumstances don’t matter. Being a mom is a tough job and we never feel like we are doing it right. This is true for working moms, stay at home moms, and I would guess even the empty-nesters struggle with guilt still!
I think that in some ways, the mommy guilt is a good thing. It keeps us moving forward. It helps to block complacency and motivates us to constantly try to better ourselves. This is good. I’m very grateful for guilt some days because I really can do better for my kids (and my husband)!
However, when guilt leads to depression, shame, criticism, and feelings of worthlessness, there is no value in guilt. When I’m constantly beating myself up for not being good enough, every aspect of my being suffers. If my thoughts are overwhelmed with how I’m not doing anything right, I get stuck in a place where I just throw up my hands and refuse to do anything. Guilt that doesn’t motivate is harmful and dangerous and has no place in our lives.
Avoiding this kind of guilt is easier said than done. My inner voice can constantly find ways to tear me down if I’m not careful. It takes a constant effort to silence the negative inner voice and replace it with one that is positive, uplifting, and encouraging. I’m so much more motivated when my confidence is high. I am a great mom when I believe that I’m a great mom. Life is so much more fun when I’m proud of the person that I am. This doesn’t just happen by being a great, confident, fun person, it happens when we intentionally focus our thoughts away from the negative and onto the positive.
Whenever you begin struggling with the weight of mommy guilt, I challenge you to pause and think of 3 ways your current situation is a blessing. Stop the thoughts that tell you that you’re not good enough, stop the thoughts that tell you that you can’t, stop thoughts that tell you that you are failing and think about 3 good things.
This isn’t an attempt to “positive think” our way out of difficult situations. This is an attempt to notice the good. There is always good in every situation, but sometimes we forget. Sometimes the hard days make the good difficult to see. But whatever you focus on, expands. When we only notice our failures, our problems, and our long distance from our goals and dreams, those failures, problems, and the distance can only grow. But when we change our focus to notice the beauty, the gift of each moment, when we notice the distance we have come, and the obstacles we have overcome, we begin to realize that good has the power to grow.
You are a good mom. You make good choices every day. You grow stronger, better, and wiser with each new experience. Stop focusing on all the ways your life could be better and notice the things that already are. Change your negative thoughts of failure and inadequacy into thoughts of thanksgiving, gratefulness, and blessing.
Change your perspective; it really can change your life.