A Mother’s Guilt

No mother wants it….but every mother has it in some way or another. So the question remains “how do we overcome mother’s guilt?” It’s not an easy solution and anyone who says they have found the perfect solution should immediately book themselves on the Oprah Winfrey Show because the entire world needs to know what they know.

As a mother of two beautiful children, a devoted wife and business woman, I can share my personal learnings on how to combat those guilty feelings that crop up about a million times per day (ok, I am exaggerating, but it feels that way sometimes). I don’t profess to have all the answers (although I would still welcome a guest spot on the Oprah Winfrey Show). All I can do is share with you how I choose to interact with my two children and husband when I start to experience “mother’s guilt”.

Guilt can transpire from many different situations….working too much, not working enough, not spending enough quality time with your kids, not spending enough quality time with your hubby and the list goes on and on.

When I start to feel those pangs of guilt I actually stop to assess the situation and I ask myself three critical questions:

  • The first question is “What is my priority right at this moment, what is critical and what can be saved for a different time?”.
  • Then once I have prioritized the situation I ask myself the second question “am I doing everything within my power to make this the best possible situation for everyone?”
  • Finally I ask myself “What support resources can I leverage to make this situation easier on everyone?”

Don’t get me wrong….I don’t take a “time-out” and sit on the couch every day to ponder these questions. Who has time for that? The process of assessing the situation is actually quite quick and all done in my head (no pencil, pen or crayon required). It’s just a quick checklist to make sure that I am doing everything I can to make the situation right. After I answer those three questions I feel absolutely confident that I am doing the best for my family at that time with the resources I have access too.

The three question assessment is good for the smaller events like deciding to take your child for a walk vs. finishing that work document that’s due in 3 hours. The assessment process is also good for the larger, life altering situations like “should I return to the work force?” type decisions.

When I talk about leveraging support I am alluding to the fact that moms don’t ask for help as much as they should. I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself with a support structure that includes parents, family, friends and child care to help make things easier on everyone. For instance, if your child really wants to go for a walk and you absolutely have to submit that work document to your boss within the hour….why not ask a neighbor or a grandparent to take your child for you. That way everyone wins.

Well, that’s my two cents on overcoming “A Mother’s Guilt”. What do you think….is my advice Oprah worthy?

Please share with us your tips and tricks on overcoming Mother’s Guilt…..

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6 Responses

  1. I like it, as long as you and your own needs and wants are also included in the “everyone” in steps two and three.

  2. It’s so comforting to be reminded that we all share the daily guilt and mixed emotions that weigh on us as we make simple decision like going from one room to another in our own home (seriously that’s how guilty i’ve been feeling lately). Currently with a newborn (my second), life has been riddled with emotions balancing two kids and working at home. My tip is be flexible. It’s pretty much mandatory these days but it’s so important not to get down on yourself because your day didn’t go as planned. Ask yourself the priority questions and let yourself re-arrange your plans, not only around what’s most important, but around your emotions as well. If you’re having an “i’m a bad mom because i work too much” day, then push the deadline and go to your kids library class instead of sending her with your nanny. Be flexible for yourself and around what you need – not just what you think your child needs at any given moment. This also applies to choosing work over the library class if that’s what will fulfill you more that day.

  3. Sounds like a good theory. my problem is I’m always chasing my tail…and never seem to have time to think things through. Guess I need to rearrange my priorities a little.

  4. A great article and I’ve even linked to it!

    http://carrigansjoy.blogspot.com/2009/12/life-of-working-mom.html

  5. I think the guilt kicks in as soon as you fall pregnant! You just need to learn to live with it, as you say, and make sure you speak to others (or blog about it) and realise you’re not alone. But I do think that happy mothers make happy children, so you need to make sure you look after yourself too….

  6. […] find a better solution that this. And then that’s when God graced my day with this article, A Mother’s Guilt. The article touches on priorities, giving my all in the moment I’m in, and asking for help. […]

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