How to Let Go of Mom Guilt

How to Let Go of Mom Guilt | Baby Chick

How to Let Go of Mom Guilt

It used to seem as though there was nothing I could do to escape my feelings of anguish as a mom. No matter what the situation was, I felt guilty for doing anything that didn’t involve my child: whether it was going to work, spending time writing, cleaning the house, or even grabbing 30-minutes of “me time” here and there.

The guilt of being a modern mom seemed to weigh heavier than ever on me, and I let it bring me down more often than not. I said no to going to events and lunches with friends, turned my husband down more than once for date night, and skipped doing important things because I felt as though choosing to do those activities somehow made me a bad mom. I worried about everything, felt guilty for worrying too much, and then worried some more about whether or not I was doing enough worrying. I began to see motherhood as this scary venture that required I be present at all times rather than a fun adventure I was on with a new and developing little person.

It seemed as though this mom guilt would consume me and turn me (and my poor daughter) into a veritable hermit, never leaving the house, listening to “baby shark” and the Daniel Tiger theme song repeatedly, and eating whatever scraps were left over from my toddler’s meal.

How I Learned to Let Go of Mom Guilt

Understood My Duty to my Daughter

I was fortunate to have a friend willing to help me snap back to reality and step away from the guilt. My guilt seemed to peak when I was considering skipping a huge opportunity to travel for work, and my best friend saw it as an opportune time to intervene: “Imagine how your daughter will feel if she finds out you didn’t take every opportunity you could to better your career that you love,” she said as she laid it all out to me. She pointed out that in an age where women are doing more and being more while still being treated as less, it was my duty to my little girl to show her that work and life balance is possible, and that my dream of having a career did not have to conflict so directly with my dream of being a mama. I wanted to stamp my foot in protest and say something like feeding and caring for her at all times was my duty, but she read my mind and cut me off before I even started, saying that “pretty soon, she’s going to be watching and learning from you, and you can use this as a chance to show her that you should go after your dreams and goals.” Her reality check helped me create an action plan towards dropping my guilt and reclaiming my joy in motherhood and pursuit of what I enjoy outside of my daughter.

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Preparing for Baby Number Four!

Checked (Emotional) Baggage

I knew my thoughts towards motherhood stemmed from my own difficult relationship with my mother growing up: she loved me, of course, but she wasn’t what you’d call “hands-on.” She was less Marge Simpson or June Cleaver and more like the mom from Matilda—never wanting to be bothered by silly children with silly thoughts or feelings. I decided to be the antithesis of her if I could, and my tightly-wound and helicopter style of parenting was born the minute my daughter was. I somehow convinced myself that the amount of time I spent with my daughter directly equated to my incredible love for her. Thankfully, though, the rational side of me acknowledged that there are moms worldwide seeing their children for moments at a time as they go to work and provide for those children whom they love so dearly: time spent doesn’t have to be measured in quantity, but quality. It sounds so simplistic, but it made me realize that I am an active and involved mother who likes to make our time together count: it assured me that she won’t forget that as she grows.

Remembered Me Before Mom(me)

I have never known how to be still—while this is both good and bad, I realized I was accidentally teaching my daughter how to be complacent in this bubble I’d created for us. We had the same routine and the same patterns, because the mom guilt that accompanied “messing up” her schedule was too intense for me to ignore. I stopped going to most anything I was invited to, didn’t answer the phone past a certain hour, and even ditched my grandparents in favor of not derailing my girl’s bedtime by 10 minutes. Though my guilt was pretty extreme in some of these circumstances, it also forced me to look at the fact that I was getting burnt out. I hadn’t done something for and by myself in so long that I had forgotten what it was that I even liked to do before becoming a mom—and so I resolved to do at least two things per month (starting out with baby steps, y’all!) that would be fun or relaxing that did not include my daughter. It’s been a month in so far, and I honestly already feel like a better mom because of it.

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Celebrating My “Village”

Mom as the First Friend, Not the Only Friend

When my bff made a point to me that my daughter and I shouldn’t be the only friends or social interaction the other has, I had sudden visions of my poor, socially awkward daughter trying to navigate school and work and reality: and struggling to do so because I had monopolized her time. She loves me, of course, (because who doesn’t love their main food supply?) but that doesn’t mean I am the only person she should love or spend time with: her grandparents, cousins, aunts and godparents can teach her things I would never be able to. Why would I want her to miss out on these important and fun opportunities because I was too scared or guilty or worried?

It’s Good to Let Go a Bit

Since I’ve been working towards dropping the mom guilt, I’ve become more cognizant of the fact that my guilt stemmed from fear of missing out on something with my girl in the ways I did with my own mother. I’ve realized I am a lot more fun when I’m half as stressed out, and that a future where my daughter only loves or trusts me is not the best one for her to have. Part of this process has meant letting go of the control of being her one-and-only all the time: and that’s not to say I’m not still that for her most of the time, but relenting a bit has given her a whole new world of engaging and fun relationships. She and my husband go places together now, just the two of them, to encourage me to get back to the things I enjoy doing on a casual basis. Above all else, I’ve learned that feelings of guilt and anxiety and nervousness are part of the mothering process—but they shouldn’t be the main part. Letting go of the mama guilt has given me more joy and clarity than I could have hoped for, and makes me no less of a good mom because I’m not wrought with guilt or constantly breathing down her neck.

READ MORE
How I Overcame My Mommy Guilt
About the Author /

Old mom to a chocolate lab and new mom to a baby girl, former teacher and current higher education professional.

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Instagram post 18074272528164523 @debiandbebi wrote these words when she was a new mom and struggled with #postpartumdepression. She hopes to remind everyone that it is okay to struggle with being a new mom and that does not mean you don't love your baby. ❤️⁠
(quote by @debiandbebi)⁠
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#postpartum #mentalhealth #ppd #motherhood #selfcare #kindnessmatters #postpartumprogress #postpartumlife #newmom #newmotherhood #mommychick #babychick #depression #mentalhealthmatters
Instagram post 17863413055589017 When they wake up in the morning and give you that big grin . . . 😍 There is nothing sweeter.⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #goodmorning #happybaby #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
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📷: @cmon.mama⁠
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Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #selfcare #selfcaretoolbox #mumlife #mommylife #metime #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17974795027288980 Was he dreaming he was riding a bike last night escaping from wild animals?! OUCH! 🤕🚲⁠
📷: @themommyconfessions⁠
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Instagram post 18081610903134401 Praying that your toddler let's you get to sleep this weekend. 🙏💤⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17866776847554303 Above all else, let us teach them to be kind. 💗⁠
(quote: @mommywinetime)⁠
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Instagram post 17853200368708392 SURPRISE! A little shocked, a little tired, and a LOT BLESSED. Congrats, @sarah_lit! ❤️⁠
📷: @sarah_lit⁠
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Instagram post 17864808397574241 Pregnant and hungry all the time? Here are some great ideas to keep in the fridge when the hunger pains kick in! 🤰👍⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
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#placenta #lotusbirth #homebirth #midwife #midwifery #phsiologicThirdStage #delayedcordclamping #optimalcordclamping #waitforwhite #whatstherush #postpartum #birth #laboranddelivery #babychick #mommychick
Instagram post 17866964371538725 Stacks on stacks . . . of diapers. 😂 Can you relate?⁠
📷: @krayons.n.tequila⁠
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Instagram post 17852665306696124 With the holiday season upon us and moms trying to make everything magical for their families, remember to stop and take a moment to take care of you. ❤️ Have a hot cup of coffee, a long warm shower and some alone time. Communicate this with your partner not as a wish but as a necessity. We must take the time to take care of ourselves to better take care of them. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 18095239591099259 After holiday feasting . . . this baby gets me.⁠ 🤣
📷: unknown (DM for credit)
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Instagram post 17844162355818683 I think I had a little too much turkey . . . and pie. 😬🍗🥧 #leggingsforlife⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
📷: @madiford2 via Twitter⁠
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#pregnancy #pregnant #funnypregnancy #momtobe #pregnancylife #thanksgiving #mamatobe #turkeymama #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #thirdtrimester #preggo #pregnancyhelp #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick
Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
📷: @emilyshapaka⁠
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#thanksgiving #happythanksgiving #family #grateful #thankful #babychick⁣ #mommychick #blessed #gratitude #happy #thankyou #happiness #givethanks #turkey #holiday #love #turkeyday #holidays #baby #babyturkey
Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Repost: words and 📷 by @psychedmommy⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #newmom #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17862516742586656 Pass the rolls. Baby rolls, bread rolls, all the rolls.⁠ 😍🍞👶 #thanksgivingjokes 😜⁠
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Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #gratitude #thankful #mumlife #mommylife #mommychick #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #thanksgiving #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#flyingwithkids #travelwithkids #familytravel #travelingwithkids #kidsonplanes #travelpic #airplane #familyholiday #parenting #parenthood #firstflight #babytravels #motherhood #momlife #mumlife #mommychick #babychick #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣
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📷: Martiza Elizabeth on FB
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