Good moms do certain things for their kids. Bad moms don’t. Or, at least that’s what we’ve been programmed to believe. The sad part—moms have bought into mom guilt, society perpetuates this concept, and the culture of mom guilt sits securely in place. But, it doesn’t have to be like this–it’s time to ditch the mom guilt for good!
Mom guilt is toxic, and it can break the best of us. That’s the truth.
So, what’s the fix? How do we rid ourselves of the toxin?
Exposing mom guilt for what it really is can take its power away.
Mom Guilt: The Worst Lie of All Time
There are endless ways in which we make ourselves feel like shit for not being “enough,” and this is particularly true in motherhood.
When it comes to working mom guilt, research suggests our own childhood is the source of our unrealistic expectations regarding motherhood. But, our culture and society also play a huge role in perpetuating this concept that moms should be all, do all and sacrifice everything for our kids. In addition, it’s considered a “luxury” and even selfish to prioritize your own needs above (or right up there with) your kids’ needs.
This social norm impacts ALL moms, working or not, single or married.
Shameless Mom: Guilt
One of my favorite podcasts these days is The Shameless Mom Academy Podcast with Sara Dean. On the topic of mom guilt, Shameless Mom Academy Podcast Episode #327 “Mom Guilt is a Lie” is spot on. She gets down and dirty and dissects Mom Guilt as a lie perpetrated on mothers by our society.
Sara Dean hits the nail on the head when she says, “Mom guilt is a social construct in which women are indoctrinated to think they should feel bad for ever prioritizing themselves, their identity, their careers, or their happiness over their kids.”
BOOM. I know, right??
(BTW: If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, you must pop over to her website and check her out. I’m telling you—if you’re looking for a little motivation in your life, then Sara Dean can whip your ass into shape. She’ll have you on the ditch-the-mom-guilt bandwagon, for sure!)
Have your cake & bake it, too
Achieve more. Do more. Bust that glass ceiling—but also make sure your baking skills are on point and don’t forget to attend all your kids’ practices to see how they’re improving. Do. It. All.
The worst part—we buy into it: hook, line and sinker! We Pinterest the crap out of the perfect birthday decorations, we break our necks to get to every practice, and we bake and bake till that thing comes out perfect.
Because we all drank the Kool-Aid. We all act like these goals are achievable, do-able, realistic even. We’ve equated acknowledging the difficulty of doing it all with weakness and failure. So we endure.
It’s like being in a pilates class week #1 and dying quietly inside—because you know you’re not going to be able to move tomorrow. But you tough it out. You don’t want to be the one who taps out first.
Fear of Failure
We’ve been conditioned to believe that moms are the ones that should sacrifice anything at any time. It’s by design. Society has anointed mothers as the caretakers. And apparently, with that title comes the endless role of martyrdom. So, who are we to balk in the face of social norms? We abide.
Moms continue to deprive ourselves of self-care, socialization, personal time, dreams, passion and ultimately happiness in its many forms. We keep pushing our needs away as though they are a sign of weakness, or failure.
I need help. I can’t do this all by myself. This is too much for one person to handle. I need a break. Nope, we don’t say these things.
One more way to twist the screws: if you’re the black sheep and DON’T have mom guilt–then you don’t love your kids. That’s the way this whole thing stays afloat. If you manage to avoid mom guilt, then society dictates that “you must not care about your kids as much as I care about mine.” What a MIND FUCK.
It’s so beyond time to set this right and ditch the mom guilt, ladies.
Yet, there’s a slow and steady rising up against this idea. You hear it with your close friends. You see memes about it all over FB and Pinterest. There is a KNOWING that this dynamic is f’d up.
But, there’s not yet a full scale de-masking of this BS social norm. So there the elephant sits.
We have become so afraid of failing (or being perceived as a failure) at this concept of motherhood that we refuse to acknowledge we can’t “do it all.” The worst part is that by doing this WE become participants in keeping the myth alive. So, we’re also giving oxygen to this myth.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weaknesses.”– Brene Brown
Ditch the Mom Guilt for Good!
I don’t think ditching the guilt is as hard as we make it out to be. I think that if we can bring it out into the light and examine the idea of mom guilt and WHERE it comes from, then it loses so much of its power.
Ultimately, it’s just an idea. An idea that says things are this way, and they should stay this way even if it deprives you of your happiness. Well, that’s BS.
In the end, it really comes down to whether or not you feel like you are enough for your child. Whether the love you give is enough. Whether the time you spend is enough. And, whether or not the example you are demonstrating to your child is enough.
If you’re able to say, “I’m not perfect, but I’m enough,” then that’s really all we need to extinguish this construct. Because if you’re brave enough to speak your truth, then others will see strength in your vulnerability–not weakness.
And courage is contagious–it’ll spread like wildfire if you just light it up!