You shouted at your kid, and now you’re feeling bad about it. Your meeting took more time than expected and you could not attend your kid’s PTM, and you are feeling guilty about it now. Why try to tick all the boxes as a mother? Why are you being hard on yourself, and thus, on your child as well?
Mom guilt, to be honest, has become a part of every mother’s life now. Mom guilt stems from what ‘should’ be happening right now. It stems from unrealistic posts on social media about perfect healthy breakfast for your kid, Montessori activities you should be doing with your kid, pressure from society and/or family. And when this ‘guilt’ starts interfering with how you are as a person – it becomes a vicious circle of wanting to do things you can’t and ending up frustrated. Some amount of guilt that propels you to change the habits that are clearly not good (like letting your child binge on processed food when cranky), it is a win-win. But otherwise, it is harmful.
How to break the cycle of mom-guilt?
Don’t set unrealistic standards for yourself
Trust your decisions and actions without setting an unrealistic standard for yourself. Whether you are a working or a stay-at-home mom, you cannot do it all. Good enough, and not perfect, is best for your child and you. Focus on having a good connection with your child rather than keeping the house in perfect order or making that perfect paratha. I would rate sharing a cuddle more than keeping your house spic and span.
Before the morning madness begins, create a to-do list for the day. It will help you remain focussed, and manage your time effectively. Of course, there will be lapses due to unforeseen circumstances, but you will not catch yourself wasting time scrolling on Instagram or social media.
Ask for help
Do not refrain from asking for help from people around you – grandparents, parents, neighbours, friends, househelps. The more you delegate, more time you will have for your personal and professional duties.
Be gentle to yourself, and your kid/s. Create windows through the day to catch your breath, and unwind. It can be while you have your tea, or a short nap. You can just hug your child anytime during the day, and tell them you enjoy these little moments with them.
Be confident of your decisions
You want to reprimand your child for bad behavior despite every mom raising eyebrows at you, go ahead and do it. Listen to your intuition and learn to trust your children. If you are busy when your child wants to play with you, reschedule the play time. Remember, quality over quantity.
Parenting is not a race that you need to win. It’s a connection that you nurture with your child/children. So the next trip you take, let it not be a guilt-trip.
Try this guided meditation to have better control over overwhelming emotions.
Ananya is a Delhi-based WFH mother.
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