5 Lies That Perpetuate Mommy Guilt - Happy as a Mother

5 Lies That Perpetuate Mommy Guilt

I distinctly remember being pregnant with my first and chatting with a few moms about the new life I was about to embark on. Boy, was I naive! I don’t know what trivial things I was worried about at the time, maybe something about never having changed a diaper or mini humans being completely foreign to me, when it happened; another mom tried to warn me – “the mommy guilt” she said, “it will kill you.”

Mommy guilt? What the heck is mommy guilt? I am a first time mom worried about my vagina being ripped open, I haven’t even thought about how challenging it is to raise a baby yet.

Three kids later, I look back at that experience and I see that she was trying to prepare me for the dark side of motherhood that no one talks about. Everyone celebrates the miracle that is about to arrive, as they should, but there is no warning label. There is no long list of the side effects of motherhood being passed out to new moms. Maybe there should be; it would be alarming, but it would also let new moms know that the side effects they experience are normal. Whether they go through anxiety, guilt for making the wrong decisions, resentment for losing their freedom, and so on. There is a slew of complex emotions that mothers experience– both positive and negative.

For some reason, our society is conditioned to only talk about the positive side of motherhood. Trust me, I am right there celebrating the fact that your body made another human being. Like, a whole other person! It still blows my mind. But with that person comes a ton of responsibility. The arrival of that little human being triggers a metamorphosis. And from my limited, okay my zero, experience being a butterfly, I imagine such a huge transformation isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

The more we talk about and expose the lies that keep us trapped, the more we free ourselves of mommy guilt and shame. Some of the most prominent lies that keep us stuck in mommy guilt are:

You have to be perfect

Raise your hand if you have ever made a mistake parenting your child? I’ll raise them both! We all make mistakes. We all get frustrated, raise our voice, let a stressful or exhausting day get the best of us and so on. We are human. Did you know that it is healthy for your children to see you make a mistake every once in a while? It is important to show them an array of positive and negative emotions so that they can learn how to handle both in a healthy way. Don’t beat yourself up.

You aren’t good enough

In an age where Instagram is king and Pinterest is queen, we are constantly battling with comparison. We are bombarded with images of perfectly decorated cakes, and mom’s who snap back from child birth as if they had a surrogate. Do yourself a favour and stop comparing. Stop following accounts that make you feel less than. If you find yourself lost in the scroll and self loathing is kicking in, you have the power to stop. Unfollow. Go play with your kids. Practice gratitude. Just go do something other than comparing. Instagram is not real life; all of those accounts you follow and love, create content. Meaning they aren’t real moments; they are staged. No one’s life, even theirs, truly looks that way. Learn to stop the scroll and practice gratitude for what you have.

Everyone else has their shit together

Guys, why is it that us women seem to all have the same defense mechanism of acting like we have it all together. I’m sorry, but there is no way, I don’t buy it. Every mother I have ever candidly spoken with is trying to survive. Especially if their children are little. They are trying to remember appointments, plan meals, fold laundry, keep the tiny humans alive, shower at least once a week — I think you get the picture. We can’t possibly know how someone is doing based on the highlight reels they share on social media. My instagram account is all curated content, and today after doing bedtime routine, I found a massive booger dried to the side of my face. Guys, a BOOGER! To make matters worse, I had no idea how long it had been there. My 20 year old self wouldn’t even believe the situations I find myself in as a mom of three boys, and anyone who tells you any different is either lying or in denial!

You are supposed to be able to do it all

There is a long standing expectation that women are supposed to work and also manage the kids and house. Let me free you from this expectation right now; it’s just not possible. So put something down and go play with your kids because you will waste the best years of your life trying to keep up with everything. The sooner we understand that the expectation is unrealistic, the sooner we can free ourselves from the shame of not meeting it. Ask for help! Not because you are weak or failing, because you are simply one human being and it’s impossible for you to do everything. In order to sit here and be with you right now, I am neglecting the massive mountain of laundry beside me that isn’t going to fold itself. Prioritize the things that are most important or essential, and ask for help or delay the nonessential.

You can’t ever prioritize yourself

It is so easy to lose yourself in motherhood. To get into the daily pattern of putting everyone’s needs before your own, and before you realize it, your kids are off to school and you haven’t done anything for yourself. The moment that you became a mom isn’t the moment that all your hopes, dreams, and ambitions die. It is incredibly important to find your unique purpose in life outside of raising your children. I understand that children and family are the top priority, but putting your goals and dreams on a shelf to collect dust isn’t helping you or them. Prioritizing yourself doesn’t have to be some grand gesture; it may simply be making sure to enjoy an hour alone, or taking the time to get your hair or nails done. The moral of the story is that the things that are important to you matter, whether it’s your goals and/or self care. Either way, make it a priority.

If there is anything you take away from our chat today, please let it be this– you don’t have to suffer in guilt and shame. If you work to identify the lies or beliefs that cause you to feel the shame, you can rid yourself of it.

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