If we have feelings of guilt, there is probably an area in our life that needs attention. Then we need to focus on those areas and make the necessary changes. But sometimes as mothers we often carry around guilt over things that we don’t have control over. We need to learn the difference between these two types of guilt. We need to eliminate unnecessary guilt.
In the book” 52 Timesavers for on the go Moms”* Kate Redd dedicates a chapter to facing guilt. She identifies 3 main areas that moms feel guilty about. I just added my own thoughts under each heading.
1.They feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children.
Working moms feel guilty that they are working; Moms at home feel guilty that they are at home and yet don’t spend enough quality time with their kids. So what good is it to feel guilty? Those are the paths we chose, we just have to learn to make the most of it.
Learn to maximise the 5 minutes before bedtime. Let our time together be quality not quantity.
Ask yourselves the questions:
How can I be more flexible with my time?
Where can I make the changes?
2. They feel guilty about not making more things for their children.
With regards to meal times, Moms often feel guilty about taking short cuts or having fast food. While nutrition is important, you also don’t want to be using up special time making gourmet meals that could be used to spend time together. You could include your children in the cooking process and work together.
When it comes to sewing, baking, making birthday invites; some moms just aren’t creative! So what? Ask yourself: What can I do? And then do that thing that you are good at.
3.They feel guilty about not having enough energy and being impatient with their children.
We can all make the choice not to shout or be impatient with our kids. It is just a decision away. Sometimes stress can play a big part in our moods but then we need to find ways to alleviate the stress. Manage our time better so that we do have the energy required. Ask yourself: What changes can I make to my schedule?
Another big area I wanted to add that Mothers feel guilty in is…
4. They feel guilty if they think of themselves
This is different from being selfish and is often confused. Being selfish is when you have absolutely no regard for others. Mothers need to think of themselves, this doesn’t mean they have no regard for their children. They need to take care of themselves, and have their own identity outside of being a mother. They need to take a break now and then, go have their nails done or a cup of tea with a friend. This doesn’t make them a bad mother on the contrary if she is looking after herself then how much more will she be able to look after the precious gifts entrusted to her, her children.
“Guilt is a normal human emotion, but it is only constructive if you evaluate whether it is founded. If it is, you can do something about it. If it isn't, it's a useless waste of emotional energy that can be better spent otherwise.”
“Guilt is most often more about our own unrealistic expectations of ourselves than about us falling short in our role as mothers.”
Tammy Styles, Psychologist
Ask yourselves the right questions.
Make the changes.
Learn to say sorry to your kids.
Focus on what you can do.
Avoid comparison with others.
*Redd, K (1993) 52 Timesavers for on the go Moms. Oliver-nelson books, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.