We’ve all been there. Overwhelmed with mom guilt, struggling to give yourself permission to pursue your own interests, but constantly pulled in the direction of your child or children. Today is for you. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve been the one whose mom went to work and I’ve been the mom who wanted to go to work and help provide for my family. Today we’re going to talk about overcoming mom guilt.
In this episode you’ll learn
- Triggers for mom guilt
- Tips to alleviate mom guilt
- Resources for time management
Initially my mom stayed home but when my grandpa passed she ended up working in our family business with my dad. It was a hard adjustment but I adjusted to a new normal. When we had out first daughter I had to bring her to daycare and she would scream. That’s where our first sign of mom guilt shows up right? Where they’re crying for us as we’re leaving and it just makes you feel terrible.
When we had our second daughter we decided it was time for me to stay home. The transition wasn’t easy. Even though the job of being a stay at home mom is very purposeful it’s very, very different. When I transitioned to stay at home I was dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety.
I didn’t feel bonded to my second daughter, I was trying to show my oldest daughter as much love and attention as her sister, and I just felt awful all the time because of my hormones and the depression and anxiety. So I started blogging, I started a YouTube channel, and I started this podcast. Each played their role in being an outlet for me. It helped me to get over my struggles and work towards a better purpose and fulfilled person.
Triggers for Mom Guilt
The first trigger is the things that we say, feel, or worry about that hold us back. We need to fight against the harmful things we tell ourselves or what others tell us and throw them out the window. We normally take those things to heart when we know the truth. There will always be naysayers in your life, but start to align yourself with the people who actually want to hear what you have to say. I know how difficult that can be. Although my mom is very supportive, there are other family members that don’t know, or want to know, what I’m doing. So I simply don’t talk to them about it. You don’t have to justify what you’re doing to anyone, let alone someone who won’t take the time to understand it.
Our children are our biggest critics and have such an impact on us. They’re the very last person we ever want to disappoint but they start to say how much we’re not doing pretty young. I know when Miley was three or four she would say that I never played with her because I taking care of the baby, when in reality she is who I spent most of my time with. I was falling for her guilt trip hook, line, and sinker every time and that’s something I had to really work on as well. My husband is an extension agent and he is gone the majority of the time. So that was really hard to go from working and having one child to being home with two children. I didn’t have any outlets and was just trying to figure it all out. My mom lived far away, about three hours and my husband’s family all worked so there was no relief for me at any point during the week. I hated my oldest daughter which caused me so much guilt and then I had guilt over not spending enough time with our other daughter, who was such a good baby. Once I realized I may need some help to get me through this time I told my husband that I wanted to see a therapist. His response was that I was weak and needed to suck it up. So that’s what I did.
I ended up bringing God back in my life. I read my Bible while I nursed and I believe wholeheartedly that if I hadn’t sought out that higher power that I would have spiraled further. I might have hurt my oldest daughter. It’s so important to have that help. Whether it’s a higher power, a therapist, or just a close confidante. You need that outlet.
I believe that God pulled me out of the darkness I had entered. He set me on the right path. I still have triggers, sometimes daily, but I’ve learned the art of putting myself first at times. I’ve learned that I’m my own person and don’t live for anyone else. I’ve also recognized the outlets I need in order to stay fulfilled.
Outlets for Fulfillment
- Exercise-I believe we need more exercise than the bit we get from being on our farms. Sure I get exercise from my garden but I still go to the gym. I don’t believe that a good cardio regiment can be achieved solely on the farm. I’ve interviewed some other fitness gals and they would agree with me as well. You really need that 20-30 minutes of cardio workout to see real change. You don’t necessarily need a gym to accomplish that either. You can do it right at home.
- Get Creative-Everyone has some level of creativity in them. I feel like creativity is what sparks ideas and purpose in life. It can be blogging, coloring, painting, writing, whatever gets your creative juices flowing. I did an episode on ways to get creative, you should check it out.
- Immerse Yourself in Positivity-One of the other things I did was listen to audio books and podcasts. I only listened to ones that were positive and tell me that I was enough.
How to Make Time For Yourself
I know we all struggle with time. Time for ourselves, time to clean, cook, do the dishes, play with our kids, the list is endless. So one of the things I learned to do was time blocking and listing. I’ve actually created a freebie for you that will allow you to time block and make lists weekly.
I’ve gotten better about taking time for myself. Whether that’s while they’re sleeping or I tell them point blank that I need to do “xyz” in order to play. Now that they’re a little older I can communicate what needs to happen in order for them to get what they want. The other thing I did was get our oldest a point and shoot kids camera. Right now she’s having a lot of fun with it but I hope that she’ll be my photographer for the business one day.
I think identifying why that time is important will help you fight against the guilt of it and learn to embrace it. My first reason was that gardening, podcasting, and blogging were my outlet. It gave me the safe place I craved to embrace the person I want to be and to help support my family long term.
Another big why is I want to help serve people. I want to help the listeners who have been through or are going through what I’ve been through. I know the struggles I faced weren’t easy and I want to be able to give you tips and solutions to those struggles as someone who has been there before.
Pick your battles. Decided what is important and dictate what gets your energy from there. Decide how you can best manage your time, is there something you can outsource? Be very intentional about what you choose to take on and what you don’t. Focus on what is going to serve your overall purpose not the question being asked in the moment.
I know this is sometimes easier said than done but it’s worth it because you’re worth it. Spend as much time as you can with your children, pursue your dreams, and stop letting other people have a say in your mind.
Now you know the triggers and you can tone them out, you know the tips so you can implement them, and you know the struggles because the reality is that you are teaching your kids how to work hard and how to take care of themselves.