-Guilty that you threw in a box of mac-n-cheese for dinner rather than serving healthy veggies and grilled meat?
-Guilty that you took 45 minutes to workout?
-Guilty that you skipped a few pages in the book you were reading to the kids before bed because you were so tired?
-Guilty that you are bottle feeding your baby rather than breastfeeding?
“Motherhood is about love, not performance.”
The list can go on and on. I am no stranger to the feelings of guilt that we can feel as we find balance in being a mom and all the other roles we fill. Of course our kids would love our undivided attention 24 hours a day, and though we know this is unrealistic we can still feel guilty that we are never doing enough for them. (Or work, or spouse, or church, or…)
Now I’m not talking about feeling guilty over things that are legit (like today when I spent way too much time on my computer). If you really are finding yourself not able to keep up with your priorities and daily tasks then figure out what is lacking so you can have enough mental/emotional/physical energy to engage life. Do you need a babysitter for a few hours a week? 30 minutes a day to journal? Can you hire someone to help you make a menu plan (or ask a friend who is a pro at it) so you aren’t stressing out everyday around 4:45pm when it’s time to make dinner? Or are you just trying to DO IT ALL and need to re-evaluate what you can accomplish with this season of your life?
This can totally affect your workouts as well. Many times I hear women tell me they feel guilty for taking time away to exercise. Usually this is because they are so busy and already feeling that ‘lack’ of time with the kids, so it’s just one more thing taking them away. If this is the case for you I would ask you to think about the results you get from working out. Does it help you have more energy to engage your kids? I know for me to fit it in I have to be more organized which carries over into me being more organized in other areas as well which also leads to more time with the family. One other thing to evaluate, are your kids schedules running your life? Just something to think about, I know we want the best for them but if you are so tight from morning to night that you can’t fit in even 30 minutes 4 times a week for yourself dare I say you might be over scheduled? Only you know, but it’s worth looking at for your long term health. (Regarding fitness, PLEASE set up realistic schedules for yourself! My personal commitment is 4x a week, if I get 6x that’s awesome, but I only hold myself to 4x because I know that is realistic. It’s still a challenge at times but it’s do-able if I’m organized. (Why add more guilt that you can’t complete the schedule that you set for yourself?!)
If you have been struggling with guilt here are a few things for you to think about. These steps are paraphrased from the book, “I was a really good mom before I had kids,” which is in my top 10 mom books!
1. (My favorite!) One mom they interviewed said that to help her get perspective on her feelings of guilt she would replace the word ‘guilt’ with ‘regret’. For example, change: “I feel guilty for working out,” to “I regret working out.” If you don’t regret it, then your guilt is unfounded!
2. Focus on the big things and not the small. Will the thing you are feeling guilty about matter an hour from now? A week from now?
3. Remember that you are NOT responsible to keep everyone happy. You can’t keep your kids, spouse, friends, and yourself happy all the time. Know your limits. Don’t feel guilty for saying no. Learn to accept the fact that you will be responsible for many of your children’s tears.
As silly as it sounds after some thought I realized that many times I feel guilty about how the weather affects if the kids can go out and play or not. I mean really? As if I have any control over it. It’s one thing to be bummed about a rainy day messing up the plans to be outside, but to feel guilty about it? It was an eye opener for me.
Is there something you have been feeling guilty over? If you need to make a change do so, but if it’s unfounded please give yourself grace and let the guilt go!