Thursday, January 27, 2011

10 tips for avoiding Mother Guilt

My tips to avoid Mother Guilt


I have been a mother for 12 years now. 
Mother guilt is something that I have personally struggled with for years. 
I no longer face this mother guilt battle and here are a few lessons I have learned:

1. Give yourself TIME - When a newborn baby is placed in your arms or you have motherhood thrust upon you from a different situation, you are not expected to be an expert immediately. There is no motherhood handbook that holds all the answers for what is best for you and your family. It takes time to learn mothering skills, to develop love, to know and understand a child who is in your care and to gain experience of what works and what doesn't. This is done over many days and many sleepless nights. It is a journey that you are learning together. Slow down and enjoy it!

2. Trust your own HEART - When it comes to your children and your family, YOU are the one who knows what choices are good, better and best. You know deep down in your heart what path to take, what your own personal and family desires are and what great hopes and dreams you have for your children. No-one else will love them the way you do and you are blessed with the gift of instincts to lead you each day as you prepare and raise your children the best way you can.

3. Have a REALISTIC PERSPECTIVE - No mother is perfect. Many mothers may look perfect and act like they are perfect, but no mother really IS perfect. In this challenging journey of motherhood having a realistic vision of what you can achieve individually and as a family will give you peace of mind and help you reach a standard of living that will bring happiness and contentment. Having a good perspective of motherhood is healthy and will ease your mind of unnecessary worry.

4. Know you will make MISTAKES - Being a mother is a rollercoaster ride. There are low's and high's. The mother guilt lows can be very depressing and the highs can be totally uplifting. Knowing that you will make mistakes on this lifetime ride, and so will your children, will allow you to forgive yourself, let go and move forward towards being a better, more educated and experienced mother. It is not easy raising children and knowing that all mothers make mistakes is comforting and brings relief!

5. Give yourself PRAISE - As a mother we are doing a great work within the walls of our homes. We are helping to raise wonderful cherubs who we love dearly and often do this under stressful circumstances and with very little sleep. Often we forget to praise ourselves for our efforts and to give ourselves a break. We forget to tell ourselves how wonderful we are, what an awesome woman we are and that we are doing a sensational job raising our children. When our children say 'I love you mummy', do we stop to think about just how wonderful the woman is that they are loving?

6. Have a sense of HUMOUR - Often when I am feeling like I have not done the best I could or it has all fallen apart around our home - I have found it is the perfect moment for having a good laugh. Many days the choice comes down to crying my eyes out or laughing my head off. The times when I have chosen to laugh have been some of my best memories. The children have joined in and we have turned a somewhat difficult situation into a fun filled joyful moment. Laughter truly is the best medicine and seeing the brighter side of life always feels so much better.

7. Know you are NOT ALONE - Motherhood can feel like a lonely journey some days. It can feel like all the children are against you and that you are the only one who is trying to teach, train and hold the family together. It can also feel like you are the only one dealing with your own personal struggles and trials and that no-one understand what you are going through. In my conversations with other mothers I have been surprised just how many other mothers feel exactly the same way I do with problems I face, worries I have for my children and with not knowing what to do next. Knowing that I am not alone in trying to be a great mother has brought me comfort, sweet assurance and peace. I have felt my burdens lifted as I opened up to share worries with other women and loved the advice, support and laughter we have shared.

8. Know your LIMITS - One of the ways to be a great mother is to know yourself. To respect yourself and be mindful of what you are capable of. Trying to keep up with other mothers and what they are doing often leads to unhappiness and exhaustion. We know what we can do, what is realistic for us to achieve and when we have reached our limit with emotions and physical stamina. When we take on too much, push ourselves too far and try to be someone we are not we can very quickly find ourselves in tears and wondering what went wrong. There is nothing wrong with saying no and protecting ourselves so that we can be happy and motivated to dedicate our energies to raising our families. Do what you know you can do and your family will love you for it.

9. Think POSITIVE THOUGHTS - Our internal thoughts often reflect how we truly feel about ourselves. When we speak kindly to ourselves we feel less stressed, less guilty and less pressured to perform at unrealistic levels in our mothering. Removing words such as 'I should' and 'I have to' helps us to find some freedom in the daily choices we need to make in raising our children. Reminding ourselves each day that we are making a difference, that we are a great mother and that there is no greater work we can do will help us be cheerful as a mother and allow us to find nobility in motherhood.

10. Give yourself PERMISSION - Every mother needs time alone. To breathe, to refresh and rejuvenate. The sooner you give yourself permission to have this time, the happier you will be. We often spend all of our time placing the needs of our family above our own and feel very guilty whenever we take a small amount of time for ourselves. Taking time out does not mean you do not care about your family. Taking time out shows your children that you care about yourself and your needs too. This precious time out is greatly needed and essential for emotional stability and a fresh outlook on motherhood.

I hope that these tips help you in a small way on your motherhood journey and I really appreciate you taking the time to read them.

50 comments:

  1. Beautiful blog. Love this post. If you have time, please check out my blog: www.sospouse.blogspot.com

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  2. I struggle with this all the time, I need to print this out and stick it on my kitchen wall!! Thanks for the tips :) jen

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  3. Wonderful advice. It has taken me seven years to realise I am allowed to have time to myself. But I still struggle not to feel guilty at times.

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  4. Love love love this post! So so true!

    One thing I have started making sure that I do as well is that when my kids do something fantastic (like Liam at 2 1/2 walking around Bunnings yesterday and being on his very best behaviour even though he was hot and tired) is to remind myself that all of my hard work and effort with them is paying off - that they are becoming wonderful little people because we are doing something 'right' as parents. :) Makes it all worth while to KNOW that you're doing something right.

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  5. I'm printing this off as I type.
    This post will be going into my Reflection Folder to be viewed, reviewed and contemplated regularly.

    Thank you for the many ways that you share your wisdom, I hope you know what a positive force you are in my world and I'm sure many others.

    Biggest of hugs,

    Felicity x

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  6. thanks for the great support and comments ladies - so glad you are working on dealing with this too! it sure is hard work being a mum! xx

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  7. This post is brilliant...I don't often have moments of guilt anymore but when I do I will refer back to your wise words.
    xx

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  8. Great post! In the whole 7 years of being a mother to two children, I have found it the hardest to leave them on their own in childcare and school. Its always a worry, not knowing how there day is, did they eat enough, drink enough, hope they didn't get hurt etc...... I need to let go though. Great reminders in this post.

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  9. I agree with the other ladies.
    This post is a keeper, Naomi. Inspirational and beautiful.
    Thank you.

    Trish
    x

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  10. Thank you <3 Printing this one off!

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  11. Thanks. I do need to remind myself sometimes that no mum is a supermum - no matter how together they seem.

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  12. Thanks I hope I can remember these. I have that a lot, especially worrying for what is best.

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  13. Love this Naomi! Especially number 7 :)
    x

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  14. thanks for thinking it is worth printing out! you ladies are so nice and yes Fiona - I love number 7 too! xx

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  15. What a wonderful post Naomi! I can only imagine that your children are so blessed to call you their mother. You are so wise for one so young. Mothering is a gift and it is the best thing I could have chosen for myself. Nothing could have ever given me as much joy as raising my six children. Every day they are my best gifts.
    hugs to you from here...

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  16. Ah, Naomi, you sweetheart. And I wouldn't be in the slightest bit embarrassed for you to mention me here ☺. I put my hand up to mother guilt any day.

    It's on ongoing journey of self-discovery. A similar post has been kicking around in my head for a while. You've just spurred me along to find the right words to articulate my feelings. Thank you, Lovely One, for the encouragement. J x

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  17. It was sweet of you to write this for me! I was the one needing it you know!

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  18. thanks so much June - you are sweet
    Jane can't wait to see what you come up with and heather - so hope it brightens your day and thanks for letting me know it was YOU who needed it xx

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  19. Great tips, Naomi. I think we need to not be so hard on ourselves - as you say, be realistic.

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  20. I think you hit the nail on the head:)

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  21. Great post Naomi and very timely fot me, given I just posted about this very topic.

    I found your tips SO helpful.. It is great to be able to learn from Mumma's such as yourself who have been in the game a lot longer :)

    Thank you xx

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  22. Great advice, all so true. We need to remember to be kind to ourselves. Thank you

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  23. Guilt has to be THE biggest waste of time emotion ever. Thanks for the reminder!

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  24. #6 is a must for me above all others because when I do the other stuff "wrong" at least I can laugh at it :)

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  25. I know this will sound crazy, but lately I have been feeling guilty about buying a high chair with fabric on it. Guilty because I didn't know that you should NEVER buy a high chair with fabric on it. If I want it to look decent, I have to wash it every day, but then it doesn't dry for the next day. I think one way to get rid of the guilt is to get rid of high chairs with fabric! Who's with me?!

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  26. I love this post. It especially applies to my life right now. I hope that one day I can get to a place where I stop feeling guilty. I'm certainly not there yet.

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  27. Wish I'd seen these 18 years ago!

    Stopped by from MMB.

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  28. So so so true! All 10. Really.

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  29. This is a beautiful post, you are one wise woman Naomi x

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  30. Excellent list - and being that mummy guilt featured in my list. I am taking away some of your ideas.

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  31. Thanks! This made me feel so empowered and light-hearted!!

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  32. Ach! #3 is my biggest stumbling block!

    Time and time again... I never stop thinking about how other perfect moms do everything!

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  33. This is the perfect list for all new mums to read! Great job. :)

    I think it's one of the most important things to realise that we grow as a parent as our children grow and we cannot expect to get it all right from the get go.

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  34. great advice - I too have finally dismissed mother's guilt...now what about hubby guilt??!!

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  35. Thank you for this post - most especially #7.

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  36. I love this post (and you can thank LinkWithin that I found it!). This is so refreshingly honest (like most of your posts) and I think that letting go of mother guilt is a big factor in being a fabulously flawed mum! xx

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  37. Great post...i dont think I know of any parent who wouldnt have had feelings of guilt at some point..but it really is such a waste of an emotion!

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  38. I'm so glad I came across this tonight.
    I really needed to hear these things.
    Mother guilt has been really getting to me lately so thank you for your honest and wisdom xox

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  39. Fantastic and so true! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about something that I think all mums can relate to.

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  40. Wonderful post! Thank you so much for writing this one. I struggle with feelings of guilt. I always have. I think Number 10 is what I need more than anything at the moment. I love having some quiet, contemplation time. But in my house I even have to book a nice, relaxing bath about 6 months in advance. lol

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  41. Fantastic list Naomi. I think for me #8 is critical for me surviving motherhood guilt.

    I know myself and what I am good at (things like reading with the kids and giving affection), bad at (pretend play, patience) and what I need for me (time alone every day and regular time away from my family to recharge. Knowing that there is no perfect mother also eases my mind - every time I think someone has it all together they are nice enough to show a flaw and say "me too. i am imperfect"

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  42. Spot on as always Naomi, and just what I needed to read today, particularly No. 6. Thanks xo

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  43. Lovely lovely post! Thank you for sharing it 'from the vault' on Twitter. I think we all need reminding of how to be gentle with ourselves. I especially like the last one... every mother needs time alone and to breathe! This is so hard to achieve yet so important.

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  44. Hi Naomi,

    I was browsing the kidspot.com.au 50 top blogs and came across this post, it wasn't until falling in love with it that I realised who wrote it.
    You may or may not remember me personally but no doubt you will have memories of my family when you used to come and visit your Dad in Dartmoor. I just wanted to say how beautiful your blog is! I have a little 2 year old girl myself so am always seeking helpful and positive advice.

    I wish you continued success with it!

    :) Lauren Jones

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  45. Thank you for this post. Lovely words and lovely reminders. As a new Mum the world of mother guilt was so unexpected and it's nice to know I'm not alone!

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  46. So glad it has touched so many of you. We all have stages of dealing with guilt in various ways throughout our life. The sooner we can dump the guilt the happier we will be! Thanks for your comments. N x

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  47. A timely reminder. I try not to get bogged down in Mother Guilt but the past few weeks I have succumbed to it. Time for a time out. Lovely post.

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