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What is mom guilt? Many working women in India experience this feeling, here are 10 ways that will help you overcome the mom guilt!
Priya is a dedicated working mother in Gurugram, India. As she kisses her children goodbye and heads off to her corporate job every morning, a familiar pang of guilt washes over her. She wonders if she’s spending enough time with her kids, providing the attention they deserve.
Throughout the day, while managing projects and attending meetings, she finds herself constantly questioning if she’s striking the right balance between her professional aspirations and her role as a mother.
Priya’s story is not unique. Many Indian women like her grapple with the lingering feeling of inadequacy that creeps in when torn between work commitments and family responsibilities. It’s a battle that transcends borders and cultures as women around the world navigate the complex maze of modern motherhood.
Balancing career and family responsibilities often makes you feel guilty, questioning whether you’re doing enough for your children. This guilt is so common among working mothers that there’s a name for it – Mom Guilt.
Mom Guilt refers to the feeling of guilt or self-doubt experienced by mothers, particularly working mothers, as they try to juggle their professional and parenting roles. It stems from the perception of not being able to meet societal expectations or balancing multiple responsibilities and leads to the belief that you should be doing more for your children, resulting in unnecessary self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy.
Mom Guilt can arise from various sources, such as career choices, parenting decisions, self-care, time management, or feeling inadequate in fulfilling all roles and responsibilities.
The pressure to be the perfect mother and meet societal expectations can adversely impact your mental health and overall well-being. It can increase stress levels, contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression, and negatively affect your performance at work and home.
Therefore, addressing and managing Mom Guilt is crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Remember, being a good mother does not mean being a perfect woman. Society often perpetuates unrealistic expectations of motherhood, leading to guilt when you don’t live up to these ideals. Recognise that every mother’s journey is unique and that you are doing your best.
Practising some of the tips below will help you to let go of the guilt trap!
Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can with the resources and knowledge you have. Be kind to yourself and recognise that you’re human, capable of making and learning from mistakes.
Treat yourself with the same empathy and understanding you would offer a close friend. Forgive yourself for any perceived shortcomings, and accept that you’re doing your best. Replace self-criticism with self-love and positive affirmations.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other mothers or societal standards of what a “perfect” mom should be. However, it’s important to remember that every family and situation is unique. Recognise that you cannot do it all, and that’s okay.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, and it’s okay to have different priorities and make choices that align with your values and circumstances.
Instead of striving for perfection, focus on doing what feels right for you and your family. Prioritise what truly matters and let go of unnecessary expectations.
Build a support network of fellow working mothers who understand the challenges you face and relate to your experiences, whether through online communities, support groups, or local networks.
Share experiences, offer advice, and provide emotional support to each other. Having a support system reminds you that you’re not alone in your journey.
Taking care of your well-being is not selfish, but necessary for your overall happiness and ability to be a present and effective parent.
Make self-care a priority. Dedicate time each day to do something that rejuvenates you, whether it’s exercising, reading, or simply having a quiet moment alone. Taking care of yourself allows you to be a better mother.
You need to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Recognise, acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments as a mother.
Celebrate the moments when you excel in balancing your responsibilities, nurturing your child, and caring for yourself.
You do not need validation from outside to know that you are doing a great job. Give yourself credit for your efforts, and the world will follow.
You are not a superwoman and don’t have to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Reach out to your partner, family members, or trusted friends to support you in various aspects of parenting and household chores.
Delegate tasks to others, whether it’s asking your partner to handle bedtime routines or involving older children in age-appropriate activities.
Remember, it takes a village to raise a child. By sharing responsibilities, you not only lighten your load but also create opportunities for others to bond with your child and for your child to learn from others.
Be present in atthe moment and savour the time you spend with your children, never mind the duration.
Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and self-reflection can help you cultivate a sense of calm and acceptance, let go of guilt about the past or worries about the future, and fully engage with your kids, spouse and colleagues.
Don’t dwell on your perceived shortcomings. Instead, reframe your negative thoughts into positive ones, and alter your perspective to see the other side of the coin.
Remind yourself of the benefits of your work, the value you derive from it, and the significant lessons your children learn from seeing you pursue your career.
Share your feelings and concerns with trusted friends, family, or support groups. Engage in honest conversations with your partner about sharing responsibilities and finding solutions together.
Talk openly with your children about your work and the importance of what you do.
Help them understand that your job is not a reflection of your love for them, but a means to provide for the family. Fostering open communication helps you gain support, understanding, and reassurance, easing the burden of mom guilt.
If you find Mom Guilt significantly affecting your mental health and well-being, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A life coach experienced in working with working mothers can provide guidance, support, and tools to help navigate the complex emotions and challenges associated with motherhood.
They can help you develop coping strategies and empower you to become the best version of yourself.
You deserve all support and assistance in managing Mom Guilt and thriving as a working mother.
You are not alone in your struggle to manage your professional and personal life. So, take a deep breath, remind yourself of your worth, and embrace the imperfectly perfect moments.
You can overcome Mom Guilt and welcome a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled version of yourself.
Image source: Saradhi Photography on Unsplash, edited on CanvaPro
Smita Das Jain is a writer by passion who writes every day. Samples of her writing are visible in the surroundings around her — her home office, her sunny terrace garden, her husband’s car and read more...
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