Breaking Up with Mom Guilt . . . for Real

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There’s an old saying “Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.” (Well, it’s not darn, but you know what I’m talking about.) This one phrase sums up motherhood. The mom guilt game is strong, and I’m still trying to find the balance five years into this thing. 

This year, I’m trying something new. Instead of just creating a list of things to accomplish in the next 12 months, I came up with one word that sums up all the things I want to create, achieve, and change in my life — one word to express all my wants and desires for 2018, one word to replace the unrelenting mom guilt. That word is mindfulness.

Mindfulness

Think about it. Changing eating habits — mindfulness over what I put in my body. Is this food going to make me healthy or unhealthy? Organizing my house/car/children’s toys/all the things — mindfulness over what we actually need and where it belongs. Meal planning — mindfulness in my preparation, instead of aimlessly wandering the grocery aisle and ending up with a load of things I don’t need. Stop yelling at kids — mindfulness of stressors around me and then making a plan to avoid or prepare for those things.

Notice a pattern? 

Notice what’s missing? 

GUILT

Guilt says, “You’re a horrible mother.” 

Mindfulness says, “This was not a great day. Good thing I can make amends and change my attitude now.”

Guilt says, “You’re never going to lose that baby weight.”

Mindfulness says, “I am making small changes toward a healthier me.”

Guilt says, “What kind of mother yells at her kids like that? You’re screwing them up, for sure.”

Mindfulness says, “I shouldn’t have lost my temper. This is a great time to teach my kids about remorse and forgiveness.” Or “I’ve had too much on my plate lately. I should find a time to pause and enjoy my kids.” 

Guilt says, “Your house is always a wreck. What kind of lessons are you teaching your children?”

Mindfulness says, “The dishes are piled up and my kids are happily occupied; I’ll work on those while I can.” Or “The dishes will still be there when I have a chance to tend to them.”

Guilt says, “You’ll never break your phone addiction. Why try?”

Mindfulness says, “There’s nothing on social media that needs my attention right now. I think I’ll put my phone out of reach for a while.”

We all want to be better mothers, better humans. And I’m sure we could all find a million ways in which we are failing at our responsibilities. There’s nothing wrong with knowing your weaknesses and striving for greatness. We must simply re-frame our thoughts. Guilt says, “I’m a failure.” Mindfulness says, “I can do better.” Putting a positive tone to our pitfalls will bring much more success than wallowing in the muck of guilt.

Moms, I think we can do and be better. For our children, and for ourselves. Let’s leave mom guilt in the past and let 2018 be the year of MINDFULNESS. Huzzah!

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Cate is a transplant from Alabama and an alum of the greatest school in the SEC (Roll Tide). She married her college sweetheart, Rob, in the summer of 2010 and together they have two adorable Texans, Elijah (2012) and Nora (2015). When she isn’t slaying-it at home, Cate spends her time running her small business, First Spring Doula Services, where she supports laboring women and their families in and around Tarrant County. When she’s not momming or mom-bossing, Cate enjoys snuggling the cutest dachshund on the planet, rapping the Hamilton soundtrack, and binging old episodes of The Office. Cate has proudly called Fort Worth home since 2011 and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

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