When my twins were four months old, my husband gave me a spa package for my birthday. As a first-time-mom, it had been a challenging few months of adjustment for me. Of course, I was excited about self-care and me-time. But then I started to feel guilty about being away from the babies for a few hours, even though my husband (who was more than capable of taking care of them) would be on baby duty. Mom guilt, amirite?
I didn’t realize mom guilt was a real “thing” until I had my twins.
Before the twins, I associated feeling guilty with actually doing something wrong. But mom guilt…well, this type of guilt was on a whole new level.
I felt guilty whenever the dishes sat in the sink for a couple of days, whenever dirty clothes piled up, or dinner was a freezer meal. Anytime my babies cried, I felt the guilt creeping in as if it was my fault that they were unhappy.
I even heard ‘phantom crying’ in the shower; though my babies would be fast asleep in their crib.
Here’s the thing I learned about guilt, mama. If you let it consume you, it will. It will hang over you like a dark cloud, making you feel like nothing you do can make it go away.
But if you learn to tune it out, you can accept yourself for who you are – not just a mom, but a mom with needs of her own.
One day I just got tired of the constant guilt trip I put myself through. So I decided that for one week, I would schedule in me-time for an hour doing whatever I wanted to that day. It didn’t matter what I ended up doing, just as long as it wasn’t a chore or errand. I did the same thing the following week and the next.
And I didn’t let myself feel guilty for it.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, mama. Instead, take some time for you and practice self-care.
Here are 8 ways to handle mom guilt by spending more time on YOU:
#1 Savour a cup of tea/coffee
Don’t just chug it because you need the caffeine boost. Drink it to enjoy it, while scrolling through Insta or catching up on the daily news.
#2 Join a group on Facebook
Engage with other people (moms or not) who have similar interests as you to inspire and motivate you. I like this option because I’m a total introvert and I can connect with other moms online while rocking my oversized tee and mom bun.
#3 Limit the time you spend on your phone
I know tip #2 was to join a Facebook group, but don’t spend too much time online. Balance it with offline activities. Otherwise, you’ll get trapped in a comparison game which will leave you feeling even more mom guilt.
#4 Start a gratitude journal
I started one just recently; every day, I look for things to be grateful for and write them down. It can be big things or small things – the sun shining that day or the taste of cheesecake. When you practice gratefulness, you start to feel happier. It’s a real thing.
#5 Try a new hobby
Just pick a hobby and give it a go for a month. There’s a feeling of excitement that comes from doing something you’ve never done before, just for the fun of it. Give yourself time to learn this hobby, and feel the accomplishment when you get it. Have you tried hand lettering, embroidery, or baking? Don’t worry about whether or not you’re good at it, just do it to be creative.
#6 Read a book for fun
I read a ton of books, but they were either about sleep training, feeding, or some other baby-related topic. But then I picked up a novel, and it felt good to be reading just for the sake of entertainment.
#7 Go for a walk
Sometimes, just going outside and getting some fresh air is all we need to relax. There’s something about nature that does our body good. It’s a great way to reboot, and all you really need to do is step outside for 10 minutes.
#8 Enjoy a bath
Not a shower, a real bubble bath. Throw in the fizzy bath bomb from Lush, light a candle, pour your drink of choice (*ahem* red wine), and just relax.
So the next time the feeling of mom guilt starts gnawing at you, ignore it, mama. Instead of giving in to that negative feeling, make yourself a cup of tea (or pour yourself a glass of wine), sit back, and relax. The laundry can wait until tomorrow, the dishes can pile up today, and Ubereats can deliver your dinner.
Take a minute for yourself – you’ve earned it, mama.
What are some ways you practice self-care?