Coping with Mummy Guilt: 5 Top Tips

“I’m not a good mum”: It’s something that the best of us sometimes tell ourselves. It’s a horrible feeling but there are many ways to deal with a bout of mummy guilt.

If any of the following sound familiar, you know exactly what mummy guilt is all about:

  • “I can’t breastfeed. I’ve failed my baby.”
  • “I have to return to work next week. I feel terrible about leaving my baby.”
  • “Wow, returning to work was actually great. I feel bad that I actually enjoyed being away from my baby for a day.”
  • “I’m so tired that I let my toddler watch TV all day. I’m a seriously bad mum.”

Next time you suffer from an attack of the guilts, try one of these strategies:

1. Remind yourself of the big picture

With so much to learn so quickly, it’s easy to get completely absorbed down in the nitty gritty of raising a baby and start worrying about the tiny details. It can be useful to remember that you have about 6,570 days before your baby becomes an adult. A day here or there of watching a lot of TV isn’t likely to cause serious harm and your baby certainly won’t remember whether they were breastfed.

2. Switch off

Sometimes our mummy guilt has a particular source. It might be a well-meaning but judgmental person offering advice or that mum on FaceBook with the seemingly perfect kids and life. 
This one’s an easy fix. Just switch off. Give yourself a break from FaceBook. Thank that person for the advice but tell them you’re happy to do things your own way.

3. Form an action plan

Mum of 2, Tracey Galanos, says she suffers mummy guilt on a daily basis. She finds it helpful to confront the issue head on. She says, “I try to think about what it is I am feeling guilty about and then I form a basic action plan to address the guilt. If it’s being time poor, I think about how and when can I spend more time with my girls.”

4. Treat yourself like a friend

If you’re the type of person that is much harder on yourself than others, it’s easy to fall into the mummy guilt trap. Angela Denly, a mum of 2, offers this advice: “When I get the mummy guilts, I like to try to speak to myself like I would a friend and help myself realise that I’m doing a good job and the most important thing is that my kids are loved, happy and healthy.”

5. Work on those other issues

When I’m suffering from the dreaded mummy guilts, it’s often related to other things I’m feeling. Perhaps I’m tired, overwhelmed or suffering a general confidence crisis. So, by working on these things, I’m also working on getting rid of the guilt. I do this by:

  • Talking to a good friend and regaining a healthy perspective on what’s happening in my life
  • Taking a break – a walk, time in the garden, a little retail therapy – to beat feelings of overwhelm
  • Making myself write down 7 good things that are happening in my life right now, both big and small.

Unfortunately, guilt may be ready and waiting to crop up for many years from now as we continue to wind our way along the parenting path. Take action now and work out which guilt-busting strategies work best for you.

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