Moms are notoriously known as loving, caring and self-sacrificing human beings for the most part. They are especially devoted to their families and children. This is a beautiful thing, but sometimes it results in Moms giving themselves the short end of the stick. They will deny themselves food, sleep, and leisure activities. They'll work themselves to the bone, all because they think this will better provide for their families. Many Moms think this is what's necessary to be a good mother and partner. It is sadly not the case. If Mom does this, it will definitively lead her to have a burnout or breakdown of some sort.
So what's the solution? Well, like for any problem, the first thing to do is identify that she does have a problem. Being hard on herself will only bring pain to her and her family later on. Where does a woman get these unrealistic notions of what is truly devotion? The media and society play a big role, but some Moms also take on too much to prove their worth to themselves. This means she needs to sit down, be honest with who she really is inside, and accept herself for it, instead of striving to be what others expect of her. So, how are Moms hard on themselves? There are so many different ways unfortunately. To narrow it down, here are 15 of the most common:
15 Poor Meal Choices
Many Moms are so busy taking care of their children that they literally forget to eat or postpone it until after the kids are in bed. Even then, Mom will often times skip eating a complete meal as she is too exhausted to cook, or will find other things that need her attention. This is so common that most Moms know at least one other friend who regularly or has occasionally done this. It's not good for Mom. It's fine if she delays eating once in a while, but to forgo a meal every day or a few times a week is not healthy for her long term.
Often times even when Mom does eat, she will not make a good food choice, and will end up eating more carbohydrates than protein due to exhaustion. She needs to prioritize a time to eat for herself, even it’s a sandwich on whole bread with veggies and some protein. That is the healthy choice and will keep her motor running.
14 She Has To Get All Housework Done Before Bed
Then there are the Moms who are tired at night but will say, “I’ll just do one more thing and then go sleep." Of course that one “little thing” becomes several little things, and before a Mom knows it's 1 a.m and she's wired and fried at the same time. Her head hits the pillow and she can’t sleep. This is what stress does. It causes Mom to overextend herself, not ask for any help with the housework (after all she can get her partner to chip in), and put too much on her own plate so that she can’t relax at night.
It's hard, but sometimes Moms need to cut themselves some slack, and leave the laundry or some dishes in the sink. The world won’t come to an end. But if Mom wears herself out, bigger problems will occur for her and her family.
13 If She Can't Get To The Gym
Many Moms will bemoan the fact (working outside the home, inside the home, and stay-at-home working), that they do not have time to work out. They would love to, but there are all these other things they need to be doing. This is a falsehood, as one can always squeeze in time for a workout if a Mom learns to prioritize herself and her health like she does her family’s health and her home health.
It will not always be easy, but she will need to learn to use the word “No” to other people and start prioritizing what makes her feel good and strong. This means she will have to delegate certain household tasks, ask for help with the kids, or perhaps postpone the housework and workout instead while baby naps. It requires that Mom learns to not be so hard on herself, and learn to make her feelings as important as her partner’s and her children’s feelings.
12 It's Selfish To Relax
How many Moms want to take a small break at some point in the day? How many would love to watch a favorite TV show on Netflix, curl up with their favorite fiction book, or have a relaxing bath while their partner watches the kids? Most Moms want this, but feel guilty asking for it. They feel that it is a luxury and they are selfish for thinking it. Once again, however, it's when Moms practices self-care that the whole family benefits.
Mom is in better mental and physical shape to handle any stress, sleep deprivation, or anything else in a much easier way. She needs to look at self-care the way the famous saying goes, “if the airplane is going down, the parent needs to put the oxygen mask on themselves before the child so they can save their child’s life.” No one is better off if Mom is out for the count.
11 It's Selfish To Go Out With Friends
Moms also feel guilty (especially when the children are babies), if they want to go out with their female friends or alone at night for some time to recharge. They worry that their babies will feel abandoned and neglected, or that their partner will, in turn, be loved more. This simply is not the case in most households. Moms deserve a night out with their friends or alone time once in a while, and most partners are happy to give them that. They see how hard Mom works all the time.
It’s also an excellent way for the other parent to bond more with the kids, especially if they are not the usual ones doing childcare. And the babies benefit as they get attention from the other parent. It ends up being a win-win for everyone. Mom will come back recharged from her outing and the rest of the family will get a great chance to bond.
10 She Needs To Entertain The Kids
This is so common it's no joke. Many modern Moms feel personally responsible for entertaining their babies and young children. Yes, by all means it's important to have play and interaction time with the baby. It really helps in their development. But Mom also is not the 24/7 play mate. Babies and toddlers need time alone to learn to play, and then later in daycare and preschool they need to work on their social skills and make their own friends.
If a baby is bored once in a while, it’s actually a good thing. It will teach them new and creative ways to get out of being bored and invent new games and ways of doing things. This is where most creative thoughts and growth happens. It also teaches the baby resilience in that they are responsible for making their own fun. It can’t always be Mom doing everything for them.
9 She's A Bad Mom If She Puts Kids In Daycare
A lot of Moms who decide to be stay-at-home Moms may start out with the idea of keeping the baby with them until school age. Then they realize that it's quite isolating for the baby, and that, at a preschool or daycare, the baby can socialize and play with other children. Mom too gets to meet other Moms and her social isolation is broken as is her risk for developing postpartum depression. She often feels guilty however, if there is only one income coming in and this costs money. But she need not feel guilty.
She and the baby both deserve to get out of the house, and often times Mom and Tot groups are few and far between since many women go back to work after just a year. This is a great opportunity for Mom to build her network and teach her baby to socialize. She will have friends to talk to and meet up with on the weekends or holidays. Often these friendships end up lasting for the rest of the Moms’ lives long after the kids are grown.
8 It's Wrong To Go Back To Work
In Canada, Moms are very lucky to have a one-year maternity leave, and both partners can take time to be home and bond with baby. The wonderful thing is that the woman’s job is also protected when she is on maternity leave. Many Moms are happy to have that one year with the baby and are happy to go back to work. Some Moms, however, still feel guilty when the baby is very young, yet they know they need to go back to work for financial and perhaps other reasons too.
It's important that Mom is honest with herself about her feelings, and if she is really unhappy about leaving the baby, this is the time to speak to her partner and see if they can afford her staying home a little longer. Consequently, maybe she can make work arrangements such as a shorter workweek or if able to, working from home. Moms have options and they need to look at the whole picture and not beat themselves up.
7 It's Wrong To Be A Stay-At-Home Mom
There is never any one right or wrong answer when it comes to parenthood. Kids don’t come with a manual nor are they all created alike. And what's right for one woman is wrong for another. Again, if Mom has an honest discussion with her partner about the possibility of her staying home full-time until the baby is older, and both are in agreement that it's best for all involved, that’s great.
If after looking at all the facts, Mom and her partner feel it may not work or she changes her mind after being home or going back to work, that's fine too. Mom has to realize that she needs to be true to what she and her family need, and the family needs to support and help her as long as she's honest with them about what she wants.
6 All Food And Baking Must Be From Scratch
Many Moms, whether at home or work, feel guilty when they don't bake or cook from scratch. Particularly in this day and age with all the knowledge we have about the dangers of additives, food colorings, and extra sugars to our babies and toddlers bodies, Moms feel they must sacrifice time and effort and make everything from scratch or buy everything organic lest they be labeled irresponsible or uncaring. This is simply not true.
Yes, the more whole foods without processing one eats the better, and yes homemade is good due to knowing exactly what's in the food. Still, this doesn't mean that if Mom is busy or sick, that buying ready-made cakes or muffins makes her a terrible parent. It means she's busy and sometimes has to go with convenience. And even if she and her family lead an active lifestyle and eat whole foods as often as they can, processed foods once in a while will not hurt anyone. She has to think of her time, energy and health too.
5 She's A Bad Mom If Her Baby Watches TV
Oh yes, the evil TV, audio visual/tablet dilemma. Mom is tired, has been playing and tending to her baby all day, not to mention all the house work. Or, she has been at work all day and needs to cook dinner. She decides to put her baby in front of a child friendly TV show or to use a tablet, and lets the toddler play a child-friendly app. As long as it’s not for three hours, what’s the harm in using a temporary babysitter?
Every Mom has done it, and it doesn't harm the baby as long as the audio visual is not abused long term. Let’s face it, too much of anything is not good for kids and adults. Mom has to see what's good for her as well as her baby, and work out what will best serve her family in the long run. The logistics of running a household means having a system. Most Moms will figure out quickly which system works for them and their family.
4 She Can’t Breastfeed Or Bottle Feed
The old breastfeeding versus bottle feeding debate brings out a lot of guilt in Moms. There are the Moms who desperately want to breastfeed, try everything and can’t, and then there are the ones who want to bottle feed, or need to, and the baby doesn't like it. Still, there are many Moms who have pressure put on them by family and friends telling them that their choice is morally or socially wrong, whatever it is.
It’s enough to make a Mom want to run from the room screaming! The guilt most Moms carry around with them concerning feeding their child is crazy! Once again, as with the other things Moms feel guilty about, she needs to sit down, listen to her heart, and do what’s good for her and her baby. If she takes the time to see what works for her family and their situation, she will make the right choice.
3 If She Doesn't Socialize With Other Moms
As strange as it sounds to many Moms who dread isolation at home with a baby or miss the company of other women, some Moms, well, they just don’t want to socialize. No, they are not depressed or unfriendly, they just like being at home with their babies and prefer their own company when the baby is napping.
Eventually they will most likely want to go out and meet other Moms and tots, but they're content for the moment in their Mommy/baby bubble. There also women who have always enjoyed being alone to some extent, so do not feel cut off. As long as they have family nearby or community support and a strong partnership, there is nothing to worry about. These Moms need not feel any pressure to get out and mingle if they want to chill out at home with their book and cup of tea or coffee.
2 Scheduling Date Nights
Moms also feel responsible if date nights aren’t being arranged, or if they have no energy to go on them with their partners. This is a two-way street. Of course, if a Mom is too tired to move, she will not be in the mood to go out on a date. Her partner needs to see how they can help her out more at home so that they both have energy for date nights. If this is the case and she has help, then there's the case that she feels guilty leaving the kids to go out with her partner.
She may feel like a bad Mom which is the farthest thing from the truth. She is an amazing Mom who deserves some adult down time with her partner. Mom needs to stop making herself feel guilty for needing a break. Being a Mom is a 24/7 job and it's normal that she needs to unwind. Waiting until the babies are older will only make her and her partner become further estranged and could put pressure on the relationship. It’s important they prioritize going out regularly several times a year, monthly even, if possible.
1 Her House Is Always Messy
Other than living alone without little people’s toys and things EVERYWHERE, most Moms of little babies are not bad housekeepers. They have lots more stuff to keep track of and a lot less time to do it, as they are tending to a baby. As the baby gets older, Mom will get into a system of cleaning, arranging, and finding a “new normal” of what clean is for her versus before. She will have to stop taking on the role of housekeeper all by herself, and ask her partner for help too.
If she can hire some cleaning and organizing help, that could give her a breather and help out a lot. As well, she could learn to look at little messes as no big deal. If everyone is fed, has clothes to wear, and the floor is not too sticky to walk on, she is doing fine. Perspective is what matters and the important things are love and health.
It’s true that Mom is hard on herself for so many things. As women, we tend to take on a lot of responsibility for other people’s feelings. For Mom to feel less guilt, it’s important she learns to prioritize her feelings, thoughts, and expectations along with everyone else’s in the family. The whole family, including Mom, will be the better for it.