Letting Go of Mom Guilt

I  heard from a business women’s association that every woman needs to understand by age 40 that she cannot do it all. Like most stubborn over-achievers, I took a defiant stance, shaking my head and setting out to prove that wrong.

The high-guilt days

Thinking I’d figured out how to carry a million priorities with impossibly high standards, I worked a part-time (high-stress) marketing job while being a part-time (high standards) mother of two littles, while writing and publishing two books (the first when the babies were 1 and 3 years old) and continuing to publish freelance articles to support the whole scheme. It was hard work. Like, stupid hard.

With Fridays “off,” that was the day I did all things domestic for the week. My running joke was that no one could ever visit our house on Thursday. I would zip around completing a week’s worth of chores and household duties in the morning, then feel obligated to get groceries and make a healthy dinner since I was “home all day.” To be clear, this was all self-dictated. My husband never once told me to spend more time making homemade peanut butter or clean six days of filth in two hours, but I felt like since I was “allowed” to not work, I had to prove it was worth it.

I am proud and ashamed to say I balanced all of these plates tediously for years. There was so much stress and panic and scheduling at home, but like so many others, I managed to make it day by day with all my plates in the air. But why? I took a hard look at the example I was setting for my children.

Realization

In childrearing, the questions, worry and guilt run deep. Have they had too much screen time today? Did I spend enough time with them? Did they eat a vegetable? With information on how to parent and raise healthy humans available 24/7 within our feeds and families, it’s difficult to feel as though you are parenting up to standards—at least that’s how I feel.

Maybe it was turning 40. Maybe it was my children becoming more independent, now in 3rd and 5th grades. Maybe it was just that the weight I carried with those high standards was too great. But somewhere along the way, I started to let go. I gave in and realized, I truly could not do it all.

Acceptance

By focusing on what I did accomplish and what my children were growing into, I was able to quell the guilt. Now, I encourage others to name one thing they “did right” every time that sinking feeling sets in. This is how the balance began for me. Sure, guilt may still creep in. But so can positive self-regard. From there, it was easing up. Learning to “care less” but not too little. Learning to delegate. Learning to accept help. And learning that simply I cannot do it all.

Why did we ever think we were supposed to?::

About Author

Avatar photo

Gina is a writer and author living in Rochester with her husband, two entertaining children and whoodle pup.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to find out about upcoming events, receive fun announcements and get the latest articles delivered straight to your inbox! 📧

Get RWM in your mailbox!