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55: Overcoming Mom Guilt

By popular demand, this week we’re talking about a topic that hits so many women and mothers hard down deep into their core. Yeah, I’m talking about mom guilt.

There are a lot of expectations when it comes to motherhood. You have to take care of the house and the finances and the laundry, but you better balance that with asking for help because you better not take on too much yourself. You should love the kids enough and shower them with love and attention and quality time. But don’t be too soft because then they might overtake you. And you better make sure everyone’s schedules are aligned and everyone’s where they’re supposed to be. This kid has that practice here and that kid has to go across town over there. And there’s just so many different pieces to balance. Then you add in your career. So, yeah, girl, go do your thing. But don’t be gone for too long because then that looks really bad on you as a mom. Be assertive. Make sure you’re standing your ground and standing up for what you believe in. But don’t go too far because then you’re going to be a bitch. Make sure you do what you love. Just don’t inconvenience anyone doing it.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what it’s like to be a career mom. And when I say that, I mean you’re a woman and you’re working — whether working is being a stay at home mom and having outside activities or whether that means you’re working outside of the home and really immersed in what it is that you’re doing. Either way, it’s challenging. And it comes with what we’re talking about this week on The Gutsy Podcasts, and that is: How to Overcome Mom Guilt.

YOU CAN BE BOTH

One of the biggest challenges I’ve personally faced is that I love so much, deep down into my core, being a mom. But I also love my career just the same. And I know that may sound weird, but it is what it is. My true passion is just as much of me as my child is, and I’ve learned to accept that’s okay. It’s my spark.

I think sometimes along the way we’re taught that because we’ve become a mom, that means everything we’ve ever loved outside of that has to go. You’re not allowed to have those passions anymore. You’re not allowed to go and do those things. Because your entire focus, your whole purpose of life, should be on your child.

Children are the most amazing creatures. I mean, the way they come into your life and how they change your spirit, it’s literally indescribable. I mean, the passion and the love that comes from a mother is literally indescribable, and that’s such a huge part of who you are. But I also know you have a passion for other things.

There’s something that calls you — whether it’s your career or hobby or traveling or whatever it is you love to do — that’s still a part of you. And just because you have become a mom doesn’t mean you have to let all those other things go.

I had to learn that myself because I felt like a shit mom because, you know, I love my kid. But I also love my business. And the world told me for a long time that’s not okay. You shouldn’t have two equal loves. It should be all of your kid until they’re 18. And then when they go, then guess what? Now you can get back to whatever you started. Yeah, I’m gonna call bullshit on that because you know what ends up happening? Resentment, anger, depression, overthinking, worry, random sudden outbursts. I mean, this stuff builds up because all of a sudden you can’t be something you were before.

No, no, mama, I’m here to tell you today that I need you to love yourself and what is calling you in your life just as much as you love your kiddos — and that’s okay. You are allowed to do that.

I wanted to bring you some real-life stories from real-life mama’s just like you, so I went to Facebook, I went to Instagram, and I said, Hey, moms, I’m doing an episode on Mom Guilt. Tell me all about your stuff. I asked them for situations or scenarios that triggered mom guilt and what changes they made or how they handled the situation to overcome the guilt. These are real stories from real working moms, just like you.

You’re not alone, and mom guilt does not have to rule your life. You can be successful both as a mom and as a working badass lady. You can do both. You can have both. And if anyone else tells you otherwise, you send them to me. Okay?

So let’s dig into this.

STEPHANIE WILSON: NOT BEING HOME TO COOK

First, I talked to Stephanie Wilson. Stephanie is the owner of Symbiotic Marketing and she recently went back to school to finish her master’s degree. Which can we get an amen hallelujah on the intensity and the passion that has to go into getting your master’s degree? I completely applaud her from the beginning.

So she told me that her mom guilt came on strong when she realized she was not going to be at home to cook her home-cooked meals that her son and husband are used to getting from her. And guys, this really rocked her world. She’s thinking, if I don’t feed them, then they’re not gonna eat well and then I’ve let them down. Then this whole downward spiral starts and her son and her husband even joked that they would be totally fine eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, like, they’re totally good. But Stephanie has put this pressure on herself that if she does not cook home-cooked meals for these fellas every single day that she is failing as a mom.

Holy mom guilt, right? Like, let’s bring all of that straight to the surface. This rocked her world so much that she even started questioning whether or not she should continue on with her degree. I mean, guys, this is the intensity that mom guilt brings on us. It makes us want to put everything we’ve ever wanted and we’ve been working towards on the back burner so that we can put everyone else first. And while I’m 100% onboard that we have to take care of our family, we have to care for our children — if you don’t take care of yourself first, there’s going to be nothing left to give to them.

So here’s the pivot movement. Stephanie and I had a quick conversation on Facebook and I reminded her that this is temporary. You don’t have to feel bad for needing some extra help during the 14 or so weeks she is investing in herself. She even came up with her own solutions that she has in-laws that were literally five minutes down the street and are eager to help in some form or fashion. And it’s okay to lean out and ask for them to help.

During this time, we even talked about meal-planning and how she can utilize a crockpot — the savior of all food debacles. The crockpot is probably the easiest way to overcome dinner problems. Because you’re like, ok, guys, I’m not gonna be home, but I want to make sure everyone is eating really well. I’m gonna toss it in the crockpot, and when you get home, it will be ready and all you have to do a scoop it out. I mean, it’s literally like a magical unicorn in the kitchen.

The other great thing that she’s going to start doing is something I called compound-cooking, which is making a whole lot of something and then divvying it up either into proportions for different meals for the week or something you can reuse in other recipes. So, like mashed potatoes, for instance, you can have mashed potatoes one way one night, but then you can slap that sucker on top of a casserole and you have Shepherd’s Pie.

JILL NASH: the snapping

I love this next perspective. This is from Jill Nash, who is the founder and president of Advantage Media Promotions. Her kiddos are all grown and out of the house, but she shared some really great insight that I think a lot of us are going to be able to relate to.

Jill said that mom guilt would hit her the hardest when she would yell out of frustration. So when you have that snapping point, that moment where you’re like, I can’t take one more thing. You’re talking and the TV is going and the phone’s ringing and there’s so much going on and they say that 11th mom and you turn and snap — mom guilt almost immediately starts seeping out of your pores.

I don’t know about you, but I immediately go to oh my gosh, I have traumatized this kid. I’ve completely ruined them. I’m a shit bag of a mom. What do they think of me now? The overthinking in your brain goes 1000 miles an hour.

Jill said the pivot point for her was slowing down, getting on their level, and acknowledging it; apologizing. Hey, I’m sorry. Mommy had this going on. This is what was happening. I’m really sorry that I hurt your feelings. And ask for their forgiveness.

I think a lot of times we discount the fact that kids are humans and they do have feelings and they can understand things to a certain level, depending on their age. But she said that usually opened them up and their hearts were happy again and they were able to communicate better and honestly even more open to correction on an ongoing basis.

That doesn’t make you a bad mom. It literally does not make you a bad mom. It makes you a human. And where you get to come in with your beautiful mom saving grace is to pause, look at the little faces, get down on a knee, hold them, and say I’m so sorry, baby. Mommy’s had a very stressful day and you didn’t deserve that. You didn’t do anything wrong. That was a reaction based off of mommy stress. And I should not talk to you that way. I’m so sorry. Are you willing to forgive me?

Taryn blake: missing activities

This next mom guilt story comes from Taryn Blake. She is a wedding planner and owner of Taryn Blake Events. And you know what? As a wedding planner, that takes up a lot of nights and weekends. Brides and grooms are not usually doing wedding planning on Tuesdays at 3PM No, it’s every weekend. It’s every evening. It’s lots of emails. It’s lots of communication. It’s a lot of events. Taryn’s mom guilt story got me right down in the soul because I thought, oh, my gosh, I can feel your literal pain.

She booked a wedding months way, way, way in advance to only discover that this wedding fell on her daughter’s first birthday. Oh, my gosh. I know all of you just felt that down into your soul. There is nothing quite like missing a birthday that makes you feel like the worst mom on the planet. Is it true? Absolutely not. Does it feel true? Uh, yeah, for like days and nights and lots of years. She said she’s also had to miss baseball games, school activities, family events. All of these things are hard.

So when you’re a working mom, you are often sacrificing time one way or another. If you’re at work and you’re missing things for your kiddos, you feel guilty about that. And if you’re with your kiddos and you’re missing things for work, then you feel guilty about that. So when is it ever actually perfect? Like when do we just do the things we need to do and not feel guilty?

Well, I’ll tell you when: right now.

When you’re listening to this episode, you may stop that cycle because when you are at work, you get to be you. You get to be the working rock-star that you are. And when you’re at home and you’re with your kiddos, be at home with your kiddos. Be present where you are and be the rock-star mom that you are with them.

Taryn’s pivot point she said is that she talks openly with her kiddos about working weekends, how it supports the family, and that she gets to make a difference in people’s lives. She gets to do something that really, really makes her happy. And because she’s happy, she gets to be a happier person in general.

**And this one, holy mic drop**

She said, one day isn’t going to make or break her as a mother. She just does her best on the other days. Such simplistic, beautiful advice.

Heather Manning: Date Nights

My last mom guilt story to share with you today is from Heather Manning. She is my beautiful sister-in-law and a mama of three and one in heaven. Heather shared some really great insight about date nights.

Okay, so Heather was telling me that she’s always feeling guilty for going out on date nights. Like if she goes out, then that’s like asking someone else to raise her children for her, and she can’t possibly do that. So we’re not going out ever, period.

Mom guilt likes to kick in because if you’re out having fun and you’re not with your kids, then you’re a shitty mom because you’re having fun and they’re not. Well, I can guarantee you that if they’re at their grandparents, they’re probably having a whole lot more fun than you are. Okay? They’re getting whatever snacks they want, and the special coloring book comes out, and heaven knows that Grandma and Grandpa all make the best food. Like, they’re doing fine.

She shared this concept with her family and she said that she got a new perspective that having a hot meal with her husband and enjoying one another’s company is not selfish. It’s actually 100% necessary. And she also discovered that her kids need just as much of a break as she does. They need to run around and have some free non-mom and dad time. And you need to run around and have some free non-kid time.

I think it’s so important to remember that before the kids — it was you and your spouse; it was you and your partner. And just because kids come along doesn’t mean you should throw that foundation out the window. Investing in your partnership is essential because that is a flame you have to continuously work to keep lit. It’s not just some ever-burning fire that keeps going on and on and on. Sometimes you have to work at it, and sometimes that requires not having the freaking baby shark soundtrack going on in the background.

And in the same respect, you are a woman. You have friends. You want to do things that maybe are outside of work and motherhood. You have to fill your tank. I mean, I know I’ve said it before, but the airplane analogy does not lie because if you’re not putting on your own oxygen mask first, how are you going to save anyone around you?

Thank You, Gutsy Tribe!

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