How To Stop Mom Guilt From Making You Feel Like A Terrible Mother

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How To Stop Mom Guilt From Making You Feel Like A Terrible Mother
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You may have, at one time or another, experienced "mom guilt" and felt like a bad mother. At times, even like a horrible one.

That's normal! However, the feeling can be too intense, or it may stretch for more prolonged periods. Eventually it becomes intolerable, like a nagging voice inside your head. When this takes place, your days seem to be tainted by the color gray.

Nothing feels too satisfactory. Nothing feels quite right. What is going on?

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Of course, there are individual differences according to your child's age. However, I would like to describe here the general moods and situations that can put you in a predicament where you're saying, "I feel like a horrible mother."

First of all, the good news is essential. If you indeed were a horrible mother, chances are you wouldn't know it or feel it. Abusers, for example, aren't in touch with how they harm their children.

It's true, though, that we need not be that extreme, and there's always space for improvement. The fact that you are reading this means you are interested self-refinement and being better.

So, why do you feel like a horrible mother?

You come with a hard drive in your brain. Your brain in motion — with all of its connections and situations — becomes your mind. Because of this, everyone has different accounts, thoughts, memories, and perceptions.

Motherhood is a complex activity, because it asks you to perform a series of actions while our culture tells us that mothers must only experience certain feelings while parenting. And our culture considers some feelings forbidden and taboo.

Moods come and go. It's how you feel at any time about a particular situation, or nothing at all. At least not consciously.

You're entitled to all your feelings as a parent. 

The point is that you, Mom, are entitled to different moods due to various circumstances.

You can be happy because your job goes well, or pissed because the washer broke, or neutral because you just went for a walk. You don't need to be always in a good mood.

Don't allow your negative emotions to spill onto your kids.

You do need to get your bad feelings under control and not regularly to take it out in your child. In other words, your mood is yours alone.

But if you're the new mom or a perfectionistic one, you might believe you should only have one particular way of feeling all the time. If you slept or if you didn't. If your child is sick, it had nothing to do with whether you had an altercation with your partner or didn't.

Mom, I have news worth repeating! Your moods are yours; you are entitled to have them. It's not a crime.

Furthermore, if you allow them in your life with no judgment and without spilling them onto your kids, you will feel much better sooner. 

Your children are very aware of moods and will understand.

You can always explain that you are in a particular spirit. Feeling horrible never helps.

Different situations activate different parts of your brain connections, which together with your experiences in the environment are called the mind. These responses may bring up moods. See how things are circular?

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Some people are better in some situations than others. For some, sickness doesn't activate traumatic memories. So if your child gets a little fever, it's not a big deal. If someone had a mother who died early in her life, for example, the situation of a bit of fever in her child might bring a lot of feelings.

For other people, it's hard to set limits. So, having to set boundaries with your daughter or son feels tough. Women, in general, have been told they must be sweet and gentle. If a woman has a very loud kid and she needs to set limits, she may feel weird and uncomfortable when asserting her authority.

In essence, women may feel horrible as mothers because of the following reason:

  • They're not aware of their different moods, so they lump them all together into "I'm a horrible mother" statement.
  • They cannot separate the spirit they're feeling from the task of mothering.
  • They believe they should only feel one certain way around their kids (happy, loved, etc.).
  • They don't take into account that it's normal that different situations call for various forms of feeling.
  • Perfectionism may get in their way.

So what can you do about it when you're concerned that you're not a good mother?

If you are not hitting your child and you're not always yelling at your child:

  • Relax.
  • Recall that you are human.
  • Explain clearly to your children that you are not upset with them.
  • Talk about what it means to be in a mood with them.
  • Allow yourself to be a complicated person that can feel bad about some things without it saying that you're horrible in everything you do.

On the other hand, if you're hitting your child and you're always yelling, you might need help. Disconnecting your mood from the job of parenting can be learned. Instead of feeling guilty, put your resolve cap on, and ask for help!

It's never a shame to ask for help. To the contrary, it shows your strength and ability to face what is most uncomfortable and scary for you. You and your children deserve it.

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Iréné Celcer is a psychotherapist and an author working and living in Atlanta, Georgia and Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information, visit her website.