I sat burdened for days after Matt and I got home from vacation. I was mad at my body for not feeling well and keeping me from fully enjoying my vacation with my daughter. I was angry that outside distractions interrupted quality time as a family, for me at least.
As my therapist and I processed all these emotions, I realized I was taking on the blame and beating myself up with mom guilt.
How to Let Go of Mom Guilt
Process Your Emotions
Our emotions are designed to serve us. Even the “bad” ones.
I spent so much time trying to push them out of the way while on vacation, they followed me home. When I finally sat down to think about everything I was feeling, I realized some of those emotions were valid.
It’s okay to feel anger when someone else’s urgent interrupts your important. Anger was a right response. It’s also normal to feel disappointment when you struggle to climb a long flight of stairs. But, to be mad at my body? No.
I would never get mad at someone for not feeling well. So why should I be mad at me? When I think about how fearfully and wonderfully our bodies are made, I actually stand in awe. Even when I don’t feel well, because it means my body is doing what it was designed to do by signaling me that something is not working right.
My favorite way to process emotions is by putting pen to paper and free writing every thought without editing. Journaling never ceases to amaze me. It always provides more peace and clarity.
Talking it out and processing it with someone is also a really effective way to let go of mom guilt. If you’re not comfortable with a counselor, try talking to a good friend or pastor if you have one.
Set Healthy Boundaries, No Mom Guilt Allowed
Boundaries are very helpful tool. They help us live by our priorities. When we live a priorities based life, we’re less likely to wrestle with mom guilt.
One because we’ll have more mental and emotional energy. Two, that energy frees us to live more intentionally. And I was very intentional about having quality time with my daughter.
No outside distractions.
That’s the biggest boundary I’d drawn for vacation. I’d even deleted every social media app off my phone before we left. Once we got to California, I ended up leaving my phone behind at the Airbnb whenever we would go out.
So, I was really frustrated when someone else’s urgent threatened to interrupt our important. Knowing there was nothing I could do to help while I was in California, I chose to wait to respond until I got home from vacation.
But, I wrestled with guilt for the rest of our trip which was really aggravating since it distracted me from my daughter who I only get to see a few times a year.
Talking this through with my therapist helped assure me I’m not a mean person for making someone wait. That there was nothing wrong with guarding my time, and that in this case, it was the healthy and right thing to do.
With guilt out of the way, it’s much easier to appreciate boundaries as a necessary act of self-love and self-compassion.
Treat Yourself How You Would Treat Others
“Why do I have to be so anxious?”
“I have too many aches and pains.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
These thoughts plagued my vacation.
I didn’t realize how much I berate myself until recently. It was like the scales fell off my eyes, and I could finally see the pressure I’d been putting myself under.
Pressure to measure up. Pressure to perform. Pressure to be “on” for my daughter. Then, beating myself up for not living up to my expectations.
All this time, I thought I was fighting the world; me against everyone else, trying to prove my value, worth and place when really I was fighting me.
By the time the therapy session was over, I was able to look back over our vacation fondly. I realized there were lots of fun moments and that everyone had a good time. In other words, I didn’t fail anyone.
Any time you catch yourself in the middle of negative self talk, stop. You deserve to be treated with kindness even, maybe especially, by you.
You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.Buddha
Or as Jesus put it, “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Wishing you that freedom,