As a parent, it’s common to feel guilty about, well pretty much everything! Questioning your decisions, worrying you aren’t spending enough quality time with the kids, and feeling like you aren’t a good enough parent are all common guilt traps which pretty much every parent falls into at some stage.
So, how can you stop the guilt and just enjoy being a parent? Here, we’ll look at some of the best ways to overcome common parent guilt traps.
Let Go Of Other People’s Views
You’ll find one of the biggest frustrations when you’re a parent, is the views of others. The minute you give birth, it suddenly feels like every man and his dog have an opinion on what you should be doing.
You’ll receive opinions from your friends, family, colleagues, other parents, strangers on the street, and even from those who don’t have kids! It can be exhausting, frustrating and can leave you feeling extremely guilty that you’re not doing anything right. However, what you need to remember is that those who do criticize and tell you what you’re doing wrong, are often feeling the exact same way as a parent.
It’s sometimes easier to focus our attention on what we feel other people are doing wrong, than to admit to our own shortcomings. So, don’t take their views to heart. They may be genuinely trying to be helpful too, but at the end of the day this is your parenting journey. What others think and feel about it really doesn’t matter. Let go of other people’s views and parent your child however you feel is necessary.
Stop Being A Perfectionist
Sometimes, parents feel guilty because they are trying too hard to be perfect, often without even realizing it.
For example, you could start to feel guilty because you haven’t cooked as many meals from scratch as you think you should have lately. You know your child needs a healthy, balanced diet, yet you’ve been feeding them too many take out meals. This makes you feel guilty, and like you’re a bad parent for not being stricter about yours and your child’s diet.
This is just one example, but there are so many that you’ll likely face throughout the day. No parent is perfect. There is literally no such thing as a perfect parent. You’re going to make mistakes and the more you strive to try and be perfect, the more miserable you’re going to be. So, stop, and give yourself a break! Things don’t have to be perfect, and all that will happen if you do constantly strive and fail for perfection, is you’ll miss out on those precious moments with your child.
Make Real Mom / Dad Friends
It’s going to be really helpful for you to find real mom and dad friends you can socialize with. This means, other parents who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is!
There is nothing more refreshing than meeting a fellow parent who openly admits to how difficult parenting can be. So, if you find your current mom friends are largely concerned with being perfect, constantly gushing about how amazing the experience is and how amazing their children are, it could be time to expand your circle!
The people we surround ourselves with ultimately impact how we feel about ourselves. If you’re having trouble meeting real parents in your local area, why not go online? Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever before to meet like minded people. You’ll find real moms on social media sites, forums and even through great, honest blogs.
In fact, we have a forum ourselves we’d love to have you join! Membership is absolutely free, and you can start talking with other parents in a matter of minutes. To learn more and sign up, please click here.
Once you make some mom friends who are happy to keep it real, you should start to notice you feel a lot less guilty about your parenting decisions!
Overcoming Guilt After Having Another Child
If you’ve had another child, it’s common to feel guilty about not spending enough time with one of them. Or, maybe you’re feeling guilty because you haven’t felt the same instant attachment to your second child as you did with your first. Whatever the reasons, it seems the more children you have, the guiltier you start to feel. It’s normal, but it’s not going to help you or your kids if you feel guilty 24/7.
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of having another child, start focusing on the positives. Sure, you may not be able to dedicate as much one on one time with your older child now that baby has come along. However, the baby phase doesn’t last forever, and in the meantime your partner, or family could potentially help out a little more. For example, your partner could spend more time with your older child while you take care of baby. That doesn’t just help you, it also helps to strengthen their bond together, leaving you feeling much less guilty!
Always Follow Your Gut
Another reason you may feel guilty are the times when something went wrong because you didn’t trust your gut. Perhaps the number one rule of parenting you should always follow, is to trust your instincts. If they are telling you that something is wrong, believe them!
A mother’s instincts are extremely strong and very rarely wrong. So, learn to trust them and you can guarantee you won’t feel the guilt that comes with ignoring them.
These are just some of the common guilt traps parents can fall into. However, as you can see, there are ways to overcome them. It’s worth pointing out too – a little guilt is actually a good thing. It can help you to take a step back and assess what you might need to change as a parent. However, mostly, parents feel guilty about things they really don’t need to feel guilty about. Remember, it’s a journey and it is 100% unique to you. The main thing is to just enjoy the ride!