By Ildiko Markus
Mum Guilt. That feeling that we are all so familiar with and somehow it never tends to go
away. As if the juggling act of motherhood and career wasn’t challenging enough, we also
tend to have mum guilt creeping up on us adding more pressure into our daily lives. What
I’ve come to realise that the best thing that we as Mums can do is to know that it is a totally natural feeling, and we need to normalize and accept it. Here are some effective strategies that can help you manage your conflicting emotions, reduce the pressure of guilt, and remind yourself that you are doing your best:
1. Stay authentic to yourself: Don’t give into peer pressure, feeling judged by societal
expectations or step into the trap of comparing yourself to others. We are all unique
with our wonderful qualities and our own upbringing and personal experiences. So,
someone else’s opinion is purely from their own perspective not yours. Stay true to
yourself and your own values and always listen to your intuition, the voice of your
soul is seldom wrong.
2. Prioritize self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential for improving your overall
wellbeing and alleviate guilt. You can’t keep looking after your loved ones when you
are running empty. Prioritize self-care activities daily, even for a short period of time,
that help you relax and recharge. Be mindful of your internal energy levels and aim to
stay aligned with your intentions and thoughts.
3. Set realistic expectations for yourself: Recognize that you cannot, and you don’t
have to do everything on your own. Asking for help and sharing responsibilities is not
a sign of weakness or failure, it is delegating tasks that can be done by others whilst
freeing up some of your own time.
4. Focus on quality time vs. quantity time: Be intentional with the time that you
spend with your children. Engage in activities that you both enjoy, create meaningful
connection, and make lasting memories.
5. Set clear boundaries: Create strict boundaries between work and home life. When
you are home, be fully present with your children and give them your undivided
attention. Set your phone on airplane mode to avoid any distractions.
6. Practise open communication: Take time to talk to your children about your work
and why it is important and the benefits that it brings to your family. Share with
them your successes and challenges you are facing, help them feel connected to
your work life.
7. Focus on the positive impact you have and the role model you are: Shift your
attention to the positive ways you are impacting your children's lives. Reflect on the
love, guidance, and support you provide and the positive experiences they have
because of your presence and efforts and the role model you are with all your
professional achievements and successes.
8. Embrace imperfection: There is no such thing as a perfect mum. Embrace your
imperfections and forgive yourself for any perceived mistakes. Focus on the love and
effort you put into raising your children rather than dwelling on any perceived
shortcomings. Remember your children just want to spend time with you, they are not
looking for the perfect mum. Be the mum that you needed growing up.
9. Practice positive self-talk and compassion: Be mindful of the language you use
when talking to yourself. Your self-talk is incredible powerful and can determine your
mindset and your energy levels. When you notice the negative self-talk creeping in,
ask yourself this question: “Would you talk to your daughter or your best friend the
way you talk to yourself?”, if not, then adjust your language accordingly. Challenge
your negative thoughts and ask if they are factually true or was that just someone
else’s opinion of you that you adopted? Reframe your negative thoughts and replace
them with positive affirmations.
10. Celebrate your small daily wins: Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments,
no matter how small or how big they may seem. Acknowledge and appreciate the
efforts you make every single day and reflect on the things that you are grateful for.
Shifting your mindset to positive things will automatically shift your personal
perspective to be more positive too.
Remember, managing mum guilt is an ongoing process, and it's normal to experience this emotion from time to time. Be patient with yourself, give yourself permission to make
mistakes, learn, and grow as a mother. Practice self-compassion, and focus on the love and care you give to your children.
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