I’ve been having a lot of parent guilt and it's fucking exhausting! I don't usually blog about this sort of thing but I thought, why not? A lot of mom's are dealing with guilt, so here are my thoughts on the matter.
I just finished running the Kickstarter Campaign to crowdfund for my first big production run for Leche Libre. It was a herculean effort, and luckily was very successful. Now that the campaign is over, I’m looking into my future and realize I still have A LOT of work to do to fulfill my orders and actually do the work of manufacturing the run.
I’ve been feeling really guilty about all the time I’m putting into my business. It's awesome to be coming out of a successful Kickstarter and I’m super excited to grow my business, but at the same time, it's been a challenge, balancing the stress and the additional work of the kickstarter with my family stuff. I want to be an awesome mom, but I also want to be an awesome business person.
Leche Libre has always been a one woman show. I’m aware that I can be a work-a-holic and I try not to push to hard so I can still spend time with my kids, but the amount of work I need to put into Leche Libre is substantial and with the added Kickstarter stuff, I’ve been feeling a lot of parent guilt about if I am prioritizing my job over my kids and if I’m being a bad mom.
It sucks feeling guilty all the time. It takes up a lot of energy I don’t have to spend right now. Also, I’ve noticed it sets a negative intention. The more guilty I feel about whether I’m being a “bad mom” the more of a bad mom, I actually become. I have been very impatient and curt with my kids lately which makes me feel even worse.
If you’re looking at my blog, the probability is you’re a mom too. I feel like parent guilt is something a lot of us experience. I spent a long time journaling about my feelings of guilt to day and thought I would share the self talk I’m working on in case it is also helpful to anyone else. The reasons we feel guilty may all be different but I feel like the answers on dealing with the guilt cover most situations.
Self talk to deal with guilt
1) Positive Intention:
I have been spending a lot of time looking for the ways in which I feel like I’m failing at parenting. I’m focusing on the negative so that is all I see. I need to flip the script and do the same for the positive. I really need to look at my parenting and acknowledge all the ways in which I am doing a good job. I have a tendency of putting more weight on the negative then the positive and so the negative in my mind seems bigger than it actually is. I need refocus on the positive and see it outweighs the negative. At base level, my kids live in a safe place with all their psychological needs and above that, they feel loved and are generally happy kids. The more I can focus on my being a good Mom, the more of a good Mom I can be.
To do: make a list of all the things you do well as a parent. Focus on how you are doing well and rephrase in your mind that you are a good parent instead of focusing on what you’re not doing. Pick ONE thing you want to do better as a parent and make a positive intention to try to work on this on a daily basis.
2) Focus on my priorities:
In the past I have weighed which I prioritize more, my kids or my work. I always say my kids take top bill, but then there are sometimes when I actually need to prioritize my work for a bit because of a time sensitive thing and I feel guilty about my kids. What I have come to realize is my number one priority should be my own happiness. I know that sounds very selfish, but the more I focus on what I need to do to make myself happy, the more I will be able to be a parent and do my work from a positive and happy place. When I am at war about which one I prioritize more, I feel like I am always fighting a losing battle. When I focus on me in a positive, loving way, I can be open to being my best self in all the roles of my life.
To do: make a list with three columns marked self, parent, work. Make a list in each column of things you enjoy doing in each section of your life and try to bring them into your daily life.
3) Stop manufacturing problems:
A lot of my problems come from the fact that I struggle with the idea that I am a person worthy of being happy and having success. I think things have to be hard in order to be earned. So I take small issues and make them into bigger problems in my mind by worrying and obsessing about them. I do this a lot with parenting. I worry that small behaviors, like my daughter’s sassing back to me which I view as negative are proof that I am a bad parent instead of just seeing them as a temporary behavior in a phase of her development. Sure, I need to talk to her about positive communication, but I need to practice that in myself too. I need to stop beating myself up over small things. I need to assert that I am a person worthy of having good things and allowing them to come to me easily.
To do: Meditate on the mantra: “I am fine just as I am. Things are whole and fine just as the are.” Let go of the idea that small problems reflect a greater problem. Work on accepting things as they are and letting go of perfectionism.
4) Be gentle with myself and take it one day at a time:
When life gets stressful, it is hard to deal with small frustrations. I lose my cool easily and yell at my kids a lot. I am always pushing hard in every area of my life. It is hard for me to let go of being perfect. It is important for me to focus on the fact that one’s best isn’t always the same. My best at a chill time in my life isn’t going to be the same as my best when I’m busy. The more I beat myself up the more stress I feel and the more yelling I will do. I need to just accept that I am human and that having relationships is hard. We all make mistakes.
To do: Work on accepting yourself as imperfect and forgive yourself for making mistakes. Don’t be afraid to apologize to your kids if you make a mistake.
I hope this is helpful! I’m going to work on all this stuff myself! Ok, back to life now!