How to Cope With Parenting Guilt
It’s Normal For Parents To Feel Guilty.
Feelings of guilt are a completely normal emotion if you’re a parent, and it really is such a personal thing. Personally, I like the some but not all approach. Many parents will experience guilt, but not all parents will.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to how you should or shouldn’t feel. It’s different for everyone. Like I said, it’s personal! I don’t know how it feels for you, and neither would I want to assume, but what I do know is that if you do feel guilty:
- Your feelings are very real and valid
- These feelings are natural and normal
- You're not alone or the only parent to experience these feelings
I see feelings of guilt come up a lot with the parents I see in my practice, especially around sleep.
Finding it hard to jilt the guilt?
If you’re struggling to jilt the guilt, consider these three suggestions that will hopefully help:
1) Ask yourself if this is honestly working for you and you baby? If it’s working for you all is well. This is all that matters.
2) Acknowledge how you’re feeling but try not to pay too much attention to it. Try to think of the feeling as a cloud. Say hello to the cloud, but then let it drift slowly on by!
3) Reassure yourself that this feeling is normal, you are not alone and it’s temporary. Most feelings do pass given a bit of time!
You're not alone
Sometimes it can help to speak to other parents to get some perspective and realise you're not alone in how you're feeling. Mother of two Clare Fisher of @traveltheworldfamily says of her experience with parenting guilt, 'As a busy mum that runs a business from home with two children, a pup, and a baby on the way, parenting guilt was all too familiar for me at the beginning when I tried to maintain the success I had achieved before becoming a mum.'
'Now, my absolute main priority is being a mum. Looking after these little human beings who rely totally on me is the most important job. Nothing comes before it, and for that reason, I very rarely feel parenting guilt these days. I still feel it sometimes, but over the years I have stopped beating myself up, because I am a human being that is only able to do my best.'
Clare also speaks about taking a balanced approach to life and parenting, 'I have learned the importance of carving out allocated time for work and mum duties, to ensure that neither are neglected, as well as always being prepared for the unexpected with kids. We always make sure we do fun things, making memories, which helps us all to feel like we make the most of our time together.'
'Yes I could work harder, yes I could put more hours in, yes I could earn more money and be more dedicated, but I can’t get this time back with them. I want them to remember that I was there to pick them up from school and take them to the park afterwards. I want them to remember my face in the crowd at their school plays, I want them to remember the home cooked meals I made them with love. I may not be as successful in my career as some, but me and my babies are happy, and that’s what matters the most.'
Founder of homeware brand Tilly and Sage, and mother of three Stacy says, 'Having had twins seven weeks ago, I often have major parenting guilt because I don’t have two pairs of hands, and can’t always give both girls the attention they need. I think they’ll grow up with patience being one of their key skills, they’ll have to!'
Ellie @elliemaisieandherbabies stresses the importance of trusting yourself, 'Always trust your instincts. If your gut feeling is telling you something, you shouldn’t ignore it. Don’t doubt yourself, question everything and remember YOU are the parent to your baby. I’m so glad I now know to take this tip, ready for baby number 2 who is on the way.'
When it all feels like too much, remember to breathe! Allow yourself the time to get back into the rhythm of things when your little one's needs and habits shift, and remember that as one routine changes, another begins! Whether your guilt or worry comes from one place or several, parenthood is all about learning what works, and adapting as your children grow. And trust me, when you take better care of yourself, you’ll almost certainly be better able to take care of your little ones.