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Ladies, can we agree that everything changes when we become mothers?
We may have had an amazing career or a life that we had always dreamed of but as soon as that little baby makes his or her appearance, everything changes. And with it can come some pretty heavy mom guilt.
Whether you decide to continue with your career or stay at home with your child, overcoming mom guilt is something that we each have to deal with.
I am thrilled to have 2 amazing ladies with me on this episode talking about how they came into motherhood, what their lives were like before children, how having children changed their lives, and how doing life together has helped them fight their own battles with mom guilt.
Lara Schulte & Jenn Rout decided to create a podcast and a community where moms can find authentic relationships with other women. These women are moms, yes. But they are also employees, wives, and bosses.
Lara and Jenn are here to offer support and encouragement to all women, whether they are moms or not. So if you don’t have kids, stick around. I think you’ll be encouraged.
The Need for Vulnerability
Before I had kids, I would have considered myself a fairly vulnerable person. I didn’t mind sharing myself and my struggles with others. But enter the kids and things changed.
It was scary for me to be vulnerable as a mom. What if I shared that I felt like running away and the other moms judged me? What if I was having a hard day and I spoke it out loud and the other moms acted like they couldn’t identify with me?
This kind of situation can bring on the mom guilt.
Vulnerability can be seen as a weakness by some. It can make you afraid to share your true feelings with others if you think you’re going to be judged as a bad mom.
If you think about it though, vulnerability is the true key to connection. Think about the last time you allowed yourself to be vulnerable in a group of women.
Did you get judged or did you get empathetic feedback from the other women?
It is my experience that when you share that you’re having a hard day, most other women will tell you that they also experience days like that. They may even thank you for sharing because they’re feeling that way and haven’t shared it.
Avoiding the Motherhood Comparison Trap
I don’t know about you all but I struggled with comparing myself to other mothers for a long time.
Jenn and Lara met in a mom’s group but I found that even the moms’ groups were too much for me sometimes. I felt a constant “Pinterest perfect pressure” but I am not and never will be a “Pinterest perfect mother.”
It’s not that I didn’t try. I did. I did the huge birthday parties and all the things a “good mom” is supposed to do. And at the end of the day, I asked myself what in the world I was doing, because none of it felt right to me.
I don’t think my mom experienced feeling so strongly that she wasn’t a good mother like I do or like any of us do. Our moms didn’t put that pressure on themselves to be so perfect.
The Struggles of the Current Generation of Moms
The current generation of moms finds themselves in an entirely different world than our mothers did.
Women are having children later in life, by an average of 6 years later from the generation immediately preceding ours. Moms have more years to establish themselves in a career they love before having children.
But that alone brings up a ton of questions and working mom guilt and not feeling good enough.
The work-outside-the-home mom feels guilty that she’s not spending enough time with her kids while the stay-at-home mom feels guilty that she’s not using her education or making a significant contribution to the family.
We tend to judge ourselves so harshly based on what we think we know about other moms.
You see the mom dropping her kid off at preschool and she’s dressed to the nines while you’re in sweats and you have spit-up on your shoulder. And you automatically go into, “I’m not good enough” mode.
Lara and Jenn recorded an episode on comparison…you should listen.
When the “I’m Not Good Enough” Feeling Is Taking Over
We all struggle with it from time to time. We get down on ourselves, we compare ourselves to others and we decide we aren’t good enough.
And this time, we aren’t just snapping out of it.
One of the things Jenn and Lara recommend on those especially hard days is reminding yourself that you tried hard to do the right thing. Maybe today isn’t as good as yesterday. Maybe you didn’t have the same energy today to do all the things. Maybe circumstances were just beyond your control all day and things just sucked.
Whatever the situation, remind yourself that you did what you could. It might not have been perfect but you gave all you had to give. And who knows? Maybe tomorrow will be better.
The other tip they shared is to be very clear about what it is you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t work while you have kids if that’s what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that being a mom isn’t enough if that’s what you want to spend all of your time doing.
Get clear on your priorities and then figure out how you can pursue them. Maybe you just want to feel happy.
Okay, what does that mean to you? Start figuring out what steps you can take to get there and do one small thing every day to move in that direction.
Ditching the Mom Guilt
As a coach to women, I see women every single day making choices driven by guilt. They aren’t willing to set up boundaries that give them space for themselves.
Listen, ladies, we need time for ourselves to take a step back and reassess where we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re headed. But as soon as we try to take that time, the old mom guilt rears its ugly head and we give in.
I firmly believe that guilt is the primary emotion that stops women from investing in themselves.
If you never learn to set boundaries to create space for taking care of yourself, you will bever be able to move forward on your goals. You will never get healthier. You will never meet your career goals.
Think about this – guilt is an emotion that indicates that we think we may have hurt someone we loved or done something wrong. If you’re doing the best job you can do, there is no need for guilt.
Taking time for yourself is not doing anything to hurt your family. On the contrary, you are helping them! When you take the time to pursue your passions and interests, your kids get a better mom.
Ladies, ditch the #momguilt.
Cultural Priorities vs. Real Priorities
When we as moms think about priorities, we have to distinguish between our real priorities and the priorities that the culture sets for us.
For example, the culture tells me that my house needs to be spotless. But I don’t give 2 craps about whether my house is spotless. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like a clean house and my house isn’t dirty.
But if the kids have their stuff spread out and people are coming over, it ticks me off to feel like I have to get everything looking like nobody lives here just to look a certain way.
Another example is the “mom bod” vs. the “pre-baby bod.” Culture pushes moms to get back to the exact size and shape they were before they had their baby. But what if that’s not my priority?
If your priority is to work out and get healthy, go for it! But don’t kill yourself just to look the way the culture tells you moms should look.
We have so much information today on the internet and what it offers. We don’t have to wonder what other people’s priorities are; it’s right there on your Instagram feed every damn day.
We have to get good at ignoring all the noise and learn to trust our gut and do what we know is right for us and our family.
You Matter as Much as Your Kids
Go back and read that heading again. Now say it aloud with me…
I matter just as much as my kids.
Back to what we talked about earlier, what are your passions? What do you love?
And honestly, if it’s motherhood and you just want to absolutely rock motherhood, do it! Even within motherhood, you have certain talents and abilities that will help you to be an amazing mom and will make it so much more enjoyable for you every day.
If you feel depleted and you lack energy, you won’t be able to show up for your family or yourself. If you love organization, organize your house. If you love to plan events, plan fun things for your family.
Do the things that fill you up and your family will benefit from it.
No #momguilt allowed.
Connect with Lara and Jenn here:
Jenn’s and Lara’s podcast – Generation Mom
Join the Generation Mom community for more encouragement!
As always, thank you for listening!
I beg to disagree that the previous generation did not have Mom guilt. I am 71, and I felt that many times. I was able to stay home with my daughters until my youngest was in high school. We lived at a time when we were supposed to burn bras, etc. I eventually was able to have a career in nursing, which worked out because of a divorce after 23 years of marriage. Every generation has some sort of Mom guilt that occurred. My Mother never complained about it, but thinking back now she did things for us and not for her happiness. We need to be grateful for what we learned and try to continue to make raising children better for the next generation. Thanks for listening to my rant!
Thank you so much for leaving your thoughts! You are spot on…mom guilt has evolved as a function of our culture changing. It looks and feels different over the years. I am so glad you shared and I am with you…continue to be better for each generation! Go Mama go!