5 Tips to fight the Mommy Guilt

Posted September 21, 2015 by Julie in Parenting, Tips and Resources, TopPosts / 151 Comments

Mommy guilt is a topic new Moms get familiar with pretty quickly. There is so much we want to do for our child, think we should be doing, and yet aren’t able to for whatever reason. I think we are being unfair to ourselves for allowing ourselves to feel all this guilt.


Tips to fight the Mommy Guilt


  1. Get out of your own head! Most of the guilt is caused by your own brain over-analyzing things and telling you what you should be doing and comparing it to what you’re not. Let your heart lead, and if your heart is content, shut the brain up.
  2. Repeat: Good for her, not for me. (Thanks Amy Poehler) A lot of guilt is caused by comparing yourself to others. We’re all different and have different challenges and situations. Let’s not compare ourselves to the moms who appear more put together than we are, and then we won’t feel guilt for any (perceived) shortcomings.
  3. Think about the Why. Why are you feeling this way? Can you pinpoint a specific cause to your guilt? Sometimes when you acknowledge what is bothering you, the nagging inside our minds goes away.
  4. Find alternatives. If the nagging does not go away, can we do something else to address the issue? If the underlying cause of the guilt is time away from children while we are at work, we can make the time we spend with them on the weekends extra special and meaningful and maybe take them somewhere new and exciting.
  5. Forgive yourself. We can’t do it all, we’re just not able to be in all the places all the time. Decisions need to be made for the good of our families and ourselves, and sometimes that may mean letting someone down. Forgive yourself and allow yourself to focus on the good things you’re already doing, instead of dwelling on everything else you may be leaving out.
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Has Mommy guilt been a huge burden to you? Share some ways you combat the guilt. What do you feel guilty about?

Tips to fight Mommy Guilt checklist

Now print out this lovely reminder to fight that guilt!

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JuliepicI'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work.
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151 responses to “5 Tips to fight the Mommy Guilt

  1. I love the comparison one. It is so true! We all have our own needs and personalities, we can’t all live the same lives! Thanks for sharing!

    • Comparison can definitely be dangerous. But I’m here to support you and say that you’re doing great mama even if someone else is doing something different.

  2. This is something you don’t hear a lot of. Probably because most moms *are* comparing themselves to other moms– me included! And I just have to stop myself and say, “you know what? I am doing my best, we are doing this the way we think is best and the way God wants us to! And we aren’t worse off for it.”

  3. I think mommy guilt is something that affects all of us moms, no matter if we work outside the home or at home, or what age our kids are. We start comparing ourselves to others and it’s a joy stealer, planting guilt in our hearts instead. You have some good tips to combat that. I would add my daily quiet time with the Lord to help keep me focused. Good article!

    • Thanks Marie, yes we compare no matter our circumstances, and we need to remember to center ourselves and focus on our kids and not other people’s lives.

  4. Oh the guilt! It is like a dark cloud that hangs over my head. I have gotten much better as my kids get older but I do have guilt that I am going to send them into years of therapy! I joke about it but for a long time mommy guilt really debilitated me to the point where I suffered severe anxiety. I have to fight to get out of my own head and realize that if I am not taking care of myself first then how am I able to properly care for others.

    • Aww I’m sorry all that guilt caused so much anxiety. *HUGS* You are right though that we can’t take care of others if we can’t take care of ourselves.

  5. This is definitely a post I can relate to. I feel guilty that I’m not doing enough or I’m not good enough. But I know I shouldn’t think or feel that way my child needs me my child loves me and I am the best mom he can have.

    • Yes! You are definitely enough as long as your child is happy and healthy. I love that – you’re the best mom your child can have. YES! Thanks Lerie!

  6. Oh I had this so bad. It was so difficult for me after my daughter was born. I felt like I had to be with her every minute she was awake. I had to be the one always caring for her. I think I started making myself sick.

    At least it gets better. I still struggle from time to time but it does get better.

    • Great point Catrina, you really can make yourself sick with all the guilt and “I should be” thoughts. Thanks for letting us know it gets better 🙂

  7. I am unfortunately too familiar with this. Since I also homeschool and am always so concerned how well I teach my daughter. I am learning that I have to figure out what works best for our family may be completely different than everybody else and that’s okay.

  8. I must be weird, but I’ve never really felt the “mommy guilt” that many other moms seem to feel. It may be because I grew up the oldest in a large family (6 kids), so I kind of always saw and heard other people comments on our family and learned very young to let them roll off me? Either way, I agree that letting go of mommy guilt is a good thing and I hope this helps people! 🙂

    • That’s awesome that you never really got caught up in the mommy guilt. I agree that it is likely being the oldest in a large family – you’ve seen it all and have thick skin 🙂 Thanks Ronni!

  9. I feel so guilty about so many things (keeping the house clean, not cooking more, not playing with kids more, ant etc.) I finally had to realize my kids are happy and healthy and they will not care about hose things later in life.

  10. Great list–I especially like number 2. We are all at different places in life, with different circumstances. Let’s give each other grace not guilt!

  11. I really like the Good for Her, Not for Me suggestion. Not everyone is walking the same path, so we can’t compare ourselves to others whose past, present, and future are different than ours. Great article.

  12. The mommy guilt is something I know maybe a little to well. For whatever way I may be feeling I overcome it by telling myself that I am a good mommy. My children have a great life with parents that love them so very much. Although we are young parents we are doing a great job raising our boys and I am so proud of the way they are turning out! This was a good post. Thanks for sharing!

  13. As mothers, we do often feel guilty. Whether we work FT, PT or even from home we always feel like there is so much more we could do. Thanks for the tips on lightening up about it.

  14. Great job. Its hard being a mom and guilt is going to rear its ugly head sometimes. Just have to nip it in the bud is what i say.

  15. These tips are so great. I think they are important for anyone who feels any kind of guilt. Getting out of your head and voicing how you feel is really helpful in overcoming anxiety/guilt as well as being able to forgive yourself! We are always our worst critics and to remember to treat yourself with the same compassion you would treat others can be a good lesson and realization that we are too hard on ourselves.

  16. I love ‘good for her, not for me’, I’m going to repeat that one to myself! Guilt is a terrible thing, and very counter productive, we all need to give ourselves a break x Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

  17. That comparing issue is such a big thing I found with small play groups. Everyone is friendly but sometimes it appears as if there is a mummy competition going, every one trying to out do each other with their kids achievements.

    I take my hats of to parents, it is one special ride filled with torment, heart break and growing pains. But the joy I see on parents faces at times certainly makes up for the little irritations. I enjoyed your post.


    • There is definitely a one-up going on in mommy play groups, and that is unfortunate since it adds more stress to this whole mom gig. Thanks Rachel 🙂

  18. I feel like I spend most my life feeling guilty!! Part of being a mum I think! I’m just about to write a post about how guilty I felt taking a day off work to look after my sick daughter! We’re too hard on ourselves aren’t we? I guess that’s why we need to learn to forgive ourselves x

    • We are too hard on ourselves, definitely. I think others aren’t as hard on us as we are on ourselves. You’re so right that we need to learn to forgive ourselves as we learn to forgive others too. 🙂 Thanks Mrs. Puddleducky (love that!)

  19. I was just going through this last night. My 3 year old decided to take a nap at 5 in the evening (and when she falls asleep if I don’t catch her before there is no way of waking her up) so of course when it was time for everyone to go to bed she didn’t want to. Which makes tired mommy frustrated. I hate going to bed frustrated and them to fall asleep with the last image of mommy yelling GO TO SLEEP! So as always I went in..kissed her forehead…and said I was sorry for getting upset. I hate mommy guilt but mommy hood is hard sometimes. Thanks for sharing with #momsterslink.

  20. Good for her and not for me.. absolutely love that tip! I will say that from now on when I am feeling like I am not doing enough! Thank for linking up 🙂

  21. Mommy guilt is a real thing! I’m finding it happening more now with my daughter because she sees things other kids have or their Moms let them do and I don’t! It’s hard!!

    • Ooh when the little causes you to have guilt that’s gotta be hard. Not looking forward to the days when my baby can compare and complain heh.

  22. Great advice. I love that “Good for her, not for me” quote. I have just started a new job and have been working really hard. As a single parent I’ve been largely relying on my mum for childcare and it sometimes feels like she’s the mum and I’m just a random person who sees the little one at weekends-and then this weekend I had to spend working too. Argh!

  23. I am very guilty of mommy guilt. And it is awful because then you feel so cut off and afraid to share how you are feeling or what you are going through because you are afraid that someone is going to judge you because you feel guilty so you think they have reason to judge you. Such a nasty cycle that many of us need to break!

  24. I am so guilty of staying in my head for way too long! I can talk myself into a frenzy in no time and most times it is so wrong! Great tips and I for one know I need to fight that Mom Guilt a lot harder. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing with us at MMBH this week 😀

  25. So many parents feel guilty when they are really great parents. You give great advice on how to avoid mommy guilt. I need to remember to “get out of my head”.

  26. Ah the mommy guilt . . . it is so hard to feel like we “should” or “could” be doing more. I try hard to remind myself of what I AM doing, and I also schedule specific “dates” with each kid every week (Starbucks on Mondays after school with my daughter and breakfast out Wednesday before school with my son). Having those in the calendar reminds me that I DO spend special time with each kid and although I can’t do everything, there is a lot I do!

  27. It seems to be human nature to compare ourselves to other people and judge, or feel judged. I catch myself doing it all the time. As long as our children know that they are loved, accepted as they are, and respected as actual people, the arbitrary details don’t matter. It will make no difference in the long run if they got dinner on time or didn’t get to go to camp. Knowing that they are loved forms the framework on which they build their lives. As long as you’re doing that, you can know that you are doing all right.

  28. I appreciate this reminder. I think there is so much pressure on moms and women in general that society places on us. I think that we do it to ourselves as well and need to remember that it’s ok to not be perfect.

  29. I definitely experienced Mommy guilt in the early weeks with both kids. Especially when #2 came, I was sad that I could not spend as much time with my toddler as I wanted. There was a readjustment time of months, but now I feel I’ve adapted to 2 kids (at 5 and 6 months postpartum).

    However, what I experience more is Wife guilt. I don’t focus on my husband as much as I should. The kids take so much out of me and I end up putting him last, when really my relationship with my spouse is vital to our happiness as a family. I do a good job with the kids, but it’s hard to balance everything in life. It’s a daily struggle.

    • It really is a struggle to be wife, mom, work, etc. I do find that I focus everything I have on the baby and at work, and have little energy left for the hubs.

  30. I cannot tell you how often I try to explain to my husband how guilt ridden I am right now. Or how often he tells me to get over it! Haha! Great post!

  31. There is such a lack of momfidence these days. I wonder if our moms felt the same way, or if it is a new phenomena that is a side effect of the advancement of women’s rights. We want to still fill all those roles our mothers and grandmothers did, and fulfill all of our possibilities and promises in our careers as well. It’s a tough position to be in. When I first set about creating a blog, I thought about calling it Spinning Plates because it feels like what I do all day long. I get one plate spinning well, while the 20 others are wobbling and about to fall. You just can’t give 100% focus to all of the things women/moms are expected to be.

  32. This is wonderful advice. Being a mother is one of the hardest things in life to do. I believe that we tend to forget that our kids have their own free will to make up their own minds and make their own decisions regardless how well we raise them.

  33. I definitely have guilt! I’ve had it since my first kid. It’s hard sometimes when I think about how much time I spend away from my kids, but I know that I am doing what I need to do to support my family. And when I’m home with them, I am enjoying my time with them.

    • It is definitely difficult to spend a lot of time away but you’re doing great stuff for your family and like you said, when you’re with them you enjoy your time together. *hugs* Thanks Angela!

  34. This is such an interesting and thoughtful post. I have always been a guilty person and the mother-guilt just compounds this! I completely agree with every point and I also particularly like the fact that you acknowledge that there might be something that is bothering us enough to make us want to change things (whether we should be feeling guilty about that thing is another matter!). We should trust out instincts as parents (however hard they can be to find in the fug of daily life and parenting advice).

  35. Great tips for something we all suffer from. I love the get out of your head one especially. When I am feeling guilty, I try to remind myself that if I am not happy, nobody is happy! And that I am doing the best I can in my situation….#momsterslink

  36. Get out of your head is SUCH a good tip. So many times, we churn things around in our heads and actually if you say it out loud — or just shut it down and get on with things — the situation is never as bad as it is in our head. Thanks for linking up to #TwinklyTuesday — much appreciated x

  37. I really like your “good for her, not for me” point. Sometimes, when we do things differently from others, it leads us to question our decisions. Sure, it’s wise to consider things from their point of view (maybe they’ve got more information to help us make a better decision!), but it’s okay to be different and do what’s best for our families!

    • It is definitely ok and good to be different and to do things our own ways and the ways that work for our families. Thanks Lisa! 🙂

  38. This is so true – as a mom of two I struggle with mommy guilt sometimes. I compare myself to my mom and want to be as great of a mom as her! One thing I struggle with is making time that is specifically for me. I can attest that I’m a better mom and partner when I workout but finding the time is really hard. Thanks for the article 🙂

  39. While I’m not a mother yet I can say at times I experience “wife guilt”. I want to create a good, clean home for my husband but sometimes I just can’t do it all. I’ve learned that it’s ok if I have to ask him to help me. He actually doesn’t mind at all and it gives us time to work on something together, even if it is washing dishes.

  40. Ahhhh! Mommy Guilt… We are all, usually, too hard on ourselves. Comparing ourselves to others is definitely not good!! What always helps me is when I see my boys smiles and they say, “I love you, Mommy!” It melts me.


  41. I’m not a mommy yet, maybe one day – although my clock is ticking ticking ticking. I can imagine it being hard going back to work shortly after giving birth and feeling guilty about it. This is why I think family is so important during this time of transition for support, advice, etc.

    Good topic Julie.

    • Family is definitely important during this time, with support and advice and just a set of hands. Yet sometimes family can cause guilt as well. Thanks Missy!

  42. Mommy guilt is so rampant! I am not a mom to humans but to cats so I don’t struggle. Still, it would be interesting to ask moms from older generations if they ever felt as guilty as moms do now. Now I’m curious!

  43. I love these tips! It is all in our heads, but it can be a hard voice to tune out! I have been struggling with this since the birth of my daughter, but even more so since I returned to work after being home with her for 2 years. I really needed this today!

    Thank you for sharing with us at #MommyMeetupMondays!

  44. I am 8 months pregnant with my first child and I am already experiencing Mummy guilt!!! It’s so easy to compare yourself and your childs development to your friends or family and then it’s always the question of ‘am I doing it right?’
    I love the last point – forgiveness. I’ll make sure to remember that when I’m feeling the guilt again 🙂

  45. I SO agree with the “Good for her, not for me” tip. It reminds me of the saying, “Don’t compare your life with anyone elses. You see the entire production of your own life, while you’re only seeing their highlight reel.” That helped me alot when I felt like I wasn’t doing for my kids what others were.

  46. I think Mum guilt comes with the job! You are never going to be 100% perfect and on top of everything and when the person affected by your slip-up is your child, you’re going to feel bad about it. It’s just part of life. It’s a valuable lesson for your children to learn that their Mum can’t do it all and teaches them not to expect perfection – from her or themselves! See, you’re doing your Mummy duty by slipping up! It’s all a life lesson in the long run. You can only do your best. P.S. I have just this minute returned from my son’s swimming time trials where his goggles fell off half way through (slowing him down) and I immediately blamed myself as he has been asking me to get him a new pair! #TwinklyTuesday

    • You’re so right Sue that it does come with the job. Learning not to expect perfection is an important lesson definitely. I like that though – by slipping up we teach this lesson 🙂

  47. Mum’s guilt is awful! I feel guilty every single evening nearly. Thinking back in the day about how I should have done things and said things differently!

    Thank you so much for linking up to #justanotherlinky

    • It is bad especially in hindsight because you can’t change anything but we still think about what we should have done. Thanks Beth!

  48. I think Mommy Guilt is something that comes and goes – for me anyway. Sometimes I am able to say, “I’m not perfect, but I’m doing my best and it’s ok” Other times, I’m definitely burdened with feeling my shortcomings even with your tips.

    • You’re right that some times we’re better at keeping that nagging voice away and other times it gets the best of us. Thanks Steph 🙂

  49. Oh my gosh…don’t even get me started on the Mommy Guilt. LOL It is something all moms struggle with. Thanks for these tips, because yes! We all need to combat the MG. It does us no good!

  50. Yes! Why do we always focus and remember on the negatives when there is SO MUCH GOOD we do as moms for our kids. God is in control and can help as we give each day to him.

    • You’re so right, there is so much good we do for our kids and we really need to pay attention to that and let the negatives go. Thanks Misty!

  51. Such important tips! We can be so hard on ourselves sometimes. Love the tip on not comparing. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Great post! (Coming over from Small Victories Sunday Linkup)

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