Motherhood is an immensely demanding journey filled with many emotions, ranging from love and joy to self-doubt and guilt. Pressure from society to be a perfect mom is another element that makes things worse. Such a setting can lead to feelings of inadequacy, making you conclude that you’re failing as a mother. Although the feeling of being a “bad mom” is normal, it’s essential to know that it’s not a reflection of reality.
That said, you need to address those feelings. Otherwise, they can lead to mental health issues. So what should you do when you feel like a bad mom? We’ll give you six tips to help you overcome those feelings. But first, let’s look at some of the triggers of “bad mom” guilt.
What Triggers the “Bad Mom” Feeling
You may be a good mom, but your feelings say otherwise. The fact that you feel that way shows you’re concerned about your kids. Though circumstances differ, most feelings of being a bad mom have similar causes, which include:
Pressure from others.
Pressure can come from society, including neighbors and family members. For instance, when an influential family member questions your parenting style, you may develop self-doubt. Or when you compare yourself with your neighbors, you may think you’re not doing enough for your kids, which may result in a feeling of guilt and depression.
Lack of support.
If you’re a single mom or your husband doesn’t provide much help, you might feel overwhelmed by parental responsibilities. It can be challenging to balance work and family time, making you feel you’re neglecting your kids.
If you’re feeling frustrated, losing control of your child’s behavior, and not coping with the situation, you might feel like a failure as a mom.
How to Deal with the “Bad Mom” Guilt
Above are some reasons you might feel like a bad mom. Whatever the cause, you can overcome those feelings by implementing the following tips.
Don’t expect to be perfect
Most new moms have high hopes for motherhood. You may have preconceived ideas of how to be a perfect mother, but once you have a child, reality strikes. You fail to meet those expectations and start feeling like a bad mom.
The fact remains: motherhood isn’t easy, and sometimes you’ll mess up. There’s no perfect way to raise your kids, and no mom knows what to do in every situation. Everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from those mistakes.
Bad days happen to everyone
Bad days will come once in a while. But they don’t make you a bad mom. Perhaps you argued with your boss or employee, and you’re stressed out. That can make you highly irritable and respond angrily to your kids.
Similarly, your kid could be having a bad day. It could be problems at school or in social life. And that can affect how they interact with you. So you might think you’re the problem, but the issue lies elsewhere. It’s best not to blame yourself in every situation. It could be one of those bad days, and they don’t last.
Remember your intentions are good
You’ve heard it said, “it’s the thought that counts.” You want the best for your kids, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Sometimes your circumstances are beyond your control.
You want to spend time with your kid and meet their needs to give them a comfortable life. If you don’t receive support from others, meeting both goals will be hard. You may end up spending more time at work and start feeling like you’re missing out on your child’s life.
When those feelings come, remember you have good intentions for your kids. You can also make up for them by finding time during weekends or holidays. Consider planning a vacation during one of your holidays to create lasting memories with your kid.
Apologize when necessary
Since you’re not perfect, there might be a case when you may lose your temper and yell. This is likely to happen during one of your bad days. But when you realize your response was out of line, it’s best to apologize to your kids.
Doing so will make your kid feel better, and so will you. Plus, it will teach them an important lesson to take responsibility for their actions.
Re-evaluate your parenting approach
Let’s say you feel like a bad mom because you’re not getting along with your kids, changing your parenting approach may help. Your children change as they grow, and so do their needs. For instance, they may need more privacy and independence than before. So as a mom, you may have to adjust your parenting approach to accommodate the changes you see.
Some parenting approaches may also be ineffective or even lead to more chaos. If you argue with your kids often, you may need to re-evaluate your conflict resolution approach and identify ways to make it effective.
Ask for help
Whether you are a single mom or not, a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, you may become overwhelmed with all your responsibilities. Remember that you deserve to rest. Assuming the kids aren’t old enough to help, get a nanny. Or you can request one of your relatives to help out. If you feel depressed because of all the challenges, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a counselor.
Don’t Let “Bad Mom” Guilt Control You
It’s easy to start feeling like a bad mom when you make a mistake. But don’t let those feelings linger in your mind. First, you’re doing the best you can for your kids, and you can never be perfect. However, learning from your mistakes and adjusting your parenting style can help you find a suitable balance.
Remember, it takes a village to raise a child. So don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from others if you find yourself stuck. Seeking professional help, such as talk therapies, can also help. It allows you to express your fears and receive personalized support. So, don’t let the feelings of being a bad mom control your life, and start implementing the above six tips if something bothers you.
Larisa Bavykina is a nutritionist and a CBT-I therapist. She has been working in the healthcare industry for more than 10 years, including walk-in medical centers and an online mental health clinic MEDvidi.
Larisa helps patients change their eating habits, sleep patterns, and overall lifestyle with an aim to improve the quality of their lives. She also helps MEDvidi create up-to-date and science-backed medical and psychological content.
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