Mom guilt. We’ve all been there. But after today, no more.
A little less than a year ago I remember getting together with a friend over coffee. It was one of the first times leaving my second child, still a tiny baby, alone with with dad. A tiny breastfed baby, who we had missed the golden window for introducing the bottle too. I still left a bottle, just in case.
I knew I needed some grown up time, I could feel my soul needing connection and conversation with a friend. As we sat there with our warm coffee’s in hand, the conversation shifted over to the topic of guilt. As we continued talking, I suddenly realized how many mothering decisions I had been making from a place of guilt.
Not bad decisions but the mindset behind several recent decision was definitely based on guilt. We covered several other topics before we said good-bye but as I headed home, the conversation started bothering me more and more. So, in the car that day, I made myself a pact, no more guilt.
It worked wonders for a few glorious days but as the days went by it slowly creeped back into my life, it showed itself worse on days I was exhausted or days I had to put in a few extra work hours. I hated it but I couldn’t get back to that place where I had forced it out.
A few months went by and the guilt was still there, some days I wouldn’t notice it but other days it was totally there. Each time it made it’s appearance I would be more annoyed, I hated it but I didn’t know how to get rid of it. Then I would feel even more guilty for not keeping my pact to myself.
Ugh. Guilt is seriously the worst! Can I get an amen?
Being an awesome mom requires a lot of work. Being a beautiful, loving wife requires a lot of work. Being a human and taking care of yourself requires a lot of intentional work. Doing all three is really hard, nearly impossible and yet that’s the battle each of us in this tribe is in every single day.
You feel pulled from one task to another, one person needing you to the next, barely if ever being able to devote as much dedicated time as you want to each one.
Or maybe it’s just me, but somehow I doubt it.
No matter how much I played with my kids, they wanted 5 minutes more. My husband would embrace me at the end of the night is his gentle strong arms, I would look in his eyes both of us wanting to relive our best nights but my energy would get the most of me, my exhausted body begging for sleep. I would wake up in the morning to a messy house and a pile of laundry, both tasks I hadn’t been able to completely finish the day before.
My body would fill with guilt each time. I was done. It was stealing my joy and I wanted it gone.
Then one day, as if by random chance (but actually a results of seeking a stronger spiritual journey) life led me to my answer. And as most things, the answer was more simple than I had imagined.
The secret lies within the following, it’s not about just removing guilt, it’s about replacing it with something else. If we remove without replacing, you’ll still find freedom for a time, like I did after coffee with my friend, but at some point the guilt will return to fill the void it left behind.
Instead, choose peace.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness… They all have come to feel a bit cliché but when we actually break each one down, each has incredible power.
If you can learn to harness the power of peace, things like stress, worry, defeat, depression, and nasty old guilt become powerless in it’s presence.
To my surprise, the more I choose peace the more time I suddenly find available to play with my kids, the more energy my body suddenly has to connect with my husband, my day-to-day tasks seem to flow more easily, and I’ve been happier than ever.
How to Get Rid of Mom Guilt and Instead Harness the Energy of Peace
- Do everything and anything you can to deepen your spiritual journey. I started by reading a chapter of the Proverbs each day while I drink my morning glass of water. I’ve also been trying to read more personal development books and I’ve been learning how to meditate.
- Practice loving yourself more fully. You are made in the image of God, learning to love yourself brings an incredible amount of peace with it.
- When guilt shows up, take a full breath in and as you breath out let the guilt leave with it. Breath it all out, out from every single cell of your body.
- Choose peace. As you go forward, as you make decisions, ask yourself if the decisions is being made from a place of guilt or peace.
Guilt will come and that’s ok. The important part is how quickly you breath it out and choose peace instead. Each time you remove the guilt and replace it with peace, peace becomes stronger and easier.
I still remember walking in the door that day after coffee, my few month old baby was in tears wanting his mama.
I didn’t know it at the time but I had chose peace and happiness instead of guilt. And with that peace I scooped him up, snuggle up and nursed my baby. I enjoyed a bonding moment stronger than usual because there was peace in my soul instead of guilt.
It took me months after that to realize it was the action of choosing peace that had won over the power of guilt. Even now, knowing the secret, it doesn’t make everything perfect in life but it does create a new way of seeing, feeling and experiencing the world.
The way we were born to.
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