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15 Things Parents Don’t Need To Feel Guilty About

15 Things Parents Don’t Need To Feel Guilty About

Do you ever feel guilty about your parenting skills? Many parents berate themselves for the little things, even when they are doing a great job of raising a child.

Parents are not robots – here are 15 things parents don’t need to feel guilty about.

1. Letting Your Child Watch TV

Although you like the idea of raising your child without television, you’re not sure when you’d ever get anything done. The peaceful half an hour while your child watches cartoons is one of the only chances you get to clean the house – and it’s a total godsend. Don’t feel guilty about it.

2. Enjoying Your Job

Loving your child doesn’t have to mean you have to always hate being apart from them. Before you had a child, it is likely you felt passionate and invested in your job. Having a child doesn’t change that, and you don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying your work – you simply have something else in your life that you love and adore.

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3. Having Secret Treats For Yourself

Being a parent is extremely rewarding and fun, but it can also be difficult and tiring. So if you love expensive chocolate, treat yourself – and feel free to keep it at the back of the cupboard, hidden behind supermarket brand chocolate. You’re doing a great job, and you deserve it!

4. Needing Alone Time When Your Children Are Awake

Having a child often means you don’t get much time alone, but giving birth doesn’t mean you have to sign away all of your rights to privacy. After a hard day, it’s okay to shut your bedroom door for half an hour so you can read a good book – you’re still right there if your children need you.

5. Taking A Vacation With Your Friends Or Family

Every parent needs the occasional break, and a short trip away can rejuvenate you and leave you feeling amazing. You know your children would hate to stay in a spa for a few days (the other guests probably wouldn’t enjoy it, either), so lie back and enjoy your back massage, safe in the knowledge your children are probably being spoiled rotten by their grandparents.

6. Worrying About Your Child’s Development

Parents can often become competitive when talking to other parents about their children, which can make you feel competitive, too – and then guilty later!
From potty training to your child still sucking their thumb, try not to feel guilty that you’re worried about your child’s development. You’re doing fine as a parent, and your child will naturally develop at their own pace.

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7. Not Volunteering At Your Child’s School

Every day you make sure your child is dressed, fed, clean and happy – and this is a huge accomplishment in itself! It can take the whole day, too; you have no idea how other parents factor in time to hand out folders or snacks at school.

8. Yelling at Your Child When They Haven’t Done Anything Wrong

At some point as a parent – probably after a particularly long and stressful day, you may find yourself raising your voice with your child, even though they don’t deserve it. It’s very hard not to feel guilty about this, but you are only human, and it can be a useful opportunity to explain to your child that even parents make mistakes sometimes.

9. Feeding Your Child Junk Food

Many parents feel guilty about feeding their child junk food, but after a stressful day sometimes the drive-through is the best option for both you and your kids. Many parents use junk food as an occasional treat for their children; don’t forget that it isn’t poisonous, it just isn’t very nutritious! As long as you don’t make it a daily occurrence, let yourself off the hook for this.

10. Giving In To Your Children

Every so often you will surrender to your children and give them whatever they want – normally so you can have ten minutes of peace and quiet. You normally stick to your guns, so don’t feel guilty that you occasionally give in; it helps to keep you sane!

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11. Letting Your Parents Or Partner Take Your Children To Places You Don’t Like

Theme parks, swimming pools and Disney concerts are busy, filled with queues, and really loud. For you it is a nightmare, but for your children it is heaven – as well as a great childhood memory.
You don’t need to feel guilty if you occasionally miss these events; you know you’ll never miss any important event in their lives.

12. Being Unable To Afford Expensive Extras

Some parents are lucky enough to be able to send their children to music lessons and ballet classes, but that isn’t the most important part of being a parent. Try not to feel guilty about this one; the most important thing to give your child is love.

There are also lots of free and cheap ways to benefit your child, such as local parks and libraries.

13. Looking Forward To Your Child Going To Bed

Never feel guilty about looking forward to some alone time with a glass of wine – everyone deserves time alone, even parents! Don’t forget that this morning you were probably looking forward to spending the evening hearing about your child’s day.

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14. Finding Some Parts Of Being A Parent Tiresome

You love your child, and sometimes you are taken aback by the funny, intelligent and beautiful little person you have made. However, you still find it irritating that you have told your child at least 200 times to put their clothes in the laundry basket.

15. Throwing Away Old School Projects

There are some paintings your child has done that you will cherish forever, and are priceless to you. The only thing is, your child comes home from school with about ten different arty creations every week; if you kept them all, your house could star in an episode of Horders.

Featured photo credit: Young mother and father with newborn via shutterstock.com

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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