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4 Ways to Break Free from that Useless Mom Guilt

4 Ways to Break Free from that Useless Mom Guilt

    “I feel so guilty!” is a common phrase with most moms. We tend to feel guilty about everything, even if we’re doing something away from our kids that’s good for us!

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    Where does this guilt come from anyway? Dads don’t seem to have the same issue. They are more matter-of-fact about things. When I asked one dad why he didn’t feel guilty leaving his daughter to play by herself while he went to prepare himself lunch, he looked at me strangely and said, “Because I was hungry.” It seems so logical, doesn’t it?

    If it’s so logical, let’s look at how to release this useless guilt in a very logical way.

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    1) Decide if it’s legitimate.

    Logically ask yourself if you’ve actually done something you regret. Are you feeling real guilt or referred guilt? If you’ve actually chosen to work late to impress your boss rather than tend to your sick child, that’s real guilt. If your guilt is coming from somewhere or someone else—like the mom down the street who wonders why you’re not volunteering for her committee—that’s referred guilt. Acknowledge that it’s coming from someone else and you’re doing the best you can, then let it go.

    2) Spin guilt into a positive action.

    Missed your child’s piano recital because you were stuck at the office? Figure out how to do better next time. At the start of the school year log big family or important school events as appointments on your Outlook calendar or Blackberry to make sure there are no conflicts before you make any work commitments.

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    3) Forgive yourself, but don’t forget.

    Life is all about choices. Sometimes we make a bad call, and that’s okay. We’re human. But there’s no reason to obsess over your mistake. Mentally letting yourself off the hook and resolving not to have a repeat episode can lessen anxiety and make you feel more in control of the situation. It’s all about checks and balances. Certain experiences remind you to reassess your priorities so you can pick and choose your commitments.

    4) Set priorities.

    We’re pulled in dozens of directions, and it seems like no choice comes guilt-free. When you’re working, you feel like you’re neglecting domestic duties, and when you’re spending time with your family, you feel like you should be prepping for that conference call. Even when you’re squeezing in a quick workout, it’s hard to let go of the pressure to play hide-and-seek with your toddler. Set a priority and give yourself a certain amount of time to focus on the task without worrying about other obligations.

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    We’ve been trained to believe that if we’re not with our kids 24/7 they’re being deprived of eternal love. That’s just not the case. I’ve surveyed thousands of children around the world and all they want you to do are simple things every once in a while.

    I heard from one mom that she was walking by an outdoor pool and saw, with envy, a mom swimming laps while her toddler called out for his mommy. There was an older lady, watching her son. This mom then told me, “I thought to myself, “Why am I so willing to skip a workout because my child wants me?” Now she makes it a priority to exercise. She said, “It doesn’t hurt my daughter to be without me for thirty minutes, and it saves my sanity.”

    Breaking free from useless mom guilt is totally possible, but you have to finally make the decision within yourself that you want to break-free. Do you? Or does the guilt serve you in a way? Does feeling guilty and talking about it make you FEEL like a good mother? Think about this and then make that very important decision.

    When moms feel confident and at peace with themselves, they are unlikely to make choices or act in ways that cause them to feel guilty. When they feel insecure, exhausted or overwhelmed, they may do things or make decisions that they later regret, or act in haste or anger, all of which lead to guilt.

    Image: cia de foto

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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