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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 September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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