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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 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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