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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 January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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