Motherhood is an extraordinary journey filled with moments of joy, love, and wonder. Yet, amid the laughter and cherished memories, many moms silently grapple with an all-too-common and overwhelming emotion: guilt. Despite their tireless efforts and unwavering dedication to their children, a persistent voice often whispers, “Am I doing enough?” or “Why do I feel like a bad mom?”
Yes, you are right; you are a bad mom as you snapped at your child today, as he wasn’t getting ready for school, and the van had already arrived at your door.
You lost your temper and shouted at your teenager, as she was on her mobile the whole day and didn’t even observe that you weren’t feeling good.
You let your toddler watch TV the whole day, as you didn’t sleep for the last two days due to your child’s fever and are sleep-deprived, and you might fall down at any moment.
These are just some incidents that I am narrating here; innumerable incidents keep happening in every mom’s life, making them think, “I am the worst possible mom out there.” I am not exempted from this guilt feeling, and here are a few reasons why we keep experiencing these feelings.
Why do we feel like a Bad Mom?
Here are some common reasons for feeling like a “bad mom” and ways to cope with these thoughts:
Many moms feel guilty when they believe they are not living up to unrealistic societal or personal expectations of what a “perfect mom” should be.
So stop your inner thoughts when you feel that you have let down your children. You are just a fantastic mom who cares about your children.
First, accept yourself as an individual, and you also have only 24 hours in a day. So, you can’t have a fab career, clean house, and well-mannered kids all the time. There are rough moments in every mom’s life; accepting them as a part of your life will ease a significant burden on your head. Tomorrow will always be a better day, as you are there to make it better for yourself and your children.
You might want to decide for yourself as to whether you are leading your life to the fullest or not?
Comparing with others:
Constantly comparing oneself to other moms who may appear to have it all together can lead to feelings of inadequacy. In fact, social media has multiplied this guilt feeling multiple times with those Instagramified pictures and smiling moms.
We don’t understand or care to think about the hours of preparation or rounds of editing that go behind every picture. They are not candid shots that people used to post earlier. With the AI wave, all these photos and videos are getting edited multiple times.
The point to remember here is that you could bathe your child today without any problem; whether you shared a matching outfit or not is immaterial as long as the child is fresh. Your child’s innocent smile will overcome all the other stuff. So, you are a good mom and not a bad mom.
You provided a decent meal to your child, giving them sufficient energy to play around or go to school. That meal might not be drool-worthy, but it’s just one meal daily and not for your child’s lifetime. So you can also make a mouthwatering meal later when you have time and energy. So trust me, you are a perfect mom, as you can give food to your child on time.
Balancing work and family:
Working moms may experience guilt about not spending enough time with their children. Whereas non-working moms feel they cannot take care of their children properly. So this guilt feeling is always there on both sides. And you are not a bad mom just because you are working or not-working. Your job does not define you; you are much more than what you do.
What we need to remember here is that “quality time matters more than quantity.” You can check out my podcast on connecting with children and spending quality time with them amidst our busy schedules.
Dwelling on past parenting mistakes can lead to persistent guilt. Recognizing that everyone makes mistakes is essential; learning from them is part of growth.
Your children move out of those incidents faster than you can, as they live in the present moment and try to enjoy what comes their way without dwelling in the past. So this is one lesson that you can learn from your children and let go of the past guilt.
So start discussing with your children and partner what changes you can make in your daily routines and schedule to enjoy being together at least for some time in a day.
Here are few tips to handle yourself, when your child breaks your heart.
Moms often prioritize their children’s needs above their own, neglecting self-care. However, it’s crucial to recognize that taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally will ultimately benefit your family.
Haven’t you heard the proverb that you can’t pour from an empty cup? To be a good mother and role model for your children, you must incorporate fitness and self-care into your daily routines.
Finding time for self-care is not selfish; it’s essential for the overall well-being of you and your entire family.
How to recover from the feeling – Why do I feel like a Bad Mom?
Recovering from “Why do I feel like a bad mom” takes time and self-compassion. Here are some tips to help you navigate through these emotions and regain a sense of confidence and peace in your parenting journey:
1. Practice Self-Compassion:
Be kind and understanding to yourself. Recognize that every mom makes mistakes and has moments of self-doubt. Treat yourself with the same compassion and empathy you would offer to a friend facing similar feelings.
When you understand that:
- a. you are yelled at your child so that he would know how to be disciplined
- b. you snapped at your teenager, as you wouldn’t want her to be late to school
- c. You spanked your child so he wouldn’t play with those sharp knives.
Only for the benefit of your child, and you are not planning to cause any actual harm, either emotionally or physically, to your child.
So, Embrace the imperfections and mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning as a parent, and learn how to spend quality time with your child and grow.
2. Challenge Negative Thoughts:
When guilt strikes, try to identify the negative thoughts that accompany it. Challenge their validity and replace them with more balanced and positive statements.
instead of saying, “I’m a terrible mom,” remind yourself, “I’m doing my best, and that is enough.”
instead of feeling, “I’m a bad mom, as I gave a ready-to-eat meal to my child,” remind yourself, “I could at least feed my child on time.”
3. Focus on the Positive:
Celebrate your successes as a mom, no matter how small they may seem. Acknowledge the moments when you feel like you’re doing well and let go of unrealistic expectations of perfection.
Remember your child’s affectionate hugs or sweet smiles, and capture those moments on your mobile so you can view them whenever you feel down or low.
Remember how you felt when you took your child for the first time into your hands, their first steps and words, which will fill you with warmth.
4. Limit Social Media Comparisons:
Remember that social media can present an idealized version of motherhood. Limit exposure to content that triggers feelings of inadequacy and recognize that every family’s journey is unique.
Remember that all those photos or videos have been edited multiple times and are not candid shots.
5. Set Realistic Expectations:
Be mindful of the expectations you place on yourself as a mom. Understand that it’s impossible to be perfect, and asking for help when needed is okay.
Share your feelings with someone you trust, whether a partner, friend, or family member. Talking about your emotions can often provide perspective and reassurance that you’re not alone in your struggles.
6. Prioritize Self-Care:
Make time for activities that nurture your well-being, whether reading a book, exercising, meditating, or spending time with hobbies you enjoy. Taking care of yourself enables you to be a better parent.
Only when you are rested and happy can you be a better and more loving parent to your children. Hence incorporating self-care into your routines is not selfish.
Here are a few self-care tips for parents that you can easily incorporate into your daily routines.
7. Seek Professional Help:
If guilt persists and starts affecting your well-being and daily life, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and strategies tailored to your specific needs.
Remember, feeling like a “bad mom” is a common struggle and doesn’t define your worth as a parent. Be patient with yourself, and know that it’s okay to have challenging moments. By implementing these tips and showing compassion, you can recover from these feelings and build a more positive and fulfilling relationship with yourself and your children.
In the grand tapestry of motherhood, every thread weaves a story of growth, love, and devotion. As you continue along this path, remember that your love and care are the greatest gifts you can give to your children. Embrace the journey, cherish the moments, and believe in yourself as the amazing mom that you are.
So, dear moms, remind yourself of the five vital facts you’ve encountered here whenever that nagging question, “Why do I feel like a bad mom?” resurfaces. Embrace the journey of self-discovery, and with each step, may you find greater peace, confidence, and fulfillment in the extraordinary role of motherhood. You are capable, resilient, and deeply loved – by your children and the incredible woman you have become.
QOTD: Ask your child – What do you think about me – Am I a bad Mother?
Their answers will definitely warm your heart and fill you with awe moments.
Suhasini, IP, is the Author of the book “Practical Tips for Kids Mental Health.” As a certified kids and parents life coach, she helps/guides you toward a happy family life for your kids. She firmly believes, that “Emotionally Happy Kids of today are the Mentally Strong and Happy Citizens of tomorrow.” Let’s make the world a happy and beautiful place for our kids to thrive.