Guilt. It’s such a common emotion in parents; so much that it even has its own hashtag [#momguilt]. Mom guilt is a word I keep hearing amongst my friends, and a word I feel we should not be using! Good parents, from all walks of life, are feeling bad about the life they are providing for their children.
Where does this come from? We are known to be the generation providing MORE for our children than previously – more attention, more patience, more safety, more material things. Seemingly, we have evolved from the way our parents raised us and yet, we are noticing that more parents suffer from feeling as though they are not good enough.
The Down-side of Social Media:
Social media could be to blame for mom guilt. After all, we are constantly bombarded by glamorous, oftentimes unattainable images with depictions of the ideal modern family unit. Instagram is filled with Mommy bloggers who frequently post about their beautiful homes, showcasing impeccable interior design, success stories of 3-day potty-training routines, organic or farm-to-table meals and advanced literacy and language skills achieved by creative and customized at-home activities. Not to mention, the luxury vacations we may not be able to afford as well as the perpetually organized and spotless house.
Unfortunately, many times we fail to remember that this is merely a snap shot of real life. We often do not see the challenging moments parents and families go through filled with sleepless nights, insecurities, managing demanding schedules and ensuring that we are providing the best version of ourselves on a consistent basis.
Lack of time – Juggling priorities
Another reason we have noticed promotes mom guilt is a general lack of time being spent with our children. Families are busier than ever before! More specifically, we often hear complaints from parents worrying about their work-life balance and if they are giving enough of their time to their children. Many other parents find guilt in placing their children in childcare despite how many long-term benefits can be gained through this experience. Our recommendations are to focus on the quality of your time together instead of the quantity. Here are a few ways to enhance your time together:
Put your phone away
Many of us use our phones as a camera, or if you’re working from home you might need to check in frequently for work. Instead of turning off the phone completely, try turning off just the notifications. It is distracting to see that red number on your phone, or hear a noise, or see a banner. By turning notifications off, you can dedicate more undivided attention to your children and be able to live in-the-moment.
Create a routine
Create a schedule or routine that involves talking with your family members each day. Whether it be a sit-down family dinner, nightly bedtime stories, or a car ride without the radio on; it’s important to engage and connect with each other every day.
Try not to over-schedule your family. Utilize a calendar to write down all work and family events and consider both when committing to birthday parties and major events. Also, be mindful when signing up for extracurriculars because it doesn’t take much for your week to fill up and become hectic when you have multiple children enrolled in extra programs.
Use Childcare as a Solution
For parents who are struggling to find time or resources for their children consider childcare as a valuable option. A recent study found that: “Access to high-quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties, and promote prosocial behaviours.” The children who are kept in childcare during the day are highly engaged in activities that promote their social, emotional, physical and psychological development and wellbeing.
Find your hobbies
Finally, the best way for parents to maintain their own individuality and independence is to engage in activities that interest them! It’s easy to lose sight of yourself in this journey, and it is particularly important for your own mental health to take the time for you! Whatever it may be – going to the gym, spending a night out with friends, having a date night with your partner. You need to be taking some time for yourself and should not leave the house feeling guilty about it!