Something You’ve stopped



Mother Guilt. I decided I just wasn’t having it.
I was recently speaking with some mums when I first became really aware of
it after becoming a mum. I knew that I loved being with my baby and loved
my job too, so realised at some point I was going to be pulled in different
I shared how fairly early on in my parenting journey, I had seen mother-guilt
rear it’s ugly head in myself and most the mum’s around me and how I was
determined I did not want this emotion ruling my life.
So whenever I heard someone talking about how guilty they felt if they did
this or did that, I remember trying to encourage them to simply love what
they were doing and be in the moment and I would try and do the same.
I really decided that being a parent is a hard enough gig, let alone giving
ourselves a hard time if we are not able to be all things to all people, all at
the same time. I knew that the pull to be the best mother we could be was a
great one, but that this urge could also lead to the tendency to bring out ugly competitive behaviour and ‘comparisonitis’ that occurs between mothers as
well. I knew that wanting to be ‘the best mother, one could be’ meant
different things to different people and that judging ourselves or one another
was detrimental to all.
So I said no to guilt, I just stopped letting it in.
I said ‘Yes’ to doing what I felt comfortable for me at the time instead and I
encouraged other mums to do the same for them.
I said No to ‘guilt’ when I was away from my children because I chose to
work (because I knew that working was being an excellent example and role
model for them and improved my wellbeing, energy and desire to be with
I also said no to work demands at times and other requests on my time and
did not feeling guilty about that-because I was honouring my decision to
spend time with my children and taking the time I felt was right to do it, how I
wanted to do it.
So I refused to let guilt guide my decisions by allowing myself to recognise
the destruction that guilt could play if I let it reside in me.
This doesn’t mean that I’ve never had a guilty moment, but once I had made
the decision not to let it rule me, to challenge it if I noticed it, I’ve not really
had it impact on me the way I’ve heard other parents talk about it. It’s been
easy to make decisions for myself and the family and I’ve not had to wrestle
with wondering if I’d made the right decision or not.
So if you are someone that has battled with mother-guilt, then invite
compassion, see if you can let go of judgement and be as a good a friend to
yourself, as you are to those around you.


Published by Kate French

Clinical Psychologist; expertise in autism and child and family psychology.

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