We are all familiar with guilt. It is that annoying, overwhelming feeling which tells us we are not doing enough, are not enough, should be doing more, or are simply doing everything wrong.
Guilt is a sneaky stealer of your sense of well-being and joy. Yet, at times we all feel it and succumb to its subtle power.
Pack Your Bags We’re Going on a Guilt Trip!
I know you can relate. The other day I was trying to spend time with my mother, my husband, work on some important things for my real estate clients, write a couple of posts on social media, chauffeur my children to and fro, and occasionally take a breath.
Then I looked around my house and I felt bad about the state of disarray it was in. My mind started churning, obsessing over all the things that I wasn’t doing.
On top of all that, I was feeling extremely guilty I hadn’t written my monthly blog yet. At least this feeling helped me decide on a topic.
Guilt is Not All Bad
Feeling guilty has its place. For instance, it can help you to treat someone nicely even though you’re not feeling very nice. Guilt can also be a motivating factor. You’re tired of feeling guilty, so you finally do that thing you’ve been needing to do.
One of the problems with guilt, however, is how easily a small observation about a failure can snowball. Suddenly, you feel like you are failing on so many levels. This feeling can lead you to anger, frustration, resentment and depression.
This is absolutely no way to live your life. Here are some ideas to help keep your guilt in check.
The Myth of the Superwoman
Women still try to do and be it all. Think about the series and movies featuring female heroines. They are amazing in their 9-to-5 jobs and kick butt in their crime-fighting roles.
However, in between all this awesomeness, they do not have to go to the grocery store, clean their floors, make time for their relationships and themselves and deal with their little darlings.
Now that would be impressive!
However, for many women, this is just a typical day. Then, we are surprised when we feel exhausted, burned out, underappreciated and things fall through the cracks. Cut yourself some slack!
Lighten Your Load, Guilt Free
If you work outside the home and have a difficult time with the childcare or household care, don’t be ashamed to take short cuts or to hire outside help. This helps maintain your life balance. It allows you to be more present with your family when you are home.
If you are busy taking care of the children and your house, let go of your expectations that you should be contributing more elsewhere. This is a short stage in your life. Your roles will change as your children grow. You will be more free to give outside of the home.
Whatever stage you are in, be comfortable with yourself. Don’t waste precious time wishing it were different.
Addressing Mom Guilt
If you are always wondering if you are being a good mom, that question alone is an indicator that you are.
I was far from a perfect mom. At times, I was completely overwhelmed by my four children. Now, it’s fun to hear their perspectives as they grow older.
They remember all of the times I was there for them and showed up. They barely even remember the times I snapped or yelled. They treasure the moments I lightened up and planned spontaneous fun far more than they appreciated clean floors or gourmet meals.
Your children have so much love and grace in their hearts for you. Give yourself freedom from worrying about what type of mom you are. Simply treasure being a mom.
Saying No Gracefully
Since we can’t do it all, why waste time on activities and people that are not filling our soul? If we say “yes” to things just because we have a case of the “shoulds,” then what are we saying no to?
This is an important question to ask yourself. Don’t be afraid to let go of the activities, people, etc., that no longer are meeting our needs. It will free time in your mind, heart, and calendar for the things and people that fuel you and bring you joy and contentment.
The holidays are a special time. However, they can also be stressful. We are so busy thinking of everything we need to do, buy and participate in that we miss out on the spirit of the season. I used to be like this and to stress out so much, I dreaded the holidays.
One thing that has really helped me is to narrow it down to three family traditions that are important to us. I say no to the rest. I refuse to buy into the pressure to have everything just so, and instead focus on making memories.
You get to decide how you would like your holidays to be. A blur of running around, feeling like you will never get anything done? Or a peaceful time where you are focusing on what is most important to you, and creating beautiful memories with your family and loved ones.
Just remember whatever you choose, ditch the guilt!