4 Tips for Dealing with Mom Guilt

mom guilt

Whether you stay home, work at home, go to an office, or some combination of all three, all moms experience mom guilt from time to time.  The fact is that parenting is hard work and there are often other external stressors that complicate our dreams of blissful parenting.

And then there’s that whole pressure to be perfect thing.  That will get you every time.

Whether you miss a big event at school or yell out of complete frustration, mom guilt creeps in when moms are under stress. 

And when moms are under stress…children internalize it.  Even toddlers pick up on stress and anger and will respond with cranky behavior and excessive tears.  Some might even try to cure you of your stress by bringing you some of their favorite comfort items.

While mom guilt is perfectly normal and to be expected along the way, it’s important to find ways to manage it so that we can let go of the negative and return to the positive.  When we carry around excess negative feelings, we can’t help but project that in some small way.  When we learn to manage it and move on in a timely fashion, we will, in turn, teach our children to cope with difficult emotions.

Here are four tips to overcome your mom guilt so you and your children can be more at peace and enjoy life. 

1. Vent it out.

Some days are better than others and there’s nothing like a good cry (or yell) to get out some of the bad.  Vent to a fellow mom friend who can listen and respond with empathy and understanding.  It’s not about being right, it’s about feeling heard and understood.  Mom friends can be a great source of support when parenting feels difficult and overwhelming.

Here’s the catch:  Venting negative emotions should be time limited.  Negativity can be contagious and sometimes extended venting can increase feelings of anger and frustration.  Set a timer for ten minutes and get it out before moving on to something positive.

2. Talk about it.

One of the most difficult elements of parenting is establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries.  As parents, we often feel the need to shield our kids from our emotions.

Pretending that we are super moms who never experience a bad moment doesn’t do our children any favors.  In fact, it does the opposite.  It can, and often does, show kids that perfectionism is the goal. 

Talk about your difficult days.  When you sit down with your child and tell her that you’re feeling a little sad or a little frustrated about something, you show your child that you are human.  You make mistakes and experience big feelings just like your child.  You also create an opportunity to talk about what you can do to get through the bad day and feel better.

Modeling coping strategies for our children shows them that life can be hard but we can always find a way to overcome obstacles.  And that sometimes it’s ok to just feel sad.


3. Find the good.

I often encourage moms to keep a “happy moments” journal on the bedside table.  Even on the best days, it’s easy to get caught up in busywork and chores and forget to focus on the small moments of parenting bliss.  And even on the worst days, those small moments do exist.

Take a few moments at the end of the day to write down the happy parenting moments.  This will help you drift off to sleep with a feeling of calm and remind you that tomorrow is another day.  Share these moments with your kids.  They love to hear positive memories and cute stories that they might have already forgotten.


Attempting to de-stress when you have a kid or two is no easy task.  But it is a very necessary one.  Sometimes a little tea and five minutes with a favorite book can completely change your outlook.

Whether it’s yoga, a bubble bath, or a glass of wine on the patio, find your moment to just check out and find your inner calm.  Whatever caused the feeling of mom guilt is already behind you. 

How do you cope with mom guilt?

Image via article author


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4 Tips for Dealing with Mom Guilt

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

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1 comment

  1. sonya says:

    I work and try to do everything from cooking to cleaning and feel guilty about not spending time with the kids everyday or even losing my temper with them, the article had some useful information in it and helped me know I’m not the only one dealing with it.


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