Is “Mom Guilt” A Thing For You? By Chelsea Glover-Jordan, LCSW
By | Jan 18, 2024
There’s nothing like the mom guilt you may experience and if the universe is being extra generous, the guilt you bestow on yourself compared to how others make you feel guilty, can darn near take you out. You will have these very raw and authentic thoughts and emotions. Unfiltered and seemingly presenting themselves at the most inopportune times, guilt about the feelings and thoughts you privately experience will have you second guessing your moral compass. This may trip some of you up because recognizing guilt will require you to acknowledge how imperfect you are as a person let alone a mother. Recognizing guilt requires you to admit that there in fact is something “wrong”. Not anything necessarily wrong with you but something wrong about this dynamic between you and your baby.
Motherhood is typically portrayed in the media and even with people we know as this thing we’re embarking on that’s a badge of honor. This happy time where we are not scared the moment we find out we’re pregnant. Becoming a mother is depicted as this beautiful linear process in which we have it all together, fully prepared to take on another life also in a healthy way. A depiction of the internal struggle we experience is not as overt. Talking about having abortions, giving babies up for adoption, or if the child is born, wishing that they weren’t, is not talked about enough. The ugly and more emotionally difficult side of motherhood is harder to find in others if not actively sought after. Because it’s not normalized, it then becomes stigmatized when it is finally talked about. Women begin to label themselves “bad” mothers or unworthy because of the unsettling feelings and thoughts that may arise with becoming a mother. Mainstream media tends to perpetuate this narrative of “perfection”, unicorns and rainbows when becoming a mother and in fact, the motherhood journey in general. We don’t see enough mothers in the media who embody the chaotic aesthetic motherhood tends to bring. Not all of us are excited to curate the perfect home nursery experience. Not all of us are able to maintain the same level of self-care we were accustomed to before giving birth. No ma’am, my hair and nails have not been done in 5 months and I believe I took a shower a day and a half ago. I really can’t remember what I ate this morning, I’m simply trying to muddle through the semi-conscious and on demand breast feedings and blowout diaper fiascos.
Please take yourself out of this manmade box that society developed and subtly put you in. Be okay with the not-so warm fuzzies about being a mom. Stop feeling guilty for it! You’re human and if you know what I know, the faster you acknowledge and address those feelings of discomfort and unfavorability of being a mother, the sooner you will be able to bask in the amazingly great things about being a mother.
While we’re on the subject of guilt, let’s talk about pouring back into you. With all that’s going on with being a mother and while you’re curating this life experience for a whole other human being, please stop feeling guilty for wanting to do things without your child sometimes. Stop feeding into your family’s notion that you must be with your child all day every day or that you’re not doing enough, whatever that means. This certainly is not realistic of a life of happiness and a well-rounded woman let alone a well-rounded mother. Your children cannot be your entire life and don’t feel guilty for accepting otherwise. Reflect on how you’re able to keep your child’s basic needs met. Are they safe, are they clothed and fed? Do they have shelter and minimally a budding sense of emotional intelligence for themselves and with others? If you are checking all of these boxes, then you’re out here killing it sis. Give yourself credit! All the bells and whistles like entrance into private schools (if that’s your thing), starting a savings account, going on family trips every quarter, will come in due time. Rome wasn’t built in one day, right? Neither is building your idea of being the best version of a mom. Stop distorting your thinking while being so narrow minded of what “showing up” for your child looks like. Take words such as “should” out of your vocabulary. Using “should” indicates that you missed an opportunity to do something different or even worse, to do something what you thought was “better”. Give yourself credit for the things you in fact did do. Instead of complaining about what you should’ve done as a mom, boast about the things you accomplished in the span of one day. I bet you’ll be impressed with yourself if you simply stopped to intentionally think about it. Think about it, maybe showing up for your kid on a particular day looks like you stepping out of the house for an hour of alone time to replenish the energy that has been sucked out of you all morning so that you can continue to show up for that baby until bedtime. Serving yourself and engaging in time without your baby is a must so that baby has an emotionally healthier and present mother. It’s honestly the most responsible thing to do.
Stop sending yourself on guilt trips about it and understand that “just enough” sometimes is good enough.
About The Author
3 Roads, a group private practice is owned by clinical social worker and therapist, Chelsea Glover-Jordan based out of Maryland and Washington D.C. Chelsea is dedicated to helping underserved populations, black women in particular. With a niche in maternal health, anxiety, and depression, Chelsea works hard to meet clients where they are. To Chelsea, self-care is super important and that is one thing she encourages with anyone she encounters. She implements mindfulness exercises and interventions such as CBT, DBT and EMDR to help clients in their therapeutic journeys. She considers herself a spiritual being who is always on a journey to balance all 7 of her chakras.
3 Roads was established because she wanted to make a career out of something she loves doing, helping people. She sees so much beauty in the art of living to one’s full potential and on her journey to enlightened spirituality, she hopes that her narrative and experiences can help others.