+ Well Nourished | Mother Guilt - 8 Ways To Let It Go

Mother Guilt – 8 Ways To Let It Go

Words by Psychotherapist Jane Faulkner

Motherhood is a journey of constant learning, letting go and creatively adjusting to what life brings you. As my children have grown, I have watched myself become consumed by guilt – guilt about choices I have made, the time I didn’t have to spend with them, problems they have, all kinds of crazy things that I used to beat myself up with.

At times, this guilt could be crippling and it would really get in the road of my clear judgement about what the situation and my kids needed. I remember realising that my guilt was actually obscuring my view and also my connection with them. When I felt really guilty, it was all about me! I felt disconnected and not present to them or their needs. My guilt was also keeping me captive and I didn’t feel free in my parenting. I set expectations for myself and my family way too high and I noticed that we were fighting a lot, so I was only noticing the negatives.

I was miserable and so was my family, so I explored relaxing, handing over more responsibility to my kids, trusting and letting go of some of the guilt.

Here are 8 strategies that helped me.

  1. Remind yourself that your job is to teach your kids to do things for themselves and then hand it over to them. Independent kids often have higher self-esteem and resilience.
  2. Time is precious, however when you are unable to be with them, remind yourself that they are nourishing other relationships and learning how to handle different situations and different people. This is really important for their social skills and their confidence.
  3. Be clear about your boundaries and stick to them. Consistency provides stability and security for your kids. Even if they moan and complain, you are providing a safe, structured environment for them to grow in.
  4. Children follow by example, so model behaviour that you want to pass onto them. Look after yourself, take deep breaths and be kind to yourself and to others!
  5. It’s healthy for kids to see you take time for yourself to exercise, see friends or just get some space; you are showing them ways to look after themselves. You are planting seeds that will grow within them.
  6. Ensure that your children treat you with respect- let them know if they are being disrespectful or if you feel like you are being taken for granted. Your job is to help make them more aware of themselves and the impact they have on others.
  7. It’s ok to let them fall, trip up or get things wrong. This is how we all learn, evolve and grow; if I never fall off my bike I won’t learn how to balance and ride! Trust that together, you and your child will be able to deal with anything. Let your child know that you trust their abilities and are there to support them. This doesn’t mean you rescue them, more like you are their cheer squad, reminding them that they have the capacity to work through any challenges or obstacles.
  8. Let go of worrying about what anyone else thinks. I used to do too much for my kids because I was worried about what their teachers or other parents would think! Now I realise that if they leave their hat behind and have to play inside, they remember it the next time and I think it’s better to learn this at 7 then at 19.

To implement these strategies I had to let go of a lot of old ways of thinking that didn’t serve my family or me. I had to be open to walking a new path and allowing myself to make mistakes along the way, to remind myself that I was learning and human too! So go gently with yourself, park your guilt and remind yourself that being guilty doesn’t help anyone.

Jane Faulkner is a Reg. Nurse with a Masters Degree in Gestalt Psychotherapy, a certificate in Initiatic Art Therapy and A Certificate in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy; she is also a yoga teacher. She works in private practice as well as in a local health retreat; she has worked in the Wellness industry for the past 20 years.

Thanks, Jane, I know I certainly need to take this on board. Now over to you…are you a sufferer of ‘mother guilt’ – I know I’m certainly guilty as charged (though now committed to being mindful not to be)? Share what works for you and inspire others, or post a question for Jane in the comments below.

All of the content here at Well Nourished is FREE to assist you to be the healthiest you can be.  But you can help me to build a healthier world, please  Share this post with a friend Share this post with a friend.

You can also support my work by purchasing my ebook “Rise and Shine” – more details HERE or “The Well Nourished Lunchbox” – more details HERE.

DSC_1132

  • Petrina

    I can definitely relate. However I have realised if I take time out to exercise it makes me a better mum. It helps my mood so much I think it rubs off on everyone in the family, and I love setting a good example for my kids. Great article.

    • So agree Petrina – I’m not a hard core fitness fanatic, but even if I get out for a 30 minute walk, I and then they, are better off for it G x

  • Great tips! Thanks Jane and Georgia for sharing.
    Mother guilt is definitely something that I suffer from regularly and keep having to remind myself that I am doing a good job. Tip number 4 about modelling the best behaviour is key for me.
    Thanks again x

    • Welcome Brigid. Yes, I have seen first hand when I’m angry and yelling, they also get angry and yell (which makes me more angry – vicious circle)…I love point 4 too for sure. I always think of the quote – “kids will follow your example, not your advice”. G x

  • Jessica N Dominic Flanagan

    Great article Jane & Georgia! Helps that it’s a mum (who happens to be a psychotherapist!) writing about mum stuff ie, you’ve been through it all too. Exercise & mindfulness are 2 key elements of keeping me a happy mum too. I am more able to cope whatever my day brings if I include these things into day. Thanks again for your fantastic website & emails Georgia! I’m loving (& so are my kids/hubby) & making lots of your recipes & your choice in guest writers seems to be very timely for me! I’m recommending your website to lots of people!

    • Thanks Jessica. Jane is an amazing lady. I heard her speak and just knew she would be an amazing edition to Well Nourished. Glad this post resonates and that you are cooking up a storm. Appreciate your support G x

Kind words…

“I downloaded your ebooks after hearing you speak at the Health and Wellness Summit in Melbourne. Love them, life changing… Don’t stop! Thank you for getting the whole food message out there, I certainly heard it.” Melanie

“I love your ebooks, I have all three of them now and they are now my only go to receipe books. They are simple, wholesome and taste great. THANK YOU!!! I have spent alot of money on courses about healthy eating and recipe books but your books have covered it all and my little man enjoys the snacks etc. Wish I would have found you earlier “. Brooke

“I just want to say a huge thank you for your amazing website and information. I’ve never liked cooking and never got excited by my ‘healthy’ cooking. My husband is even worse and if he could, he would just eat beacon and eggs every morning and steak every night. He hardly ate any veggies. Since I found your website I have gone through almost every recipe. My husband is loving every meal as well – even meat free Monday, and he’s taking left-overs to work for lunch (honestly, who thought that could be so hard?!)” Rose

“You have truly helped me and my family to lead a healthier lifestyle. I’ve been referring to your page every few days, very inspiring, so thank you!” Emily

“Thank you very much for your awesome website & facebook page posts, you have motivated & inspired me heaps!” Fiona

“Just discovered your site 3 weeks ago, its been a great help with kids lunches for back to school, thanks so much!” Ange

“What a fantastic blog filled with so many great recipes and information!” Carla

“I just wanted to let you know that you have absolutely inspired me to a better way of eating, I’ve been making my shopping lists based on recipes you’ve shared and am educating my kids with the reasons behind different foods and why they are good etc! This page has become my little bible hehe! Thank you so much for all the detail you give. It’s absolutely wonderful!” Sky

FREE Newsletter
chocolate-recipe-200X204

Register to receive:

  • FREE Chocolate Ebook
  • Weekly whole food recipes
  • Practical health and nutrition tips
  • Subscribers only special offers

Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required