There Were Days When Mom Guilt Suffocated Me Nightly

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Most moms today face mom guilt. Thanks, social media. It’s a battle that we fight within us, often with no real basis.

We fret over the occasional yelling, giving our children too much screen time, or simply feeling like we’re not measuring up as a mother.  It’s exhausting.

After long days with our kids, instead of sleeping soundly in our beds at night, we’re left wide awake with guilt in our hearts. But the truth about mom guilt that no one ever talks about is that sometimes it’s there for a reason.

Yes, sometimes we may just need to listen to the mom guilt.

Before going on, I want to be clear about one thing: I do not want this post to make you feel badly about your parenting. You’re doing a good job, Mama. I promise. It’s just that, well, a little introspection never hurt any of us—especially in the parenting department.

I know that listening to my own guilt was one of the best moves I’ve ever made as a mother.

You see, when my kids were younger, a toddler and a preschooler, it was hard. Much harder than it is today.

These were the days where the mom guilt suffocated me nightly.

Instead of dreaming of my sweet children, I’d worry that I was ruining them. Either I had yelled at them too much, let them spend too much time watching cartoons, or given myself too much screen time. You know the drill. And normally, I shouldn’t have been holding that guilt in like I was.

But other times…I’m glad I listened.

I went through an ugly phase when my kids were smaller. I lost my temper—far too often. My kids would start fighting. They’d be standing in their play kitchen, having a good ‘ole fashioned tug-of-war contest with a plastic spatula. “Mine!” they’d both shout.

I’d start by trying to break up their tiff calmly, but it always seemed to end with me losing my temper. The whole house would shake with anger, and afterward, we all felt crummy about it.

Instead of being my children’s all-knowing captain, I steered them directly into a storm.

I should have been calmly guiding them to shore. As their mother, I should have been their safety. Days and nights went by where the guilt smothered me. Then days turned into weeks, then months.

Finally, I had had enough. I realized something important. That constant guilt that ached within me—it was there for a reason.

It was there to teach me to do better. Because you know what? That’s what my children deserved.

So, I took action. I researched ways to remain calm and help my children settle their spats without losing my cool. This was tough work.

And honestly, a lot of the time, the best solution was for me to simply give them the tools to resolve it themselves, and then to walk away. This way, I was able to calm down and not overreact towards my kids. After all, they were just learning to communicate and coexist with one another.

In a weird way, I’m thankful for that hearty dose of mom guilt.

I needed to feel that ache pulse within me nightly to allow myself to finally wake up. My kids deserved a better mother—and that guilt helped me get there.

Moms, don’t let the guilt about the little things keep you awake at night. The screen time and junk food? It’s not worth it. Please know that you’re doing a great job.

Your children are loved. But if you’re finding that the guilt just isn’t melting away as it should, listening to it might just be the solution. That way, you can be the captain your kids yearn for and you can guide them into their safety—your arms.

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