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Posts Tagged ‘mom guilt’

Every year, a few new words or terms that make their way into common language. While they’re usually words that describe new trends or technologies (glamping, cryptocurrency) one that I’ve heard a lot lately is Mom Guilt. And while the use of the term has only recently gone mainstream, I imagine that the emotion has been around since the beginning of motherhood.
Mom and toddler daughter

Guilt, on its own, is an emotion experienced when we perceive that we’ve done something wrong. Add “Mom” as a prefix and, it’s clear that we’re referring to instances when we feel we could have done better by our child.

While many triggers exist, Mom Guilt is often associated with the times when we are not physically with our children. If you hesitate to plan a weekend with friends, pass on date night with your partner, skip your workouts, or even feel badly leaving for work, all because you feel you shouldn’t be leaving your child, you may be experiencing Mom Guilt.

That most likely means that you recognize how critically important you are to him or her. According to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, “The single most common factor [in resilient children] is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive [parent or other adult.]”Mom in script text

So, it’s wise and admirable that you would be thoughtful about how you use your time, and that you see the value in devoting the better part of a given day, week, or month to time with your child and your family. However, for loving and attentive parents, perhaps a feeling of guilt (which remember, refers to feelings of having done wrong), each time you leave home, should be reconsidered. Here’s why:

  1. Your child needs the opportunity to exercise independence. In many of our parenting classes, when we ask parents what their goals are for their children, we almost always unanimously agree that we want our children to grow into happy, independent adults. Children need the chance to exercise their independence by being away from you at times.
  2. You are your child’s first teacher, and always a role model. Let them see how you can manage the many responsibilities adulthood, including heading out to work each day. I hope to inspire my daughter by showing her that every day, going after what needs to be done with a positive attitude, which includes leaving for work, is good for me, for her, and for our family.
  3. Happy parents create happy families. Taking care of #1 has rippling effects for your family. So, if you need to take a break without your kids, whether that’s going to yoga or having lunch with friends, know that it’s nothing to feel guilty about. When you’re back, you’ll feel more peaceful and rejuvenated, and can be present with your child, the beneficiary of a happy mom!

What do you do to relieve your “Mom Guilt?”  Respond in the comment section.

Resources:

The Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, Resilience https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/resilience/

PBS Parents, Fostering Independence in Children http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/learning-disabilities/fostering-independence-in-children/

Writer: Joanna Fifner, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County, fifner.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

 

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