If you’re a mom, then you’ve most likely felt an excessive amount of guilt. Guilt is a natural human reaction and serves an evolutionary purpose. By feeling bad about a wrongdoing, we learn not to make the same mistake twice. Some mom guilt is necessary and can help us take care of our children, but then there is another kind of guilt: the unnecessary kind. It’s the kind we feel because of societal expectations surrounding motherhood. Here is a list of 10 unnecessary mom guilt triggers:
1. Continuing Your Task at Hand Instead of Making Cookies on the Whim of a Child
While cleaning up dishes and getting dinner ready to go, your adorable 6-year-old looks up at you and wonders when you will make cookies from ready-made dough. For a millisecond you feel a twinge of unnecessary guilt because you aren’t “making memories” right this second—that is, until you realize that you are in the middle of taking care of your family and your child’s sugar rush can wait a minute or an hour.
2. Receiving Christmas Cards and Not Sending Them
It’s wonderful to be remembered during the holidays, to have a mailbox filled with cards to adorn your refrigerator with smiling, color-coordinated friends and family. But if the guilt creeps in because you did not take family pictures and mail them to loved ones near and far, don’t. Just don’t. You can only keep your head above water for so long, and if the card thing sends you over the edge, then no guilt necessary.
3. Driving Nowhere After School
We want our children to succeed, to get ahead, to develop their full potential no matter the cost. But what if driving around to various activities forces us to eat at the drive-thru and teeter on borderline insanity? Let the unnecessary mom guilt fade away as you enjoy a relaxing evening at home.
4. Staying Home From Church
If taking children to church turns you into Satan’s minion instead of Mother Teresa, then don’t worry about hanging up your church clothes for a while.
5. Sending Unpinteresting Valentine’s Day Cards to School
Look, I know it’s tempting to impress other moms, and some people really have a knack for craftiness, but understand that sending store-bought Valentines of whatever cartoon is relevant at the moment with “Be Mine” scrawled in second-grade handwriting is just as good as anything you can copy from Etsy. Trust me.
6. Enjoying Time Spent Away From Children
Some women can leave for a day, week or month and not feel guilty about having fun without their children. For others, they start to question whether or not they’re really fit for motherhood. You are allowed to enjoy time away from your children. There, I said it.
7. Family Planning to Avoid Birthday Parties
Let’s be honest. Is there a person alive who actually enjoys throwing a child’s birthday party? If so, great! But for the rest of us, our Xanax prescription doubles at the mere thought of inviting, planning, coordinating and executing a successful party. All you have to do to get out of any and all unnecessary mom guilt about party-throwing is to simply count nine months backward from winter and summer break and that becomes the perfect time to conceive. You won’t have to send your birthday child to school without invites for the whole class because they won’t be at school. They will be home with you, enjoying a nice, cozy, family celebration.
8. Not Snuggling Your School-Age Children to Help Them to Fall Asleep
If I had a donut for every time I fell asleep on my child’s bed while snuggling them to dreamland, I would have type 2 diabetes. It’s OK to be a “tough” mom and let them count backward from 100 to help them nod off to sleep. But, don’t let that unnecessary guilt creep in when they cry “Mommm, will you snuggle me?” for the millionth time.
9. Snuggling Your School-Age Children in Order to Help Them Fall Asleep
The days are long, but the years are short, so they say, so indulge in babying that school-age child just a little more. No unnecessary mom guilt required. You will be rewarded with a peaceful gaze at a child you thought you might strangle seven minutes earlier.
10. Letting Each of Your Children Be Your ‘Favorite’ for at Least a Few Minutes a Day
If you have more than one child, you may chide yourself for ever even considering having the dreaded favorite. They are all cute and easy to love all the time just like you. But sometimes, one might be a little cuter, a little easier to love. Of course, you can still treat them the same, but don’t let unnecessary mom guilt ruin your moment of favoritism.
Keep in mind, this isn’t an exhaustive list. But once you’ve mastered these 10, you will be well on your way to a life free of unnecessary mom guilt. Go on, you deserve it. Really. You do.