Many parents would agree that balancing responsibilities towards their child, household, career, and more, is no easy feat. Not only does it feel overwhelming, but many a time, parents also experience the ‘fear of missing out’ on the most crucial parts of their child’s growing up years or even everyday activities.
Elaborating, actor Neha Dhupia Bedi, a mother to two children, opened up about mom’s guilt, and how it is something most parent feels.
“Every night after the children go to bed at about 8.30, we think of stepping out for dinner. But if I go, I’ll delay the time I wake up in the morning. I want to be alert, and be there when my children wake up,” she said in an Instagram chat with SheThePeople.
The A Thursday actor further said, “Mom’s guilt is too tough. No mom would ever deny that.”
Mom’s or mother’s guilt is said to be the relentless, pervasive feeling of not doing enough as a parent, or not balancing things right, or not taking enough decisions that may be good for children‘s future. According to a January 2020 study published in ResearchGate, mothers often describe experiencing guilt when thinking about living up to the “good mother” ideal (Rotkirch and Janhunen 2009) and when taking time away from their mother-role obligations to look after themselves (Martinez et al. 2011).
It further notes that guilt is a self-conscious emotion that is considered to be distressful (Tangney, Stuewig, and Mashek 2007) as is associated with doing something wrong or not having done something one should have (Dunford and Granger 2017).
“Balancing things can be difficult for mothers. There can be a challenge in ensuring one is not succumbing to the trail of thought processes that makes one wonder about one’s availability for their child — which is natural,” said psychologist Kamna Chhibber.
What can help?
The study of 143 mothers also stated that self-compassion may offer mothers a positive way to deal with guilty feelings.
Chhibber suggests the following measures to cope
– Set out a routine with your child, and ensure you stick to it as much as possible.
– Some flexibility is imperative. Prepare for contingencies and remind yourself that even if you aren’t available on one day you’ll be there on the next one.
– Children, too, can understand. Soo sharing with them beforehand that you might be busy or unavailable for an activity you usually do with them prepares them and is helpful to you too.
– Challenge the negative beliefs that are setting in by focusing on the good and balancing out your thought processes with the positives of all that you do accomplish.
– Build support systems to help with tasks that you would like to step away from.
– Build boundaries and be assertive in refusing tasks that you are not comfortable with which impinge on your time with your children.
– Be gentle with your self and allow yourself the space to falter. You are probably doing a lot during the course of the day so don’t take away from that.