Coping with the Waves of Mom Guilt

You will never be the perfect parent but you can find grace.

Do you ever just feel like a complete idiot in parenting? The mom guilt is strong today. After losing my patience with my son I just want to crawl in a shell and whip myself for being an ass.

Why couldn’t I be more patient? Why didn’t I try that one technique I read in the positive parenting book for conscious parents? Why can’t I be like the Instagram mom who seems to just have her shit together all the time? Is that even real?

Some moments and days I feel like I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing and I ask myself why I signed up for motherhood. But then my son looks me in my eyes and says “ove you mama” and all my self beat-up melts away. I’m constantly trying to be better in all ways in my life and sometimes it’s an exhausting journey.

I wish I could be more kind when I’m triggered with him. I wish I could be more conscious. I wish I could be like that Instagram mama who boasts how fucking perfect her relationship with her daughter is. God damn, what does that feel like?

But today, I’m just going to let myself feel the feels and hope I’m not the only mother who has these thoughts and who carries the guilt. The endless journey of being a good parent is an endless journey of being a good human.

When you stray away from your own compass and north star you know you’ve gone too far. You’ve lost touch with the center of who you are and then it’s a process to come back to yourself again. Being a parent is a constant journey of following your own voice in a sea of noise amidst social norms, cultural influences, family advice, you name it — someone out there will tell you how you should raise your child.

You just do your best until you know better then you do better. Luckily for this generation of parents we have so many resources available to help guide us and our little ones on the journey. My parents didn’t have the same resources and came from an old school way of parenting where you discipline through intimidation, punishment and threats.

Now as a mother, I have my parents’ conditioning and my own invention of parenting through intuition and the books I’ve read that resonate with offering tools, options, praise and patience but still — I’m not perfect.

I’m not here to preach to you how to be better. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to feel how you feel. As I sit in the echoes of my guilt I hear my own voice repeating to me, “Emily, it’s okay. You’re doing great. You’re doing great. He’s so lucky to have you. He’s so lucky you’re his mama. He’s so lucky he can learn from you.” And then compassion sets in and I sigh a wave of relief because deep down beyond the guilt, shame and comparison is the truth.

The primary caretaker plays many roles — the nurturer, the listener, the protector, the teacher, the guide. You are one person and if you are the primary caretaker of your little one give yourself the same core values you want your little one to take with them in their shortcomings and relationships. Compassion, encouragement, forgiveness are life-long gifts that can be passed down for legacies.

We are only human and in our own shortcomings our children can be reminded that no one is perfect, not even mom or dad. Our shortcomings can be opportunities for grace, healing and growth.

It’s never going to be perfect but the love you have with your child will always be there and that, my friend is the grace.

Self-help & mental health writer. Can't do small talk. Mama. Yogi. Coffee lover. Nature explorer. Get my free meditation mini-course here:

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