Dear Guilty, Stressed Out Mom: Chill! You’re Totally Normal

Written by Angela Atkinson

“I was warned about mothers’ guilt while expecting my first child…I became a mother…I became much more acquainted with mothers’ guilt. It became a constant companion until one day I realized that I didn’t have children in order to spend my life feeling forever inadequate.” -Margie Warell, Forbes Magazine 



It’s a part of life, and thanks to unreasonable expectations that aresult placed on women these days (not to mention the ones we place on ourselves), being a mom right now can be more stressful than any other time in history.

To be fair, moms aren’t alone here. The fact is that stress is common to all of us. Unfortunately, everyone feels the effects of stress due to simply living in this fast-paced and challenging world.

But for moms, stress sometimes comes from the very part of your life that you feel should be the happiest and most fulfilling  – your kids.

First things first: it’s okay to feel anxious or overwhelmed – playing the role of mom is sometimes stressful- so don’t feel guilty about it. The stresses of motherhood come from the constant care that children require, caring for little ones when they are ill, and sleepless nights when your baby wants to play at 2 AM rather than rest

Running kids to sports practices, doctor appointments and classes, and sometimes just dealing with your child’s moods and demands can cause you stress and even resentment. This happens to all moms, and it’s normal that you will feel stress over it.

It’s also normal that you may feel guilty about feeling stressed and resentful. Kids are a huge responsibility, and even though you love them and wouldn’t trade them for anything, they can stress you out.

Sometimes you might feel that you just want to escape from it all, and actually, if your duties as a mom are getting to you, that may not be a bad idea. You can’t jump the next plane for South America and never come back, but getting away for an afternoon on a regular basis can do a world of good for you and your kids.

Let grandma or grandpa sit with the children, or trade babysitting duties with a trusted friend. Get out of the house and do something you really enjoy, whether it’s a quiet afternoon walk in the park, or lunch and a movie with your best friend.

Make sure you also get away once in a while with your husband for a date night. Put on a nice dress or outfit, fix your hair and makeup and go out for a quiet dinner, or a concert, or a double date with friends that you haven’t seen in a while.

It’s okay to get away now and then, and it will give you a chance to re-identify with yourself, your friends and your partner. You should also make time each day for yourself – even if it’s just ten or fifteen minutes.

If you feel guilty about feeling stressed out at your mom duties, or if you feel guilty about spending time away or on yourself, take time to work your way through that. Guilt feelings aren’t productive and they won’t help you to be a better mother.

The guilt may come from the way you were raised – you might have had a mom that completely devoted herself at all times to her kids and you feel as if you are failing if you don’t do that or feel resentful for having to do that.

Sometimes guilt comes from people that we compare ourselves to such as friends, neighbors or even television characters. Don’t do this to yourself. Only you know how to deal with your own family and self in a way that will keep you healthy and happy.

You need to be healthy and happy in order to be a great mom. If you are really having problems with guilt feelings, you may want to work through them with a counselor or other professional.

When you become a mother, your kids become the first priority in your life, and that’s as it should be. However, you still need balance. You need time alone, and you need to take care of yourself. Don’t let guilt overshadow the joy you have in life with your family and all of the other things that makes your life worthwhile to you.

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