Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School Series: Banishing Mommy Guilt--Stop It Before It Starts

It's that time of year again. The time when the kids are half excited, half discouraged, and at times, so are we moms.

Excited because it may be our child's first day of school, first day of middle school, first day of high school, or even first year of college. Yet, we can also say we are saddened at the very same moment. It is a time of whirlwind emotions, and we moms are suddenly launched into full throttle mode.

Yes, it is "Back To School Time". A time of organizing, and scheduling, as well as a flurry of shopping, and emotions.

As women, we play so many different roles--wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, employee--there is no wonder we may find it hard not to beat ourselves up if something slips. We have placed the title of "SuperMom" upon ourselves. When things do not appear as super, we tend to take it not so super, finding only ourselves to blame. The fact is, no one is to blame.

We need only to take a breath and realize, a slip up is okay. No one is perfect. I am sure if someone asked your child if you were perfect, however, he or she would say, "Yes!"

Mommy Guilt is self explanatory, as it is guilt we as mother's place upon ourselves. No one else, only us.

It's a hectic world with a go-go lifestyle for many moms today. Most of us barely have time to sleep, much less slow down to enjoy life.

It is imperative as Moms, that we not allow the everyday stresses of life sneak in and suddenly sabotage our sanity nor all the hard work and effort we put into our families.

The following are simple steps to stop guilt from taking over and solutions to help you take control of your life.

  • Talk About It
When you blame yourself for not having time to volunteer at your child's school, talk to your husband or a friend. Getting your feelings out in the open can keep you from finding fault with yourself. Talking openly also helps to put into perspective what you may find as a major task or set back may not be as major as it appears. During times of stress, we tend to over-react to the smallest of things. I, myself, am guilty of this. By talking to a good friend, or family member, and getting whatever is stressing me out in the open, I can take the time to rationalize--and then, react appropriately. Everyone needs a lifeline--that closest friend, husband, sister, brother, etc.,--to openly discuss issues and bounce ideas off of. Remember to be that lifeline to someone else as well.

  • Banish Guilt Trips
If someone tries to make you feel bad, stand up for yourself. If your stay-at-home sister says, "I can't believe your kids are home alone after school", tell her "You do it differently, but this works for us."

  • Pep Yourself Up
Focus on your achievements, not your perceived failures. Instead of berating yourself for serving fast food, tell yourself, "Most nights, I make nutritious meals that my family loves." There is nothing wrong with allowing a "shortcut meal" so that you may have a few extra minutes to spend with your husband, your children, or on yourself, for that matter. As long as dinner is served and the family eats together, that is quality time well spent, and therefore, goal achieved.

A great amount of stress over a long period of time can cause a host of health problems from ulcers to hair loss to depression and free-floating anxiety. Give yourself a break everyday - even if it's just for a few minutes. Take some time for a walk or jog if your schedule permits. Even a few moments with a cup of tea can get you recharged for the next task.

You need a schedule - a sequence of your chores for the day - every day. Make a list of what has to be done that day, what can wait until tomorrow and what can wait until it gets done. Focus your energy on those things that must be done and done by you. Eliminate the unnecessary chores du jour and eliminate a little stress each day, every day.

Have too much on your plate at the moment? When the fundraiser events coordinator at your child's school calls and asks you to run a booth at the yearly "Harvest Fair", politely decline. It is acceptable and okay to say 'no'. It's especially okay for busy, overworked, stressed out moms.

Choose those activities that are most important to you to take on.

If the "Harvest Fair" is something that you enjoy participating in with your child, rearrange other appointments or engagements that you may have already planned, or plan around the school function as to not be stressed the weekend of the event.

Also, it is more than appropriate to make a donation to the school--that is befitting to your budget -- in lieu of participating in school fundraisers. You would be surprised to know how many other parents dread those brochures arriving home in their child's folder.

School's tempt the children with "prizes" of stuffed bears, plastic water bottles, and high end electronics to persuade them to sell items for the school fundraisers. I have always opted not to participate in fundraising. The schools discourage door to door sales--a positive--yet, that leaves family, friends, and co-workers.

I have always viewed school fundraising as a "parental task". As I am a stay at home mom, I do not have the resource of other adults in the workplace to push a sale upon, nor would I feel comfortable asking anyone to purchase a $13 can of peanuts during a time such as now, when the economy is affecting everyone. Many companies frown upon employees who bring in the fundraising brochures and use workplace as a sales area. Other companies have stricter policies in place that prohibit fundraiser sales altogether.

While I believe that schools do need the help of the community and especially the parents, I have opted to make a private donation to my children's school then treat my kids to an after school trip to our local "drive-in" eatery for milk shakes, ice cream or other treat. In the end, we all win.

Last, but certainly not least, take a moment each day, preferably in the mornings, to pray, meditate, or read an affirmation. Doing something positive before you begin each day helps set the tone for your day, and give you a positive reassurance, which will also resonate onto your children.

Do you find yourself bogged down with Mommy Guilt? What are some tips you have implemented into your life on how to cope with the guilt? Let me know!

1 comment:

Parenting Network said...

Thanks for the tips. I suffer from mommoy guilt so much.

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