As I picked up my kids from daycare yesterday I was met by the owner who handed me a cookie with #NoMoreMomGuilt painted across the front of the wrapper. As a therapist who works with moms on a regular basis my first thought was “Heck yes!” but as I thought on it longer I realized that this issue is one that is often forgotten but needed now more than ever.
Raise your hand if you are a caregiver. Raise your hand if you are overwhelmed with the mountain of obligations you have in your current life. Raise your hand if you feel like you should be doing more but wonder where that “more” is going to come from.
If you find yourself caring for others more hours during the day than you care for yourself, you may be suffering from caregiver guilt. Known in today’s society as “mom guilt” this is the negative feeling that we associate with not being the best for those we care for. We feel the pressure and associate that with the need to be the end all be all for the ones we love.
Well I am here to tell you that we need to kick that feeling to the curb. How can we be the best for others when we cannot be the best for ourselves? What are we teaching those we care for if we give all we have to them and are left with nothing at the end of the day? Let’s flip the script, let go of the guilt, and start caring for ourselves so that we can care for those we love.
First things first. Let’s just own it. Say it with me. “I have put everyone above myself and I still don’t feel like I am getting the job done.” When we neglect ourselves we neglect our energy bucket which in turn leaves us constantly feeling less than enough. Let’s acknowledge our struggles so that we can feel validated in them and find permission to do something about it.
Next, let’s stop allowing one moment of guilt or shame to bleed into the rest of our moments. We are all human and no matter what the super moms on social media look like, we have all hit our kids head on the door frame getting them in and out of the car. Perfection is unrealistic and yet guilt is bred into our search for it. If you do something wrong, acknowledge it, and then let it go.
Finally, let’s focus on the positives. Although it may feel at times that you can only do the wrong thing, I am 100% sure that isn’t the case. At the end of the day or the start of the next, look back at the day and spend some time noticing all the things you did well. Give yourself credit for the time you didn’t lose your cool, the meal that made it to the table, the appointment you were on time for, or the millions of other little things you completed on the to do list. It’s easy to think of the negative but the positives are there waiting to be seen and ready to help push you over the hump of the next day.
To all of the caregivers out there, guilt will always be there but those we care for wont. Don’t let the time you have with them slip away while you are beating yourself up. You’ve got this!
If you want to find out more ways to be emotionally connected to your spouse or partner, call us at 936-524-7523 or go to www.thecenterforhopeandhealing.net