Identifying, Understanding and Managing Mom Guilt on Your Own Terms

Identifying, Understanding and Managing Mom Guilt on Your Own Terms


Most moms are bound to experience a form of mom guilt at some point during the growth of their child. It is a pervasive feeling of inadequacy that you may not be doing the right things for your infant.

Mom (or dad) guilt may be temporary like whether you’re feeding your infant the right kinds of meals or it may be long term. It could come as a feeling of dread or panic.

Mom guilt has many origins, from personal insecurities to outside pressures from family, friends, social media, and other sources.

A quick scroll through social media will show hundreds of posts of what other moms seem to be doing so well, from educational activities to perfectly groomed toddlers posing sweetly. (Remember: Little do we know whether they were having a full-blown tantrum just seconds before or after that shot.)

Even formal recommendations, such as those from doctors and organizations, can create feelings of inadequacy.
Although there is a tiny dose of mom guilt that can be productive, it becomes harmful when it starts to inform your decision that you previously thought to be correct — based on what’s right for your own child and family and it is important to identify it’s source so you can learn to manage it, relax and appreciate yourself better.

Mom guilt could stem from different roots and it’s severity could depend on:

  • if you’re trying to improve on a parenting strategy that you feel your parents didn’t do very well
  • if you’re parenting with obsessive-compulsive disorder or other mental health conditions
  • if you’ve had past trauma

Having identified your past triggers, you can move on to finding your personal truth as a mom or dad.

Managing Mom Guilt

A. Narrow the group of people with whom you discuss important decisions to reduce unsolicited input. Advice from people who seem to make you doubt yourself at every turn might be a major cause of mom guilt. It is important to surround yourself with people who respect and appreciate your values.

B. Listen to your children and your intuition: Mother’s intuition is not a myth, but rather a strong source of wisdom and decision-making power that women through the ages, have used to keep their babies safe and healthy and make the right decisions for them.
Children are excellent sources of information on whether your decisions are working, and what areas you should and shouldn’t feel guilty about. If you have a child constantly begging you to make a play with them while you’re working, you don’t need to feel guilty for working, but may need to schedule a playtime later that’s all about them.

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