Have you ever thought ‘how did I manage to lose myself’? Do you feel exhausted trying to create and uphold the idea of a perfect family? Do you struggle with feelings of insecurity, and guilt?
In this podcast episode, I speak about mom guilt and how to stop comparing yourself to other mothers.
In This Podcast
- Identify where the guilt is coming from
- Stop comparing yourself
- Unleash the mom guilt
- Schedule a date with yourself
1. Identify where the guilt is coming from
Does it come from something someone said to you? Or how someone reacted when you mentioned that weekend away you and your partner spent together? Does it come from yourself?
Think of the people that have negatively judged you for your actions as a mother and remember that there is no perfect way to do things and that there is no such thing as a perfect mother. When you think of these people, realize that they represent judgment. Do not take advice or allow input to come from people who you would not go to for advice.
2. Stop comparing yourself
There’s no perfect way, and no perfect mom.
You have no idea what goes on in other people’s homes, so stop idealizing them as perfect mothers. People may show on the outside that things are going well but we can never know their real struggles unless they invite us in. Do not fall for surface level judgments and assumptions, because they do more harm than good.
Naturally, people want to be good parents and may seek wisdom from observing those around them, but keep yourself from falling into the comparison trap by taking it a step too far and assuming what their situation is.
3. Unleash the mom guilt
Mom guilt prevents us from self care, because we feel alone an judged, we feel stressed and disconnected, we feel guilty when we do something for ourselves.
You can do this by being present on purpose, by practicing mindfulness. Here are some tips on how to get present in the now:
- Look at the ground, identity where you are. Describe it in detail.
- Then, close your eyes and identify what you hear. Wind, birds, music? Notice how they all blend together, which ones are closer or further?
- With your eyes still closed, identify what you can smell. Perfume, incense, peanut butter?
- What are you feeling? What is in your hands, what shape does it have, how do the clothes on your body feel? Notice these sensations.
- Then, notice what you can taste. Put a piece of chocolate in your mouth or take a bite of an apple and describe it as if you are describing it to someone who has never tasted these things.
All these steps help you to practice focusing on the present moment. This is how you can practice being present on purpose and focusing your energy and attention on real objects and events in reality, bringing your mind back from thinking about the to-do list and what is happening next week. Practice doing this with your children – when you spend time with them, do just that and leave all the distractions behind you.
Schedule a date with yourself
We so consumed with life, we busy thinking about the checklist, we completely forget to check in with ourselves.
Go on a date with yourself, your partner, or best friends, but make a conscious effort to make space for time for yourself. By releasing your mom guilt you can make space for yourself, and vice versa because they go hand in hand.
Make yourself a priority alongside all the other things to do, and with no excuses! Book an appointment at the salon, or a ticket to the theatre to see a show, or a table for brunch with close friends but make it happen.
Try to reconnect with yourself using the same mindful methods above. Sit with your thoughts, describe them. Notice them. Interact with them to bring yourself back to yourself.
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Meet Veronica Cisneros
I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.
So I started Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist. Whether you listen to the podcast, join the free Facebook community, join the VIP community, or attend our annual retreat, you’re in the right place. Let’s do this together!
Thanks for listening!
Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a family of podcasts that changed the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Imperfect Thriving, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
Have you ever thought, how did I manage to lose myself? Being a mom is so hard, especially when we’re feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create this perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your marriage and your kids, without the stress perfectionism brings. I am going to teach you how to identify who you are, outside of all of the roles you play.
Hi, I’m Veronica Cisneros. I’m a wife, mother of three, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am on a mission to teach women just like you how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl gang.
I spent an entire day the other day just talking about mom guilt, and I didn’t plan for it to go down that way. However, it seems like every mom was going through the same exact thing. And I’m in session in my private practice and we’re discussing what their mom guilt looks like, and one thing I’m often hearing from them is, I really don’t want to do date night because if I do date night, well then that’s time spent away from the kids. And shopping for myself, well, the kids need this, or the kids need this. And I can’t take time out. I can’t go on a girls’ night. And just spending time on my own, I feel so guilty. I feel so, so guilty, that it just kind of prevents me from going all together because I’m thinking about my kids, I’m thinking about what they’re doing. I feel bad because I left and my daughter was hugging me and she just started crying when I walked out the door, and, yes, they’re with their dad, and yes, they’re in good hands, however, I can’t seem to escape this feeling of guilt.
And so I’m listening to these women, these moms in their struggle, and I’m hearing them, and one thing I often do in private practice is I try to put myself standing right next to them. So I try to put myself in like, not in their body, but just like, as if… I try to put myself in their shoes. And I just started thinking about it because I’m a mom, I’m a mother of three. And it dawned on me, I experience mom guilt as well. Wait, I thought I worked on this. I thought I worked on this. I didn’t think that this was a thing for me. Well, how could it be because I’m sitting on the other end. I’m sitting on the other end because I’m the professional. I’m sitting on the other end because I’m the one that they’re going to for help. And yet, I’m experiencing it as well. And we had a discussion and we talked about this feeling and how overwhelming it is and in addition to that, how defeating it can be at times. And moms, I’m not sure if you’ve ever felt this way. However, for those moms that do, I want you to know right now that you’re not alone.
I used to feel a lot of mom guilt when I was going through my undergrad. My husband was deployed, he was in Iraq, and I remember I would have to stay up late because I was also working at the time. We were really low on funds, and I remember picking up my daughter after I got off work, and we would go home, and I would make her dinner, and then we would sit down and talk, and then it was time for bed. And I hate to admit this, but there were times when I was in the playroom – that’s where we had my desk set up and the computer set up and, you know, I’m in the playroom, typing up this paper and here comes Aaliyah with her pillow and blanket. And I remember her just laying right there, right by me. And here I am typing. And I’m typing and I’m looking at her and I’m typing and I’m looking at her. And then I felt like the worst mother ever. Like, the worst mom because my daughter is going to sleep on the floor, because she wants to spend time with me. And my daughter is sleeping on the floor because mommy is doing work. Mommy’s doing schoolwork. And mommy doesn’t have time to snuggle up with her in bed. She was going through it too, that pain of her father being gone, just like I was. She was a kid. She was a baby. She was about… I want to say she was about four years old when Willie deployed to Iraq, and I just felt so guilty. And I wanted so badly to just say, screw it. I’m going to lay with her and I’m just going to cuddle with her. However, I knew what that meant. I knew if I did that, then there’s no way I was going to finish my homework. There was no way I was gonna be able to go to work the next day and then go to school because my days were jam-packed. And so I just struggled with this. And I remember I just started crying. I just started crying because I just, again, I felt like the worst mother ever.
I did everything in my power to show Aaliyah how much I loved her when I was with her. However, that mom guilt, that mom guilt haunted me. I had googled – I got to admit – I googled ‘mom guilt’ just because I wanted to know the definition. And so, here it goes. This is what I found. Mom guilt is the feeling of guilt, doubt, anxiousness, or uncertainty experienced by mothers when they worry they’re failing or falling short of expectations in some way. Okay, what? This worry consumes us. This worry of constantly failing, of not meeting expectations, consumes us in so many ways. Ways most can’t even imagine. And then I read this article, and this article stated ninety-four percent of moms in a baby center survey fessed up to feeling the shame over issues ranging from the amount of time they spend with their kids to the kind of diapers they use. Ninety-four percent. What the hell?
And so I just thought about this and it’s like, okay, well, somebody needs to speak up. And there’s articles and there’s research done, however, how often do we talk about this? Well, we don’t. And we don’t because we’re afraid of judgment. And we don’t because we want to look as if we have it all together. And little do other people know that we’re suffering silently. We compromise ourselves. We compromise our relationships and in addition to that, there’s very few of us that practice self-care. Mom guilt prevents us from self-care. Because we feel alone and judged, we feel stressed and disconnected. We feel guilty when we do something for ourselves. I’m guilty of this myself. I literally have to go to the gym at like five o’clock in the morning so I don’t interrupt my time spent with kids. Like, I don’t interrupt that time with my girls. And so I wake up at five in the morning, and I do everything I need to do so that it doesn’t disrupt, at all, just time.
Time is something a lot of us complain about. Time is something we feel we don’t have enough of. And the effects of this problem is that we’re overworked, we feel underappreciated, and we’re constantly stressed. And so, because we don’t take time for ourselves, we’re not interacting in the manner that we’d like to, and we’re literally pushing ourselves to the edge. So I’m going to help you guys resolve this. And again, I’ve already admitted that I go through this too, and it’s something that I battle, and I have to constantly remind myself, it’s okay. It is okay. And so I’m going to go over step by step on how I do this. So grab a pen.
First step, identify where the guilt is coming from. Is it something someone said? Was it their reaction? And how can you give yourself grace? And I want you to think about that one chick that you said, oh, yeah, I went on a date night with my husband and we were gone the entire weekend. I want you to think about that chick that gave you that side-eye. I want you to think about that chick that said, what? Well, where were your kids? I want you to think about that same chick who started to interrogate you, not once complimenting you and your husband for going out and spending time with each other and really fueling that relationship. I want you to think of her. Here’s why – because she is the exact reason why most of us are afraid to pursue self-care. She represents judgment. Think about that. I’m not living the life I want to live. And I’m not connecting. And I’m consumed with guilt because I’m afraid of judgment.
Step two, comparing yourself. And I have to, again, I have to check myself too. I’m not saying that I’m this saint and I have it all together, because I don’t. I think all of us humans are going to struggle. And that’s okay. That’s what makes us human. But girl, let me tell you something. You have no idea. You have no idea what’s going on in her house. So stop looking at her as a goddess, a goddess of perfection. I’m going to tell you right now, I hear it every day, every hour, of women who are suffering silently, and their friends think they have it all together. I’m one of them. Mind you, I’m no longer suffering silently because I’ve done the work. However, I was one of those people that everybody thought, she had it all together, she has the husband, she has the kids, she has the dog, she has that life. She’s able to go ahead and run two businesses. She’s able to go ahead and work out every day. Yeah girl, and this takes time, and this takes a lot of work. So I’m teaching you. I’m sure your neighbor, your friend, whoever you look at as this goddess of perfection, I’m sure she has a clean home. I’m sure she has well-mannered kids, and has the body of a supermodel. But let me ask you this – do you know her pain? Probably not. Sure, your friend is able to work out daily, and could still manage to cook dinner, and look all put together in the morning. But let me ask you this – do you know her pain? There’s no perfect way and no perfect mom.
One thing I’ve heard over and over and over again is comparison is the thief of joy. Hear me when I say this, comparison is the thief of joy. Why? Why is that true? Because we’re so busy comparing ourselves to those that we see on social media. We’re so busy comparing ourselves to our friends, to our neighbors, to this one mom that we heard was able to go ahead and do all of these amazing things, all while tending to her kids, all while tending to her husband’s needs. Yeah, well, do we know her pain? No. We all go through some form of pain and it all looks different. So stop comparing.
Hey, ladies. Are you loving this episode? Because if you are, share it with your friends, and then come join me in my private Facebook group, Empowered and Unapologetic. On this page, I want you to share what your favorite episode was, what lessons have you learned, and what was your greatest takeaway? This community is filled with women just like you.
Step three, unleash the mom guilt. Unleash the mom guilt by being present on purpose. I used to think that if I skipped one night of bedtime stories, that that was it, I was the worst mom in the world. I used to think that; I used to believe that. My kid’s gonna know that I missed that bedtime story, or I skipped that book, or I went a whole week without tucking them in at night. My kid’s gonna remember that and I’m a bad mom because of that. Girl, they’re not gonna remember that. Here’s why. Kids don’t remember half the stuff that happens in their life. What do they remember? They remember when memories are created. I remember that one time when my mom read this book to me, and she was pretending she was Kermit the Frog, or she was pretending that she was the wolf, and she made this crazy noise, this howling noise, and it was so embarrassing, and it was so funny and we laughed so, so hard. And then we ended the night in prayer, and I got to say the prayer. That’s what they’re gonna remember. They’re gonna remember memories, things that you did, how present you were. Being present on purpose, mindfulness. How present are you for your children?
I’m going to teach you right now. Right now – unless you’re driving – right now, I want you to take a look at the ground. What do you see? And if you’re driving, I want you to take a look at what’s right in front of you. Pay attention to the road, but what is right in front of you? Are there trees? Is there a red car in front of you? What does it look like? For those of you that are not driving, where are you at right now? Take a look at the ground. Are you in Target listening to this podcast? Are you shopping? Are you at home by yourself? Where are you right now? Identify that.
Next thing, close your eyes. If you’re driving, again, obviously, leave your eyes open. You can do this exercise when you get home or when you get to your destination. When you close your eyes, I want you to go ahead and describe what you hear. What are you hearing? Is it complete silence? Well, describe it. What does complete silence sound like? Can you hear any form of wind blowing in the trees? Can you hear birds chirping? I want you to be mindful and present. So what are you hearing right now? With your eyes still closed, what do you smell? It might be your perfume. It might be your baby’s vomit. It might be that peanut butter that your kid left on your cheek that you could still smell even though you wiped it off like five times after she kissed you goodbye and she went to school. What do you smell?
The next step – what do you feel? So if you’re driving, is that leather? Is it cloth? What does the steering wheel feel like? I want you to describe it in detail. Same thing for those moms. I want you to go ahead and just… it might be something you’re wearing. It might be something if you’re washing the dishes, what does the water feel like? What do the plates feel like? I want you to describe it.
Next, what do you taste? If you have a piece of gum, go ahead and pop it in and I want you to describe it. If you have a piece of chocolate, same thing, describe the taste. Describe it as if I have no idea what chocolate tastes like. Describe it as if somebody has no idea what gum tastes like. I want you to go in detail. These are all forms of bringing you… these are all steps to bringing you to the present moment on purpose. And as you do this, as you do all of this, what you’re doing right now is you’re utilizing your five senses. And with these five senses, you’re also allowing yourself to be present in the moment on purpose. Most of us don’t do this. We’re so consumed with life, we’re so busy thinking about the checklist, we completely forget to check in with ourselves.
Step four, girl, you’re scheduling either a mommy date, or you’re scheduling a date with your man. You’re gonna schedule it. I don’t care if you tell me you don’t have time. I get it. I get there’s not enough hours in the day, however, you’re still going to do it. And guess what? I want to hear all about it. I want to hear all about your girls’ night. I want to hear all about your date night with your husband, or whoever, your friend. Schedule a date night for this week. For this week, it has to be done. No excuses. And I want you to pay attention to, as you schedule it, what emotions come up for you. What insecurities come up for you? How does guilt play a big role in all of this? So yes, we’re identifying our feelings. I’m really big on this. It’s important that you identify your feelings.
So I’m gonna wrap up. To the mom who is working her butt off to provide for her family, I see you and I appreciate you. To the stay at home mom who is suffering silently and can’t answer the question, ‘Who am I?’, I just want you to know that you’re loved and appreciated. To the mom who wears a smile every single day for her children and friends, girl, I see you too and I want you to know that you get to take a timeout. And you get to let it all out and cry, and do one of those ugly cries if you need to. I see you, and you’re not alone. To the mom who is so filled with guilt because she doesn’t have all the answers and is afraid to admit it – girl, you’re not alone either. You’re not. I’m here with you. And so is our girl gang. And if you haven’t already, I urge you to go ahead and join our girl gang. It’s a group of women who are learning how to become empowered and unapologetic. It’s a group of women just like you.
I know, moms, I know you’re feeling stressed and disconnected. I know sometimes that it’s so overwhelming, and you just can’t seem to fit it all in. I’m going to tell you right now, self-care is a must. It’s a must. And yes, I know what that mom guilt can do to you. Like I’ve owned, and admitted, I’ve been there, and I will be there maybe next week, next month, who knows? However, I’m going to work through it. So ladies, I’m gonna end my podcast with this: what is your intent for today? My intent for today is to be present on purpose. My intent for today is to go ahead – and I’m about to drop off Monkey, I’m about to drop her off at school – so my intent for today is to go ahead and be the loudest mom that screams out, ‘I love you, Monkey Feet’ when she walks away and walks through that gate to school. I’m going to be the loudest mom, because I love her. Alright girls, peace out.
What’s up, ladies? Just want to let you guys know that your ratings and reviews for this podcast are greatly appreciated. If you love this podcast, please go to iTunes right now and rate and review. Thank you, guys.
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Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.