Mommy guilt. It’s huge. If guilt made the world go round, we’d be spinning out of control.
Maybe we are spinning out of control. Guilt can keep you from doing what you love, from finding balance, and from really living life the way you want to live it. Guilt is a huge motivator. Sometimes, the way we act and the choices we make are driven by guilt. So instead of doing what we need to do to fulfill our souls, to live a meaningful life, we are trying to appease our own guilt. That’s no way to live.
Want to know one simple trick for getting rid of the guilt?
Use your words.
What do I mean by that? Well, just let your kids, your husband, your friends, your mother-in-law know what it is you want to do, and then go do it.
Let me explain: We often live our lives by assuming that others will respond a certain way, instead of living in reality.
For example, for years I did the meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for our family. My husband had a repertoire of grilled flank steak, chicken parm, and mac and cheese. I assumed not only that he couldn’t do the cooking, but that he wouldn’t. So I made sure to be home around dinner time, I turned down opportunities to go out with friends during dinner time, I didn’t even join a gym because I would have to go after work, and I assumed my husband not only couldn’t handle this, but would be upset with me. I felt guilty even contemplating switching up this routine.
And then, one day, I used my words. I told my husband I wanted to join a gym and that the only time I’d be able to go was after work, so he would have to be in charge of dinner.
Did he respond with resistance? Did he moan and groan about it? Did he make me feel guilty? Nope. He just said, “Ok.”
I could have just felt guilty for asking him to take on the responsibility. I could have assumed that he would feel pressure if I gave him this responsibility. I could have just kept my mouth shut, letting the guilt tell me that a mom should want to go home and cook for her family.
But I didn’t. This was something I really wanted, and I wasn’t going to let guilt get in the way.
All it took was me communicating to him what I wanted instead of not voicing it and assuming he would be resistant. When I heard how fine he was with what I wanted, all the guilt went away, I started working out, and now my husband is a pretty damn good cook.
Here’s another example:
Whenever I tried to work from home, to pull out the computer on the weekends when my husband and kids were around, I would feel guilty. I would feel guilty sitting at the kitchen table working on the computer when the kids were running around crazy and my husband was rounding them up, dealing with their whining, getting them juice, and peeling them off of each other when they were fighting. I felt like my husband was shooting me glaring looks the whole time. I felt like the kids were trying to get my attention. I felt like everyone was pissed off. That would leave me feeling irritable, guilty, and annoyed.
So one day, I told my husband: “I need to get 3 hours of uninterrupted work done today.”
And then, guess what happened? Exactly the same thing as before. I would sit at the kitchen table working on the computer, the kids would run around and go crazy, my husband would round them up, deal with their whining, get them juice, and peel them off of each other. But here’s the difference: I knew that he didn’t expect me to help out, and I knew that he didn’t expect me to help him.
I used my words, and everyone knew what the expectation was, and everyone was on board, which meant that I did what I wanted to do without the guilt. Boom.
What are you not doing because you feel guilty? How can you use your words to change it?