4 ways to handle mom guilt
By Lauren Floyd, Holland Harmon, Sydnea Rutland and Jerusha Washington, Honeycomb Moms
There’s very little about motherhood that’s easy. Sure, everyone tells you about how painful childbirth will be, and if you’re really lucky, you might even hear about how difficult it will be to deal with your changing body after childbirth.
But very few people talk about how often motherhood changes your mental state and affects how you feel about yourself.
Four of the Honeycomb moms who helped start this blog shared our experiences with exhaustion, depression and guilt. We hope that you can pick up a few tips from our stories and that our message is clear — You are not alone.
Lauren Floyd, a stay-at-home mom of one:
I quit my job in April to start this blog and to take care of my son Donovan while my husband works. Although I’m handling most the cooking, cleaning and planning for our family, I still struggle with feeling like I’m not holding my own because I’m not bringing in a full-time income.
I get discouraged with the process it takes to monetize a blog. Some days the combination of feeling exhausted and discouraged just strips me of all my energy and leaves me in a blank, detached state. I normally snap out of it in minutes because I don’t really have time to do nothing caring for a baby. Still, my husband, my doctor and I all recognized a difference in my demeanor, so I decided to start therapy a few weeks ago.
In the initial appointment, the doctor asked me if I feel hopeless, if my moods changes often, if I'm more irritable, exhausted all the time, etc. My answers were yes to most of her questions but only some of the time.
It’s too soon to know if the therapy is helping, but one thing that is helping is spending time with family, friends and other moms.
I joined a mom support group, and just hearing their stories helps me feel more connected. I also get to come to Chicago, where I’m from, once a month to get some support from family and friends. That helps tremendously.
Holland Harmon, a single mom of one:
My son Mason goes with his dad every other day during the week, and I feel terrible if I have to study or do anything besides be devoted to him on the days he’s with me.
I went back to work two weeks post-cesarean, so mom guilt has been a struggle of mine forever. I find myself over-compensating in other areas because I feel less than because he’s not with me daily.
I feel convicted even if I have to schedule a hair appointment on his days with me because I feel I miss so much, and he’ll think I’m not present.
I got a therapist. She’s helped me tremendously.
Also, I take him everywhere with me. I’m in a phase where if he can’t come, neither can I. I’m only using my babysitters for what I want/need to do – like Happy hour, lol.
Sydnea Rutland, a working mom of one:
A few Saturdays ago, I felt so overwhelmed and desperate for a few hours of solitude that I asked my parents to come get my daughter, Liv. My husband, Kevin, was at work. I felt so relieved to be home alone that I slept until 4 p.m. I was wondering if that meant I need mental health counseling or something.
With Liv in school all day, I feel bad when I’m tired and finally home with her.
I also feel myself withdrawing from friendships because I’m afraid of disappointing people when I need to just stay home and be in silence.
I think it’s hard for people without kids to understand that you may not want to spend the little free time you have out.
Jerusha Washington, a working mother of three:
I am not well-rested ever, and I don’t expect to be until my kids are in school, lol.
In the meantime, utilize family. I have a friend who sends her baby for a sleepover every Friday with grandma. She and her husband go on a date. They reconnect with friends, or they just have time to rest and relax.
Do it now before you’re like me and have too many kids for a weekly escape!!!
But even with three children, I still leave work a couple times a month and go to happy hour with a friend before I need to pick up the kids.
I personally have a ton of mom guilt though. Since my mother-in-law watches my kids during the week, I hate to ask for nights or weekends because I’m worried they’ll forget how important I’m supposed to be to them.
My solution is to take the kids with me. Kids are usually welcome wherever I am going, but the option to have time away from them is better.