You can’t fill someone else’s cup when yours is empty. As a mom, your needs often take a backseat to those of the tiny humans you helped create. Still, if you’re running on fumes how can you be fully present for the ones you love? Learning to find a balance between being a mother and being a real person (with real exhaustion) is a puzzle that doesn’t come with a guide book — but these mindful tips for overcoming mom guilt from holistic life coach Maytal Phillips of The Consciousness Edit offer the perfect place to start…

As a coach, my job is to support creating a life that works and that you’re incredibly passionate about. It does not always include feeling amazing or having a glorified sense that everything is peachy and guilt will no longer exist. As a mother, there is always something to feel guilty about. It’s the way mothers are hard wired. Your purpose is to take care of these beings at whatever cost and, at times, it comes at a personal expense given all we’re up to in the world: being badass boss babes, managing family, career, health, well-being, all while working on those flat abs and juicing celery on a daily basis.

How To Conquer Mom Guilt Once + For All

It’s incredible to see the capacity women have in creating these incredible lives, but the bigger issue I’ve seen is that the lifestyle becomes a must-do instead of a powerful choice. Below are a few tips and journaling exercises to create clarity, ease and power when those guilty feelings start to creep up.

Be presenT | Be proud of your choices. Remember, no situation lasts forever. You’re a working mom. Now what? When you’re at work, you’re worried about the little guys and when you’re at home, you’re worried about what’s not getting done professionally. The stress of being pulled in different directions is also taking you out from being present with your family and at work.

Stress, guilt and anxiety all create a veil that makes it difficult to have any power around the choices you’ve made. The core of this practice lies in your commitment. When you feel like you’re not sure what that is, take a few minutes to journal and ask yourself: What am I really committed to? Is it providing a beautiful life for my family? Or financial security, as an important priority? Whatever that commitment is, standing in that place will give you confidence around the choices you’ve made.

Evaluate Your choices | If the life you created doesn’t align with your choices, see where you can make changes. This is where the forever part comes in. The saying change is the only constant in life holds true, so whatever situation you’re feeling guilty about is also temporary. When guilt gets tough, it’s important to check in with yourself every few months to ask: Does my life work? Or do I need to create something new? Go back to that journal with your commitments and check in with your intentions. Are your choices aligning with your goals for your family, relationship and self? Asking these difficult questions will ultimately drive your decisions and lead you to a more powerful context around your life and support you minimizing those guilty feelings.

Create a powerful team | Your partner, family and friends are where your support starts. It really does take a village and with most families living apart from their immediate circle, it can be hard to have the help you need to ease your mind while you’re out there conquering the world. If you don’t have any of these at the moment, see where you can find people to connect with, help you with pick-ups, share chores and make the entire process more seamless — this will allow you to be more present, less guilty and more sane.

Let go of perfection | Social media doesn’t do a great job of making us feel all good about ourselves when we see people working, traveling and seemingly getting it all done. The truth is we don’t know what’s behind a single photo or short video clip. To compare yourself is fanning the guilt flames and makes it easy to forget the commitments and intentions that you’re passionate about. There is just no such thing as perfect. Accept where you are and use your time to create the life you want instead of feeling helpless. Use a gratitude journal and write down everything in your life that is working and what you’re grateful for.

Know you are enough | Your life is shaped by the lens you view it through. When we constantly come from a place where we’re not good enough, smart enough, sexy enough, etc., the world will show up with all our shortcomings. This is not the easiest action item to release guilt, however, start to notice where the voice is in your head has become critical, comparative and judgmental. Then realize that this critical voice is not who you are. It’s a mechanism that all humans have.

The mom next to you who may seem like she has it all together is also dealing with the same negative self-talk. Replace those with positive reframes such as I am powerful and learning a new skill or I am in alignment with my higher purpose. Take a few minutes to write down the negative self-talk you may be experiencing and then how you’d like to reframe these conversations when the guilt takes you down a rabbit hole.

Being a mom is the most difficult, crazy, beautiful, challenging experience any woman can have. It’s also a period in history where it’s one of many roles we play. The expectations and guilt are enormous, but remember that there are ways to ensure we not only survive but thrive.

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