Erase “Mom Guilt” By Making More Out Of Doing Less

We’ve all heard the phrase “mom guilt.”

We often joke about it, but it is a very real thing that leads women to feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and even as if they’re failing in some way.

But there is a way to combat the feeling that we have to do more and more – by actually doing less.

It may sound too good to be true, but many of us get so caught up in a routine or way of doing things that we often cannot stop.  It’s almost as if we’re on a hamster wheel that never stops.

We often can’t say no, feeling that we’ll disappoint someone or that we won’t measure up to our perception of what we’re “supposed” to be doing.

But almost always, the pressure and expectations come from ourselves.

Sure, we may think that other moms have it all together; that they’re juggling things far more easily than we are.

It’s just not true.

With women increasingly working full-time while raising a family, or work full-time while home during the day with the kids and then a “second shift” in the evenings, there seems to be a message in society that we have to do it all.

We’re all struggling with it.  How do we spend time with our families, go to work all day, take care of the housework, cook meals, and still make 100 cupcakes for the school bake sale?

Well, author Tiffany Dufu has written on the subject and has some tips on how we can accomplish more by doing less.

She says that, first, we must let go of unrealistic expectations that make us overwhelmed.

That begins with never comparing ourselves to other moms.  We all have different skills, talents, personalities, and circumstances.

Motherhood is never “one size fits all.”

Dufu says to sit down and really think:  What are the most important things that I want to accomplish as a wife/mother/woman?

For most of us, our most important goal would be to raise healthy, happy kids by spending time with them, playing, talking and listening.

If things like the laundry or baking those cupcakes are getting in the way of that, it is then that we become overwhelmed.

Dufu recommends making a list – a real, written list or even a spreadsheet – of priorities for our family, and then follow it.  (And everyone in the family should help with the list and help balance the “must do” responsibilities.)

We have to ask ourselves what really matters to us?  What is really going to matter more in the long run?

None of us are likely to say “laundry” or “dishes,” so sometimes it becomes a matter of letting go.

And not trying to do it all — especially if tasks that overwhelm us are not benefiting the family unit as a whole.

Yes, the laundry needs to be done.  But using your list of priorities may help you to realize that the long-term benefit of using an hour to read to your child far outweighs the hour of laundry that can wait another day.

(Unless everyone in the house is completely out of clean underwear!)

For all the other little things like helping out with the bake sale at school, Dufu tells us to ask ourselves, “How does this really relate to the main goals I have?” for ourselves and our family.

If something really is beneficial to your top goal or priority, then go ahead and do it.  But if it is weighing you down and drawing you away from what you want to accomplish, it should not make the cut.

And finally, the main problem with “mom guilt” – we have to understand what guilt really is and where it is coming from.

Guilt is a reaction to doing something we know is wrong, that goes against our moral and ethical values.

So why do we have guilt when the laundry is not done or we have to tell the PTO we can’t volunteer for the bake sale?

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Saying no is not wrong if it is benefiting your family and your own physical and emotional well-being.  If it’s not wrong, there’s no need for guilt.

So make that list, check it twice, stick to it, and do more by doing less!

You just may find the balance restored and the entire family happier and more relaxed!

Do you have trouble saying “no” or being overwhelmed by all the expectations you have for yourself about being a “good” mom?  Leave us your comments.