I feel mom guilt about a ton of things all the time due to the infamous ‘mom brain’ phenomenon: being 5 minutes late picking up my daughter from chorus, cancelling on someone at the last minute because I completely forgot we had plans and I’m just too tired to put on pants, constantly forgetting what day it is…
But I’ve discovered recently that feeling crappy about all those little things just feeds into my anxiety and mom guilt.
How do I overcome those feelings of inadequacy and mom guilt when I forget an appointment or call my kid by the wrong name; when I get overwhelmed by the enormous mental load I carry around every day?
Well, first, I’d like to take a page from my favorite Disney Queen: Elsa. I have to learn to let it go. I used to get so worked up with embarrassment over every little detail I would overlook. Be it an appointment, a pickup, the name of a song… I let my embarrassment and anxiety get to me.
Sometimes these feelings would consume my day, replaying over and over in my mind until I drove myself to distraction and forgot something else in a terrible, never-ending circle of insanity.
Secondly, I needed to be more self-aware. When I found myself stressed out to the max and nearing the danger zone, I would stop and take a breath. I needed to learn to give myself a break. I know I’m constantly up to my eyeballs with work, cleaning, the occasional sewing project, work, cleaning, or the unfinished blog entry I waited til the last minute to start. If I know I’m going to have a super busy week ahead, I try to schedule time to take breaks and unwind.
Which leads me to my next idea: make a list of things to get done: buy calendars and set alarms on the phone. The more organized I am, the less I tend to forget. I even put up a reminder on my mirror to take my anxiety pills every day, because everyone knows if Mamma ain’t calm, ain’t nobody happy.
And finally, I celebrate my small victories before moving on to the next stress-fest. For instance, this weekend I finished planning my next unit for school. Right now I’m treating myself to take out and Ben and Jerry’s. Then I’ll head downstairs and start working on my next project.
I feel celebrated and validated in my victories and that helps keep the stress ball of doom from overcoming my brain and drowning it in mom guilt.
It is always good when I can remember that none of us are perfect. That one mom who’s always organized and on top of things might have a million little reminders and schedules around her house so she won’t forget anything. The mom who arrived late might have decided that being on time wasn’t worth the trouble of forcing little Johnny to change out of his beloved dinosaur shirt he’s been wearing for four days straight. Sometimes, I think it’s easier to give other moms a break; to give a little because we know they’re super busy, just like us. But it is just as important, if not more important, to give ourselves that much-needed break too. And stop freaking out and feeding our mom guilt with all the things that might go wrong.