Guilt is a strange emotion and one I find that can pop up at the oddest of times.
As parents it can be very easy to feel guilty. There are so many things to feel guilty about, for example:
- not being a good enough parent.
- taking time out to look after ourselves.
- working and having to use childcare.
- not cooking fresh meals.
- not buying them the latest toys / games / gadgets.
- not spending enough time with them.
There are so many reasons to feel guilty. I have felt them all at one time or another and still do at times. It’s hard not to, particularly when the world can be very fast to criticise you.
Some of the time it’s our own thoughts and beliefs that make us feel guilty, but we can also be made to feel guilty by others. They may not approve of our approach to parenting or they might think we are not doing a good enough job. They can be very open about how they feel and what they think we should be doing.
They may be jealous of the choices we make in life and try to make us feel guilty for them. All of these things are about the other person. Their feelings don’t need to impact on us, or make us feel guilty. However, that’s easier said than done, particularly if things are not perfect at home. (and by the way, things are never perfect in my house and I don’t aspire to perfection).
Try not to feel guilty. I know it isn’t easy. I use Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), aka tapping, to help remove the feelings of guilt and any other emotions that pop up. It’s a very effective technique and one that you can teach yourself. There are lots of YouTube videos on how to do it and I recommend giving it a try.
Often a feeling of guilt can come from not feeling good enough and this is something I know I struggle with. Every day I remind myself that I am good enough, in all aspects of my life. I have a picture on my phone that says ‘I am enough’ to act as another reminder. If you’re struggling with feelings of guilt and not being enough, keep reminding yourself daily and put a reminder on your phone. It really does help. It’s something that I am constantly reminding parents when I work with them as well.
In a world that is quick to judge and criticise know that:
You are a good enough parent.
You deserve to take time to look after yourself.
Working doesn’t make you a bad parent.
Using childcare doesn’t make you a bad parent.
Not cooking fresh meals every day doesn’t make you a bad parent.
Not spending every minute of the day with them doesn’t make you a bad parent.
Please know that you are an amazing parent, doing a great job.