Understanding Mom Guilt and Ways to Overcome it

Mom guilt refers to specific feelings of guilt that mothers experience relating to their role as a mother and their ability to meet their children’s needs. However, it can be overcome with simple strategies like self-care & realistic expectations.

Harleen Kaur
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Understanding Mom's Guilt and Ways to Overcome it

Understanding Mom Guilt and Ways to Overcome It

What is Moms guilt?

Mom Guilt: Overcoming Feelings of Parental Inadequacy - DFWChild
According to a survey conducted, approximately 80% of working mothers admitted to experiencing mom guilt at some point in their careers.

Mom guilt refers to specific feelings of guilt that mothers experience relating to their role as a mother and their ability to meet their children’s needs. It is a term that resonates with countless mothers worldwide, and that comes with complex emotions, self-doubt, and a drastic transition from womanhood to motherhood. 

It is often seen in working women, who are juggling and struggling to strike the perfect balance between motherhood and career. It's a pervasive feeling that arises from the internalized pressure to excel in both roles. 

Why Do Women Feel It?

How to Manage Mom Guilt — Psyched Mommy
Why do women feel mom guilt?

Societal Expectations: Society often places unrealistic expectations on mothers to be flawless caregivers while excelling in their careers. This societal pressure contributes significantly to the onset of mom guilt.

Cultural Norms: Cultural norms and traditions may perpetuate the idea that a mother's primary responsibility lies within the home, creating a conflict when she also aspires to have a thriving career.

Comparisons and Judgments: Mothers may frequently compare themselves to others, particularly on social media, leading to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Unrealistic desire to become the so-called 'Supermom': Due to the influence of social media, mommy bloggers, and influencers, mothers may feel inadequate in managing their children, household, and personal well-being. This trend of being a perfectly dressed mom with impeccably performing children in every activity, without any flaws, often leads to feelings of 'mom guilt'.

Lack of Support: Insufficient support systems, both at home and in the workplace, can intensify mom guilt. The unequal distribution of household and childcare responsibilities often falls on the mother's shoulders.

Aggression and Frustration: Mom's guilt can arise when a woman is feeling down, becoming easily irritated, and snapping at her partner and child for no apparent reason. Fluctuating hormones and reduced dopamine levels can contribute to this sense of mom guilt.

How to Overcome Mom Guilt?

Understanding Mom's Guilt and Ways to Overcome it

  • Set Realistic Expectations: Acknowledge that perfection is an unattainable standard. Embrace the idea that being a good parent does not mean perfect children, a well-organised room, being with them 24*7, arranging play dates for children etc.

If your child is getting bored, it is fine.

If you are not able to breastfeed till the experts or others say, it is fine

If you are giving extra screen time to your child, on your bad day, it is fine.

If they throw tantrums in front of others, it is also fine. 


  • Recognize Irrational Thoughts: Think about what you are saying to yourself and challenge those irrational thoughts. Try to keep those thoughts away, and remind yourself of who you are beyond motherhood. 
How to deal with mom guilt | Baptist Health | Jacksonville, FL
Recognize Irrational Thoughts and stay away from them

I am not enough for my baby

I am not feeding food to my child myself

I have joined my work, what would other people say?

I was working when my child was crying back home.

I am giving more time to my toddler than my older child


  • Open Communication: Communicate with your Partner, friends, family and employers about your needs feelings and limitations

Hey hubby!! Will you pick up Norah today from her school?

Hey boss, My child is unwell, How about I work from home today?

Mommy, please help me to assist my son to read and write.

Hey! Would you please invite my child for a play date at home, I am occupied with some other work today.


  • Effective Time Management: Prioritize tasks and allocate time efficiently for both work and family commitments. Employ time management tools to streamline responsibilities.

Use Asana App, Any.do for creating to-do lists and prioritizing tasks.

Google Calendar or Apple Calendar for organizing schedules.

RescueTime for tracking time spent on tasks and activities.


  • Self-Care is Non-Negotiable: Prioritize self-care to maintain mental and emotional well-being. A well-rested and emotionally grounded mother is better equipped to nurture her family. Sleep well, meditate, relax, take your me-time, and do whatever you like for yourself for at least 30 minutes every day. 
self care
Prioritize self-care to maintain mental and emotional well-being

Use Headspace: Train your brain for relaxation

Freedom: Stop distractions, find your focus

Happify: Improve your mindset


  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on the quality of time spent with your family rather than the quantity. Engage in meaningful activities that strengthen your bond. You and your husband will not talk about your own problems, issues, or your jobs in front of your child in that family quality time. One-on-one personal interactions should be there. Asking about their emotions will be better than asking about their grades in your quality time.
Struggling with mom guilt? Here's what to do to overcome it
The time that you spend with your child should be digitally free. 

The time that you spend with your child should be digitally free. 

  • Join Support Networks: Seek out and engage with support networks of fellow working mothers. Sharing experiences and advice can help alleviate feelings of isolation. Identify Your Supports and Stay away from toxic people who compare you and your motherhood journey. It's better to distance yourself from people who underestimate you for your mental well-being.


  • If Possible, Hire an Extra Hand: If you can afford someone to look after your child in your absence, do your dishes, and laundry or buy groceries for yourself. Hire an extra hand. 

Mom guilt is a widespread sentiment experienced by many mothers striving to excel both in their careers and in their roles as caregivers.  By embracing self-compassion and seeking support, mothers can navigate the challenges of motherhood. 


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