Most parents will feel parenting guilt at some point.  Here are some tips on how to get rid of mom guilt/dad guilt so you can get on with enjoying being the parent you are. #motherhood #secondchild #momguilt #feelings #breastfeeding #workingmom #parenting #parenthood

Parenting Guilt – How to get rid of it for good

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Most parents will feel parenting guilt at some point.  Here are some tips on how to get rid of this feeling so you can get on with enjoying being the parent you are.

Most parents will feel parenting guilt at some point.  Here are some tips on how to get rid of mom guilt/dad guilt so you can get on with enjoying being the parent you are. #motherhood #secondchild #momguilt #feelings #breastfeeding #workingmom #parenting #parenthood

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure for more info. 


This is the parent I like to be:

Lots of outside play, puzzles, reading together, homemade healthy fun food, play dates with friends, exploring new places and kid-friendly events.


What my parenting has looked like this week:

“Do you want to watch Daniel Tiger or Dora the Explorer?” while I pass my daughter her lunch of Mac and cheese from a box.


Though the mac and cheese was Annie’s organic and in any case this isn’t what most people would call atrocious parenting, it still doesn’t align with the parent I usually like to be.


Enter parenting guilt.


I usually have a lot of energy and try to be present with my 3 year old. But this week I was dealing with some bigger health issues and this was the best I could do. Even this felt like a lot.


I had to cut myself some slack and let go of the parent I like to be when I’m feeling healthy. No good was going to come out of feeling a lot of parenting guilt for a ton more screen time or food from a box than usually happens around here.


It got me thinking about parenting guilt and how probably most of us feel it from time to time.  Mom guilt is definitely a thing, but dad guilt is real too, especially as more and more dads are taking on bigger childcare roles.  It happens when we’re not living up to our expectations on ourselves. Sometimes the expectations can come from other people. A spouse, family members, friends, or society in general can all put subtle or not-at-all subtle pressure on us as parents.


According to this New York times article, the pressure on parents is so much higher than in our parents or grandparents time. It’s no wonder parenting guilt feels rampant. How can we keep up?


Related reading:


Some reasons we might feel parenting guilt

There are so many reasons why we might feel parenting guilt.

* We’re letting our kids have too much screen time (whatever our definition of “too much” is)


* Working outside of the home more than we’d like


* Not having enough energy for our kids


* Guilt about less attention/time/energy for the first child when having a second child


* Breastfeeding struggles or stress about going back to work when we’re still breastfeeding


* We lost our temper or weren’t as patient with our kids as we’d like to be


* Our toddler still uses a soother and we know we should get rid of it but it helps them sleep


* So many other reasons!


Forgiving yourself for parenting mistakes

What is your parenting guilt is coming up from a mistake you made? This is a different situation. If you lost your temper and raised your voice at your kids, or let them down by promising something and not following through, apologize to your kids.

This is so important for parents to model to their kids and I don’t think that many parents do this regularly. We’re human and we’re going to make mistakes and we will make them with our kids. But being able to say ‘I’m sorry, and this is why, and I will try to do better ‘ goes a huge long way.

We can’t just expect our kids to apologize when they do something wrong, we need to model that for them. We’re supposed to be the grown-ups after all. Even if on some days we want there to be a more grown up grown-up in the room to be the mature one so we don’t have to be. ?


What to do when we feel parenting guilt

First, notice it. When we’re having a feeling that is less than pleasant it might feel easier to bury it or dismiss it. This is something I am really good at (the burying part, not the noticing part) so noticing and acknowledging icky feelings is something I need to constantly practice.

Next we need to take a deep breath and be kind to ourselves. Tell yourself that you are doing the best you can. Each day is a different day and each parent has a unique life so putting comparisons or expectations on yourself isn’t helpful and is just a ton of pressure.

Forgive yourself.  You’re human and you’re doing the best you can.

Something that I tell myself on the guilty-feeling days that has helped me a lot is this:

Your 100% is going to look different on different days

I always try to give 100%.  Sometimes that looks like I’m getting a lot done and checking lots of my daily momming boxes.  Other days it feels like I’m failing at absolutely everything and not able to do very much.  But on those days, that is my 100%.  I can’t always give the same amount and letting myself really know that and feel that helps SO much with parenting guilt.


Extra info to help when you’re feeling like you’re failing as a parent

If you are feeling burnt out by parenting or are just looking for a great book on parenting, this one is a must-have.  I have turned to Dr. Laura again and again since having our daughter.  Her advice is practical, helpful, and spot-on.  This parenting book is on my list to read and speaks about the constant pressure to be a perfect parent, and what we can do about that to feel happier in parenting and raise happier kids.  That’s all any parent really wants!  ♥


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Most parents will feel parenting guilt at some point.  Here are some tips on how to get rid of mom guilt/dad guilt so you can get on with enjoying being the parent you are. #motherhood #secondchild #momguilt #feelings #breastfeeding #workingmom #parenting #parenthood

Have you ever felt parenting guilt over anything?  Do you find it easy or hard to forgive yourself for parenting mistakes?

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    1. It totally can. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to this idea of a “perfect parent” but there is no such thing. We’re all trying and doing the best we can and on some days that will look different.

  1. Those are great tips. I think we all feel that guilt on a fairly regular basis. We want so much to do everything we can for our kids, but we’re not prefect.

    1. It’s true – parenting guilt can come from a good place, wanting the best for our kids. I feel so much better when I try to cut myself some slack instead of being too hard on myself. A big motivation for me to do that is wanting to model kindness to myself, to my daughter. So when she grows up she can hopefully learn not to be too hard on herself.

  2. It can be so hard to forgive ourselves of the parenting guilt. I know I am constantly thinking that I am not doing enough as a mom because I compare myself to others online. This is a great reminder to not be so negative towards ourselves.

    1. I think it’s useful to reflect on things and see if we’re going in the general direction we want (with parenting, life…) but more in an overall/big picture way. I’m trying to be gentler to myself on the day to day stuff (not always easy!), because overall I am being the mom I want to be.

  3. These are such great reminders. Every stage of parenting seems to have the potential for new mom guilt. Appreciating and encouraging one another is a good way to avoid adding to the list. Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post!

    1. Thank YOU for your positivity on my parenting guilt post. I feel really lucky to have positive mom friends in real life, and I’m excited about my new online mom community too 🙂

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