Kids Motherhood

How To Eliminate Mom Guilt – For Good!

How To Eliminate Mom Guilt - For Good!

My friend Jessica recently wrote parenting things she refuses to feel guilty about and it really got me thinking about all guilt we experience as moms. 

Mom guilt is a son-of-a.

It begins to plague you as soon as you figure out your pregnant. I drank too much wine last weekend. I ate my weight in sushi yesterday. I’m the worst mom already.

No matter what you do or what decisions you make it seems every move is associated with some kind of self-imposed guilt. There’s also a whole lot of judgement from the rest of the world (but that’s a post for another day) but the worst is the pressure and subsequent guilt we put on ourselves.

Whether you do or don’t ANYthing, there’s guilt. How and what you feed, what kind of diapers you use, whether you work or not, what kind of discipline you practice. It all leads to guilt. Guilt, guilt and more guilt. It’s exhausting and ridiculous.

As a mom, I am in a constant state of self-doubt “am I doing this right” “is this okay” “is this the best way” “I shouldn’t have done that” “I could be better at this”… I could go on and on and on. I am much harder on myself than anyone else is and it seems I can never quite attain the mile-high expecations I have for myself. What does this mean? GUILT.

It’s consumed me for far too long and thankfully I have finally figured out a cure-all. Okay, I may be exaggerating, but I have figured out something that helps lessen my mom-guilt significantly.

What’s my trick? How do I talk myself out of feeling guilty for any and every little thing?

I take myself right out of the equation.

After giving advice to a fellow self-doubting, guilt-ridden mom, I realized how much I related to her plight and how I was readily able to give her genuinely kind advice and encouragement. 

Why the heck couldn’t I talk to myself that way?

Most of us, the nice ones anyway, would never talk to another mom the way we talk internally to ourselves.

Here’s an example of how we talk to ourselves vs. other mommas:

How To Eliminate Mom Guilt - For Good!

What the what?!

It’s true but so very wrong.

We are downright mean to ourselves.

The best way to deal with mom-guilt or negative mom self-talk is by pretending you’re talking to another mom.

Seriously, it works every time (unless you’re judgy McGee to other mommas and in that case you may just deserve some of your own negativity… just sayin’).

The key to being gentler on our mom-selves is truly allowing ourselves to begin changing our self-talk to resemble the mom-talk we’d give to another mom.

Beginning this process won’t instantly take away the guilt but it WILL get you thinking about it in a different way. It begins an internal conversation about whether or not you’re being unfair to yourself. That conversation that hasn’t been happening (at least myself) up until this point. A conversation that was desperately needed.

What I’m starting to discover is that some of my thoughts absolutely need to be challenged because I am not being kind enough to myself. If another woman spoke to me the way I spoke to myself, I’d have some very unkind words back to her. So why is it okay to talk to ourselves this way? It’s not.

I recently wrote about needing a sister-wife and while I was half-joking, I suspect another aspect of this potential relationship would be that we would be constantly lifting each other up. Repeatedly validating each other and giving positive affirmations. The result of that would be happier moms. Moms with higher self-worth. 

While the sister-wife thing is unlikely, we, as women and mothers, need to continue and strive to be kind to each other but we also need to start encouraging each other to show ourselves kindness and love as well.

So I offer this challenge to my fellow moms:

Next time you’re feeling guilty or experiencing self-doubt take a second and really think about how you would respond to a good friend having the same issue or thoughts. Think about what support you would offer, what information or words of encouragement you might have. This process will hopefully begin your own realization that you’re no different that your friends and fellow mombies and that you too deserve all the kindness you would so readily offer them.

YOU, awesome momma, are worth it.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

About the author

Shaunacey Bonneville

Shaunacey Bonneville blogs over at She survives primarily on coffee, red wine and the hope that she will one day sleep again. In the meantime, she blogs from home in an effort to maintain what is left of her sanity. She’s currently being held captive by her two small children (please send help… in the form of coffee… or wine).

  • Aimee

    I began to read this on Bloglovin’ and was instantly engaged by the writing. Naturally, I had to come here and read it all, and was delighted to find that it was written by you, Shaunacey! You pull me in with your words every time, and I feel as though a friend I have known forever is telling me exactly what I need to hear. Thank you for this timely piece of encouragement — it came to me at the close of a rough weekend. You are right. I am going ot speak to myself the way I speak to all of my awesome mama friends. I will let you know how it goes…

    • Aimee, seriously, you know how to make someone’s day!! I don’t know how a comment could have possibly made me ANY happier!! THIS is why I wrote this. I know what a kind, sweet and uplifting momma you are to others (to me) but I also know that like me, you aren’t always as kind to yourself. I truly hope you’re able to show yourself some kindness this week because I know, with every ounce of me, you deserve that!!


      • Aimee

        Well, I am SO glad you wrote it. I think it is a message that so many of us need to hear — so important that I am sharing it with my readers tomorrow! Truly, I have been practicing all day. Whenever I feel myself sinking into negative self-talk, I change it up to what I would say to a friend. (Such a simple practice, yet something absolutely ingenious I had never considered!)

      • it really is simple though isn’t it? I hadn’t thought of it too much until I was talking to a friend and also receiving advice and was so quickly reminded how harsh we are to ourselves but how sweet, gentle, kind and loving we can be to moms in the EXACT same situation. I hope you continue to practice it and maybe you’ll start to believe how much you truly deserve these kind messages!

      • Aimee

        Thank you, sweet friend.

  • Nicole Miller

    This is so true and I needed to read this today. I love the momma self talk chart because I love charts, and because it hits close to home. We need to cut ourselves some slack. Great post Shaun.

    • lol this is why I told you to read it, you’d never judge another mom the way you do yourself. You’d cut so much more slack and patience. 🙂

  • YES. I am going to PIN this because I need to read it every day. Thanks for being a voice of reason for me when I can’t do it myself. Love this.

    • well YOU have been that voice of reason and truly were part of the inspiration for this. We are so good at lifting each other up but sometimes need to learn it’s okay to do it ourselves too!

  • Living on Cloud Nine

    How much to I love this? With all my heart because no matter how old they get, the momma guilt plagues this type A worrier!!! You know I’d validate your worth any day sista!!!!!!

    • yes, I know that because you’re the sweetest person EVER!! BUT I wonder, are you that kind to yourself??

  • Such a great read and so much truth to relate too. Being a mom of an older daughter, I confess there is still guilt as they age. But I realize we are all doing the best we can and the best we know to do. Trying to be an awesome mom one day at a time.

    • and I know that you would have such an easy time telling me I’m a great mom but it’s not so easy to say to ourselves. I need to work on being my own champion in case I don’t always have amazing people around me (like you) encouraging me!

  • Christy

    Such a Great post full of truths. Us moms beat ourselves up constantly about what we should or shouldn’t have done and how we could have done it better. My frustration is that my husband experiences none of this. Does dad guilt even exist??

    • lol I think they are programmed so differently for the most part. Brent just seems to let stuff go so easy… I honestly wish I could be more like that with less effort lol

  • I read this and totally thought I commented! Oh right, my phone was being wonky and I couldn’t. This is such great advise! Like seriously every mom should/needs to read this!

  • Yep, the mom guilt. From the moment you conceive until…..hmm…don’t know when it ends. I love this idea of putting yourself in the shoes of a friend. Such a great idea. You know I love your voice – and EVERY mom should read this!

    • lol I don’t think it ever ends!!! Thank you so much!

  • Mom guilt is something I still deal with and my girls are grown! We need to be kinder to ourselves.

  • Oh the guilt! Even as they grow up, you doubt yourself, your judgments, and all the decisions you’ve made on their behalf. There’s a weird consolation in realizing we aren’t the only ones who feel this way! Thanks for talking about something all moms feel but are reluctant to admit.

    • I feel it all the time, I think it’s the nature of this whole motherhood things but they seem to be doing just fine so I need to work on letting some things go.

  • Joy Cochran

    I recently went to a conference and one of the things they talked about was #1 our defeating self talk as women, and #2 defeating each other by talking poorly about other women. I really enjoyed this post. I think it’s important to recognize how we talk to ourselves, and how we edify others, too.

    • that is all so true!!! We need to do better at lifting ourselves up the way we try to do for others

  • So well written Shaunacey! Self doubt – self defeating talk can take over any part of our life from our kids – to anything. Remembering that we are doing our best and we are “awesome” is one step in the right direction and something we all need to do.

    • Yes, as much as I write from a ‘mom’ perspective, I know we ALL have negative self-talk and we’d never talk to our friends the way we do ourselves regardless of the issue at hand

  • Even though I don’t have kids, this is a thought-provoking piece and will help me talk to my friends who are moms!

    • thanks so much for reading Whitney. It can be applied in so many areas, I’m just consumed by all things kids right now lol

  • Ugh and then the mom guilt follows you everywhere…and really is just guilt and self-doubt and it just doesn’t stop. This is why we need good friends.

    • yes, thankfully I found some super awesome ones via my blog… wonder who that could be?!

  • Becca

    Great reminder that we all feel mom guilt and we are not alone.

  • Lilies + Lambs

    Such a great reminder- we are way too hard on ourselves! And we should definitely take our own advice sometimes – we are awesome moms despite dirty floors! xx

    • aren’t we though? lol YES, I’m not a terrible mom even though my floors are dirty and the laundry is never folded lol

  • This is the best post! I don’t think it matters how old our kids are, we will always have mom guilt. What advice to talk to ourselves like we’d talk to another mom!

    Doused In Pink

    • thanks Jill, it seems so simple I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me earlier lol

  • This technique really is powerful! Incredible how good we are at encouraging/counseling others but are at a loss when it comes to our own situation. Just gotta imagine what we’d tell our clone! :-p

    • It’s such an easy concept and I’m not sure how it didn’t come to my mind earlier. I’m always trying to be a cheerleader to my fellow moms, but never myself. Sometimes we NEED to be our own cheerleaders or, at the very least, not our own biggest critics!

  • Like the Golden Rule in reverse. Genius!