mother kissing baby on the head

4 ways to squash that feeling of “never enough”

Whether you’re a working mom, or stay at home, a brand-new mom, or an old pro, mom guilt happens to us all. In fact, 39 percent of working mothers said they don’t spend enough time with their children, according to a 2015 study from Pew. That can lead to serious #momguilt.

With the many responsibilities you have on your plate and the pressures you put on yourself—thanks a lot, social media!—it’s hard to feel like you’re doing a good job 100 percent of the time. But we’re here to provide some much-needed support and reassurance.

Being a mom is not easy. Whether you’re going back to work after maternity leave, struggling with breastfeeding or simply having an off day, it’s time to take a breath. Here are our four top tips for leaving behind that feeling of “never enough.”

1. Set realistic expectations

Sure, we all have 24 hours a day—but, boy, do they fly by. (Contrary to popular memes, we can’t all be Beyonce; she has a whole team of people supporting her, after all!) There’s only so much time in a day, and your family, your work and your health are all vying for your top priority. When you’re feeling frazzled, take a moment to refocus on what’s most important to you. Don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t do in a day. Takeout food, piles of laundry and crumbs left on the kitchen floor won’t hurt anyone for a night (or, heck, even a week.) You’re only human.

2. Be intentional

A pro tip for making the most of the precious time you do have: Limit screen use. When you’re spending time away from work with your family and friends, step away from your laptop or silence your phone. Trying to splitting your attention means no one gets your full, undivided focus. Establish important boundaries by carving out specific times for work, family, rest and your hobbies; this can help you manage that nagging feeling of “I should be doing this or that.”

3. Don’t feed into the guilt

Ditch the negative self-talk immediately, and look at the positives (AKA everything you are accomplishing). Focus on those sweet moments with your baby and all you have to be grateful for. When the guilt begins to bubble up, sit yourself down and speak to yourself as you would a friend. (Would you ever tell a friend she’s a bad mom and doing nothing right? Of course not.)

Mom guilt is about feeling like you don’t measure up to the high expectations you’ve set for yourself, based on what others are doing. But motherhood is so personal. Trust yourself, your body and your decisions. Despite what you read on the Internet, there’s no right way to parent. The right way is what works best for your family. And on those days that don’t go as you’d hoped, remember tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start.

4. Practice self-care

As moms, we give everything to our families, so we must remember this: You can’t take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself. To feel your best, don’t neglect your physical and emotional needs. Eat healthy foods, stay hydrated, get as much sleep as you can and do something that makes you happy. These rules for healthy living will give you the energy you need to accomplish everything you do in life. As for time away from your kids, leave that mom guilt at the door. Whether it’s a date night, pedicure or coffee with a friend, that personal time serves as a reminder that you are an amazing mom and human being and helps you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

If you need some help or encouragement, reach out to our team at Ashland Women’s Health. We’re run by moms, for moms, so we get what you’re going through. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding or pumping issues, we can set up a consultation with an experienced IBCLC from The Lactation Network and get you the resources you need to feel more confident in your #momlife. And even when you feel like you could do better, as we all do some days, remember that your baby thinks you’re the absolute best.