15 Surefire Ways to Fight Mom Guilt

You know how moms are supposed to have it all, do it all, be it all or feel wracked with guilt? 

But also how we’re supposed to sacrifice something we have/do/are (our job, staying home, self-care, time away, etc..) for our children or feel wracked with guilt?

What if I told you those two things cannot exist simultaneously?

Because here’s the real deal: you can’t have it all while sacrificing something important. Most of us can have *most of what we want* while sacrificing something. Or you can sacrifice nothing and still not have it all. Fun fact: you can never have it all, period.

Now picture this: what if I told you that you are under no obligation to feel guilt or shame for losing a game you can’t win? A game no one wins. One I’m certainly, unequivocally not winning.  So clearly, as a fellow loser in this game, it makes sense to take my advice. 

Here are my 15 surefire ways to fight mom-guilt.

  1. You
  2. Can’t
  3. Because
  4. Guilt
  5. Implies
  6. You
  7. Have
  8. Done
  9. Something
  10. Bad
  11. And
  12. There is nothing inherently bad or wrong about making choices in the interest of what’s best for the health of your family
  13. Even
  14. If
  15. Sometimes it feels bad.

Play the semantics game with me for a moment. Sure, it may feel bad to leave our kids at daycare some mornings, but it doesn’t mean it is bad. I may feel sad, a sense of longing, frustration, disconnected or a bevy of other discomforts. That doesn’t mean I’ve done something bad.

Just because we can’t have, do, and be it all to everyone all the time or because we feel like we haven’t sacrificed enough doesn’t mean we’ve done anything bad or wrong.

Doing work we love is not bad or wrong. Neither is staying home with our kids. Engaging in acts of self care is not bad or wrong. And I’ve come to learn that time away from my child is not bad or wrong. In fact, any combination or variation of the above is probably good or right. So long as it’s good or right for the needs of your family.

As moms, we make decisions and choices all the time. There is nothing inherently bad about choosing a life that works (or mostly works) for you and your family. The idea that you are obligated to feel guilty for those choices is a false narrative (not to mention it’s sexist, classist, and often times racist).

All that is to say you’re allowed to feel however you feel – and your feelings are real and valid. But I hope you know that just because you can’t do or have it all doesn’t make you bad. It makes you human. And just because you feel like you don’t do, give, or sacrifice enough doesn’t mean you aren’t enough.

You’re more than enough. You’re someone’s mother.

Audrey Lawson-Sanchez is mom to Ada, her one-and-done four-year-old. Two weeks after meeting her partner Elliot, she was engaged, six months later they eloped and 10 years later they moved back to Audrey’s hometown. A former public educator, Audrey now runs a national public health and nutrition nonprofit. Although she tries her best to not be “one of those vegans” - Audrey loves sharing plant-based eating recipes and ways to sneak more vegetables into every meal (don’t be shy if you have questions!) In addition to talking about kale, Audrey spends her time advocating on behalf of the LGBTQIANB+ community, and putting her poetry degree to good (albeit not profitable) use.