SELF – Over 500,000 People Have Watched This On-Point Video About Mom Guilt
Mom guilt is no joke. With the myriad of pressures on modern day families, it isn’t surprising that moms (and dads too) are feeling guilty not being able to do it all. Melissa Radke, a mother of two in Texas, has built up a Facebook following posting funny videos about the realities of parenting. And her latest that has gone viral tackles mom guilt.
So what do we need to know about parenting guilt? SELF took this on, and I was very pleased to help out. It is no laughing matter.
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Despite a changing attitude toward parenting, society still expects women to carry the bulk of parenting roles and responsibilities, and women often struggle when they feel that they fall short, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells SELF. The expectations are usually implicit and can even be fueled by silent competition among women, she says.
It’s also important to recognize the irrational expectations you put on yourself as a parent, Clark says, and then try to find more of a balance to meet everyone’s needs in the family—including yours. That may mean asking your partner to help out more, if you have one, or looking for things you can cut out without guilt.
“Look carefully at your priorities, think about them, talk about it with your partner and family, and be brave in aligning your resources to better reflect all of them,” she says. “If you feel stuck or need help, seek it out.”
Some parent guilt is normal, but Clark says it’s necessary to take some guilt-free time for yourself, too. “The expectation that we put our family’s needs ahead of our own can make it tough to feel comfortable doing anything strictly for ourselves,” she says. “The idea that moms have to be perpetually selfless is frankly irrational and doesn’t work. We must put our ‘oxygen masks’ on first before helping others.”