Are you guided by your Guilt Gremlin?
Most of us mums suffer with guilt. It, unfortunately, seems to come with the territory of motherhood. Whilst not all guilt is unhelpful, the vast majority of the guilt we experience on a day to day basis is damn crazy!
The crazy and unhelpful part of our mother’s guilt is what I would call our Guilt Gremlin! We all have one. Our Guilt Gremlin is out to make us miserable. It’s the part of us that makes us feel guilty no matter what we do.
- If we work, we actually should be at home with our family
- But if we stay at home with our family, we are somehow less valuable and should be contributing more
- All whilst ensuring that our house should look perfect
- But feeling guilty if we spend time doing chores rather than being with our family
- Not forgetting that we should have the perfect body
- But shouldn’t sacrifice any time with our family to achieve it
- And of course we need to recognise that we’re lucky to have the opportunities that our ancestors didn’t and taking anything but full advantage of this is sheer ingratitude
- But if we do take full advantage of being able to have it all, we’re failing if we feel even slightly overwhelmed by trying to do it all
Our Guilt Gremlin is that inner self talk that speaks to us when we perceive that we are not putting our children first or meeting the expectations we (or society) puts on us as mothers.
Our Guilt Gremlin, if we don’t keep it in check, will ruin our experience of motherhood. It will make us miserable. It will suck the joy out of our life. It will leave us feeling overwhelmed, inadequate and drive us to anxiety.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some very simple (but not always easy) things we can do to free ourselves from the self-defeating Guilt Gremlin. So I’d like to share these strategies with you so we, collectively as mothers, can start to banish our Guilt Gremlins from our everyday life.
1. Just notice it
Often our Guilt Gremlin is controlling us and we’re not even aware of it. It can mask itself as our friend, and can even appear to be our voice of conscience. It might trick us into thinking it’s guiding us to a moral or ethical high ground. But it doesn’t and it’s not! So we have to pay attention to it and make sure it’s not tricking us. We have to slow down to notice when we feel guilty. Often it’s such an automatic feeling for us mums we don’t always notice it. Notice what has triggered it and what our inner voice is telling us. For what is outside of our awareness controls us. What we are aware of, we can control! If we start to get closer to our Guit Gremlin, we can start to see it for what it really is.
2.Create a NGA
We’ve already established that if we’re a mum we swim in guilt every day. And if we’re a working mum that water is even more toxic. Add into the mix being someone who is achievement orientated, cares about others and holds themselves to high standards and there are a million ways we can be guided by our Guilt Gremlin each morning before we’ve even started the day! It can be useful to create Non Guilt Agreement (NGA) and outlines what we aren’t willing to feel guilty about. It’s kind of the rules of engagement when it comes to our guilt. A Non Guilt Agreement helps to kick our Guilt Gremlins to the kerb. It puts us back in the driving seat of our emotions.
3.Practice guilt resilience
As guilt hangs around motherhood so much, it’s important for us to practice guilt resilience. This concept is based on the work of Brené Brown and her research into shame. The theory is based on building resilience to shame and its nearby cousin guilt. The best way to practice guilt resilience is to have people in our lives who help us to feel safe and comfortable enough to share our guilt. These people will call out the bullsh*t of our Guilt Gremlin. By finding people with whom we can share our guilt we prevent the insidious force of the Guilt Gremlin taking power in our lives.
I hope this helps you to free yourself from your Guilt Gremlin. If you’d like more information on how to free yourself from mother’s guilt please check out my free ebook here.
As always I’d love to hear if this was useful. Let me know how you get on.
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