5 Amazingly Simple Ways to Let Go of Mompreneur Guilt

Without a doubt, mothers and others who provide nurturing care to those in need deserve tender loving care and a great dose of gentleness – applied to themselves.
 
I don’t know any mother who has not tortured herself for being the mother she is, and I was no exception.
 
You know the litany of yardsticks; you must provide the best and most balanced food, follow the latest precepts of good parenting, drive the kids to everything, be able to afford to send them to everything, help them with their homework, avoid being angry and patiently wait to give yourself space when they get older, grow up, leave home.
 
You’ll have your own lists of “musts”.
 
But you also know that no matter what you do, the books, your in-law, the neighbours, your friends, even strangers — they all point to some opinion other than yours and to the belief that you can’t avoid damaging them anyway. Guilt looms large.
 
And if you should also work, have a career, be a business owner and mompreneur, now you are in a deeper no-win guilt-producing category.
 
It’s exhausting living up to moving targets and sidestepping explosives in the minefield of parenting. Too often we are brutal with ourselves.
 
This is no way to live.
 
Perhaps you are among the ones who don’t give themselves a hard time or you’ve learned to lighten up. Then you are the exception and can help your sisters find that peace.
 
For the rest of us, here are 5 transformational perspectives to consider.
 
 
 

1. You are human

Yes, you. Human means that you can’t be perfect, and you can do your best at every moment. You will never be perfect, because that’s not a human attribute (sorry if you’re shocked, if it’s your first time considering it or if it triggers resistance).
 
However, you can do so much when you do your best being who you are. Don Miguel Ruiz has wonderful principles to live by in his book, The Four Agreements, that will create spaciousness and freedom in your life.
 
 
 

2. Love is the only option that makes life worth showing up for

Your kids, your partner, your friends — love is what they care about. If you don’t enjoy cooking, housekeeping or any of the other ways in which you believe mothers have to perform and you have loads of care and empathy, that’s what wins the day.
 
It means that as you love yourself, you love them.
 
As you find compassion for your humanness, you will teach it to them. Isn’t that what we ultimately want for our children, that they be loving human beings?
 
You can give them sports lessons, but without learning tender love, you’ll have thrown your money away.
 
 
 

3. How you talk to yourself matters

If you have an inner critical judge nagging at you, you can befriend it and challenge what it is telling you.
 
Those inner voices are not you. They are what we have all internalized from the world around us, and your job is to differentiate who you are and what you believe from this autopilot naysayer. Listening to those voices is a habit that you have practiced for years that needs unlearning.
 
If those voices trigger fear or make you feel that you don’t add up or are not enough, challenge them.
 
You’ll notice that you can poke holes in those voices by being curious, and responding to the fear-mongering voices with compassion.
 
Use the free material called The Work on Byron Katie’s site and go through her questions. They’ll provide freedom.
 
Who would you be without those thoughts?
 
Elizabeth Gilbert in her latest and deeply inspiring book Big Magic, calls fear boring. She’ll listen, she’ll be friendly with it, but it doesn’t get to drive her car. In fact, fear never gets to make any decisions. That’s for Creativity and for her to do exclusively.
 
 
 

4. Tap into your Inner Wise Woman

Behind the noise is also your Wise One. The wise one speaks quietly, especially if she hasn’t been given a lot of airspace.
 
If you invite her, she may dialogue with you in your journal even for a 5-minute sequence. Tell her how you are feeling, ask her a question and let her answer in another colour pen. You don’t even have to ask. If you wait, you’ll hear or know.
 
Or go for a walk, touch the tree bark, go to your favourite natural spot. Listen for it, sense it in your body, however the answers come.
 
If you think you are making it up, here is a secret. It’s all made up. But only you can make up what you make up, so know that it is yours and real for you.
 
 
 

5. Practice gentleness

To become accepting, tolerant, able to let go of control, trusting in the goodness of this life — each is a practiced habit.
 
The spell of self-torture through harsh judgment must be broken.
 
You can replace it by committing to praising your own goodness, by paying attention to the small things you do well every day, by doing what you love, by how you show up on any day.
 
You can create a new, supportive, loving inner world that will radiate out to others. The quality of your days will be transformed.
 
 
 
You are indeed already the right mother for those who came to be with you.
You are a precious creation, worthy of tender care.
 
It’s not enough to read and be touched. How I wish it were so. You should see the rows of books on my shelves.
 
Action is everything. Every small action builds an inner muscle of strength. As career mothers, we can learn to find ourselves right.
 
What’s the one small action that will make the biggest difference to how you feel about yourself? What can you begin today?
 
 
In the comments below, I invite you to let me know.
 

Miriam Linderman

Founder & Coach at Miriam Linderman
Miriam is a leadership coach who helps professional women find deep confidence, gentle power and wise courage as leaders in their work and lives. She spent 32 years as a corporate leader in training, leadership and organization development, with roots as a yoga teacher and holistic health educator. Miriam is also a workshop leader, speaker, writer, and a regular blogger for The Huffington Post.

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18 Comments

  1. Katja

    Wow, Miriam! I needed this! Thank you so much! You rock!!

    Reply
    • Miriam Linderman

      I love that you showed up here Katja! Glad I could be helpful. XO

      Reply
  2. Miriam Linderman

    Thanks Odette Laurie for writing in. So true what you say. To err is human, as the saying goes and our kids can learn that we make mistakes, we apologize and then so can they.

    Reply
  3. Odette Laurie

    Great article Miriam!
    It sure is a juggling act running your own business and being a mom. I hear this a lot from my clients, it’s a struggle and we beat ourselves up about not ‘doing it all just right’. Thanks for reminding us that we are human and we make mistakes. I think our children will appreciate seeing their parents mess up too. It gives them permission to try new things and not be worried about being perfect!

    Best,
    Odette

    Reply
  4. Jo Dibblee

    If only we always keep these in mind… This is a must read and review over and over again! Heck this is a print and post it article!

    Generous, BIG BRAIN and WISE you are a triple asset!

    Thank YOU for sharing your genius with the world!

    Today and always may we always know our worth and our impact in the world.

    Reply
    • Miriam Linderman

      What a wonderful surprise to find you here Jo! Thanks for your kind words and your dear contribution to the world.

      Reply
  5. Lizzie Carver

    Such a lovely post, Miriam. I read somewhere else today that as mothers we may find ourselves “only as happy as our least happy child” and I could really relate to that and to Linda’s post above. It’s so painful when our adult children struggle…
    Re #4 – I have a very special tree friend who was most supportive and understanding last week when my energy and optimism briefly deserted me. And this week, I am reminding myself that what I do for others is a choice and it is absolutely OK to do as much as I can manage – and to choose to take care of me, too.

    Reply
    • Miriam Linderman

      Thanks Lizzie for your own wisdom. It is always there, that inner courageous one. I do believe we get more able to discern the thoughts that help and those that don’t serve. There are so many ways to shift the energy.

      As to the statement that we are only as happy as our least happy child, that’s only true if we let it be true. As a thought, I don’t find it helpful. It instills fear and worry for my children or my beloveds for that matter.

      My hope for all of us is that though we might suffer periods of angst, that we find more periods of detachment with love. I can get hooked into the pain of any of the people I love. But I also know that they are resourceful and creative and will find their own answers.

      Reply
  6. Miriam Linderman

    Tessa, you wouldn’t be the first or the last. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Tessa

    Oops, spelt your name wrong, sorry Miriam!

    Reply
  8. Tessa

    As one who was very hard on myself over the years I can totally relate to all you say here Mirriam. Lovely post and wise words indeed. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Miriam Linderman

      Tessa, glad to think that all the “hard on yourself” stuff is mostly behind you and that you can catch it when it happens (my wish for you). Thanks for your comments and support.

      Reply
  9. Laura Linden

    Great points, Miriam.

    I’ll need to check out Gilbert’s latest book. I’ve found Byron Katie’s work invaluable because it all comes down to being present to our thinking and then intentionally changing it while at the same time being in acceptance. That allows for self love, for compassion with ourselves (and therefore others, too), lets love in, and allows our intuition to flow.

    What better gifts could we give the world, especially our kids? 🙂 Thanks for the article!

    http://www.LauraLinden.com
    Laura Linden

    Reply
    • Miriam Linderman

      Laura, glad to find you here. I can relate to everything you say. What I love about Byron Katie is her clarity. I know many who have been going through her program, and for me, that one question about who would I be without those thoughts stops my thoughts cold. Liz Gilbert is wise and compelling to me now that I am finally living a creative life. See what you think.

      Reply
  10. Candy

    Great post Miriam, I especially like #4
    tap into the Wise Woman. She’s available for all of us, we just need to ask and then……..listen.

    Reply
    • Miriam Linderman

      Candy, thanks for reading and supporting. May your Wise Woman be visible and vocal in your life.

      Reply
  11. Linda Anderson

    Wonderful post, Miriam, and so much wisdom here.

    I’m very familiar with the guilt-trip that motherhood can be and am experiencing it all over again as our adult son works through some really difficult stuff and struggles to find his place in the world.

    I take comfort in the fact that I’m always doing the best I know how, and that though each generation vows never to make the mistakes its parents made – it inevitably goes on to make its own 🙂 ‘Twas ever so!

    I totally agree with you that we’re always the right mother for those who came to be with us. And the learning goes both ways.

    So gentleness and compassion, all around. Especially for ourselves.

    Reply
    • Miriam Linderman

      Linda, thanks so much for your comments. It feels painful to watch our close ones go through growing pains, knowing that it’s the only way to learn. Detaching, trusting, letting go of expectations, all of it are great builders of spiritual muscles and somedays, we’d like to skip the learning and get the day off!

      Reply

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