Failing Motherhood

The Cure for Mom Guilt

February 28, 2023 Danielle Bettmann | Parenting Coach for Strong-Willed Kids Episode 95
Failing Motherhood
The Cure for Mom Guilt
Show Notes Transcript

Mom guilt is a universal experience.  What you do with it is what matters!

Let's explore together the purpose of the guilt - why it's there, what it's trying to say, and how to manage it in a way that moves you forward.


  • 10 examples of problems to solve at the root of your guilt
  • How to bring curiosity into your internal dialogue
  • Two ways to treat your guilt going forward


  • How your inner voice is like your strong-willed child!

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*FREE* MASTERCLASS: Learn how to CONFIDENTLY parent your strong-willed child WITHOUT threats, bribes or giving in altogether so you can BREAK FREE of power struggles + guilt

Danielle Bettmann:

Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood? I mean? have too much anxiety. Not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, Hey, it's Danielle. So glad you're here. Quick update for you. We are almost approaching our 100th episode of failing motherhood. Today is episode 95. Can you even believe it? I can't. That's for sure. And I'm so so so grateful for your support. Whether you have been listening since the very no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so beginning in 2020. Or if this is your first episode, welcome. You're in the right place. And I'm sure if you scroll back through episodes from the past, something is going to jump out to you and meet you exactly where you are. So I have a challenge for you right now we have I think it's 84 ratings in the United States Apple podcast format. What I would love to see our goal is going to be 100 ratings and reviews for by the 100th episode. So we have five weeks to get what's Matt 16 More badly to get it right. This is survival mode. We're just trying star ratings or reviews. We can totally do that. Right? We've had like 90,000 downloads on the podcast already. We can handle that goal. So if you have listened to more than one episode, loved it, and you're listening on Apple podcast right now, would you do me the favor and just scroll down to where it says reviews and then click add one and then just like, I don't know, put two words in put 15 words, and I don't care. But then before you hit submit, screenshot it, and then send me to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your a DM on Instagram at parent underscore wholeheartedly. And when I get that review, I will, you'll be able to be submitted for the giveaway. So I'm giving away a $50 amazon gift card to just the people that send me a screenshot of their review between now and the 100th episode. So if you can do that, I would so appreciate it because it makes a big difference in search results and the algorithm suggesting the podcast to other moms who need to know that they are not the only one feeling temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up, like they're failing motherhood. So thank you for doing that. And today we're going to talk about mom guilt. Now I know this is something that has come up in probably almost every episode, and comes up a lot with my clients. Last week, I had two of my graduate clients I've been with for more than a year and almost a year. And they were talking about guilds that they're having now and that they had from like how they were showing up years ago. And we just dove into what that looked like for them. And it was like, they always bring tears to my and you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This eyes because it connects so deeply with my own story and how I feel about how I'm doing my parenting and we just talk at such a deep level. And you know, when one of the clients was like, I'm way too comfortable with you. That's a compliment. But it's coming up so often. And I really wanted to be able to talk about it again on here from my own like solo perspective, because I've worked with hundreds of families now and just see a lot of the patterns. So the mom guilt that we're podcast is for you. This is failing motherhood. I'm Danielle talking about right now. If you need the reminder, you need to prequalify yourself, do I have mom guilt? You probably do if you have any thoughts like I'm a bad mom. I'm screwing them up. I'm failing. I'm yelling too much. I'm on my phone too much. My child is going to need therapy from the damage that I've caused them. I'm embarrassed for my child's behavior. I'm embarrassed to my own behavior. I don't like them. Do you love them, it's fair not to like them, like playing with Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be them, or I don't like them as much as their sibling. All of these thoughts bring up feelings in your body like tightness, racing thoughts, racing heartbeat pit in your stomach, the IQ of shame. Believe me, I've been feeling it myself. So I'm speaking from firsthand experience here. So any of those thoughts of remote for you lately, then, here's the message I want you to hear today. Guilt is simply a message. It's trying to tell you something. You take your power back by listening to real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her it, rather than stifling it and covering it in the cloak of shame. All behavior is a form of communication, like we've learned with our kids. And so your mom guilt is simply just trying to send a message. And if you try to numb it, plug your ears, or wallow in it, and amplify it, you only feel more and more helpless. The fact of the matter is, every parent's struggles with guilt. No one is excluded from this fact, there are no exceptions to the rule, no matter how much of an expert wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the you are. But what you do with it, however, is the difference maker. Many, many parents add a whole bunch of meaning on to it making assumptions, and either taking rash action, or giving up completely as a result. And that completely makes sense. The first few years of parenting are a huge source of stretching and growth, revealing a temper you never knew you had complete overwhelm, exhaustion and depletion, like you've never experienced before. Sensory overstimulation resentment, goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. losing your identity, and so much more. You lose yourself and you find yourself years later as a different person. So when we experience guilt throughout this process, we don't know what to do with it. And it's not going away on its own. So what our brain tries to do is create narratives. That's its job, it wants to make sense of things. And when we have to fill in the gap when we don't have complete information. It's what our kids do, too. But the problem is, we go on to explain things in a way They need what you have. You are good enough. And you're not that only makes it worse and harder to respond. So let's break it down. You only feel guilty about things you care about. It's literal evidence of your love for your kids. It's a natural, emotional response. That's innate in human beings. It is universal. There is nothing wrong with you, if you feel guilty. And guilt is thought to serve an important interpersonal function by encouraging the repair of valuable relationships and discouraging acts that could damage them. So it's there for a reason. It has a purpose. It's alone. I hope you pop in earbuds, somehow sneak away and like a built in function of humans to keep us on track. You know, like, it's like your conscience. Something about your behavior, when you're feeling guilt may be out of integrity with the person you hope to be the identity you're trying to ascribe to or the actions you intend to take. So it's just information. It's information meant to be considered. It's not meant to be ruminated on and then discarded, only to come up get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, again the next day. It is not meant to be stuffed down, ignored and numbed. It is not meant to needlessly burden you into becoming the person you don't want to be. Because you begin to believe that that's the inevitable truth like it is you all it's those things are so true that there is no hope. Treating guilt in those ways is like putting a BandAid on a really infected wound. It's information meant to be considered and acted upon, like flushing out the wound with antiseptic butt hurts. Initially it hurts, but then it gets friend. We're so glad you're here. better. So if we're trying to flesh out this wound with antiseptic, which is arguably the harder route to go, we have to find the deeper root of where this guilt is coming from for you. Here's a few examples of just some of the things that could be. You could be letting fear, drive your parenting reactions rather than finding healthy connected grounded detached responses. It could be that you are unsure if your discipline measures are justified, especially if you're inconsistent with them, or if it depends on your mood or your capacity each day. Ain't that you genuinely don't know, if you're even have the permission to enforce some of the things you say, because he might be a pretty threat some days, and then they might be legit boundaries another day. How are you supposed to feel good about that? It might be a big indicator or a wake up call that your own needs aren't being met. Right? If you're not eating, sleeping, drinking water, talking to other adult human beings, doing something that pours into your own cup, then of course, guilt is going to be a byproduct of everything feeling out of your control. It could be that you have unrealistic expectations of yourself that you're trying to compare and contrast and always paling in comparison. It could be that you really haven't worked on creating a sustainable sense of compassion for yourself. So of course, that's going to affect the level of compassion you have for your kids. And I'm still working on this myself, I can tell you that right now. Self Love is a whole journey friend. We do not arrive, we just keep on moving closer and celebrating progress. It could be that you feel like you've tried everything, which really just means that you've been wildly inconsistent and changed things constantly. So that your child lives in a state of unpredictability. And that's going to affect both of your behavior. It could be that you are doing the quote unquote, right things. But you're not sure. And you're using the wrong thing as a report card. Which is never going to give you the feedback you want. It could be that your guilt is hiding an even scarier emotion, like you're not ready to face the facts in another area of life. So that level of irritation is just spilling over into parenting. It could be that that guilt feels really familiar. And it's all you've really known as a parent. And when it comes down to it, your brain wants to keep you safe, and it wants to can't help you stay in the familiar, which means you're going to stay stuck. Or it could be that you feel threatened by your child's behavior. You feel like your life is held hostage, everything is on their terms. And you're all just living in their world, which makes you feel resentful, hopeless, or helpless. And it's all so damaging to the relationships and culture of your home. So did any of that hit home for you? Some of the things you might be like, Nope, doesn't apply. Some of the things might have felt like a knife. And believe me, you're in good company here. Okay. So again, this is all about taking shame out of the equation and trying to listen and get curious. If you can bring a lens of curiosity to the conversation that's going on in your head, you may be able to notice more patterns more objectively. So maybe that conversation starts up like, Oh, I feel so terrible about how today went. I had really short views today, I yelled at them over practically nothing. Continue to get curious. And maybe you can find a helpful explanation, a more helpful explanation than usually would. That might look like think at the moment I felt attacked, or threatened and kind of lashed out. Their behavior felt really disrespectful. So that means I probably took it personally. I'm so worried that they're going to act like this at school, or for the years to come. And I kind of panic and react, when that's probably not the most effective way to respond long term. I wonder what I could do differently tomorrow? What do I need tomorrow to have more capacity for patients. You see how that lens of curiosity doesn't change what happened, but it makes it feel more manageable to you. It gives you more hope more potential, more tangible next steps than it does to wallow in the self pity or let the waves of the fear and the shame takeover. Your internal dialogue is going to scream at you. If it's not listened to kind of like your strong-willed child. Remember that quote I use often the more we try to convince them it's not that bad, the harder they work to convince us how bad it is. When they don't think that we understand They feel like they have no choice but to escalate. Your internal dialogue is very much a strong willed child. Because the fact of the matter is guilt, frustration, these can be tools for change. But shame keeps us stuck. Shedding that shame requires bringing things into the light, most powerfully with others. The whole reason why so many addictions, support groups are groups. Because shame cannot stay in the light, and it only can stay in the darkness likes to hide in the corner. But if you actually bring these things that you're struggling with in your internal dialogue into the light, especially in a conversation with someone else, or in a group of people that have normalized this and can validate that and can commiserate with you with that, and really be able to name your progress and celebrate your wins with you, shame cannot stay. And then you have all your power back to take action. So after this episode, are you going to continue beating yourself up without changing anything about tomorrow, which is the definition of insanity, we know that stuffing your guilt down until it boils over into reps again, are crossing your fingers hoping tomorrow is different for really no reason at all? Or are you willing to do the harder thing, though, washing it out with antiseptic thing, the painful thing of listening to your guilt and getting curious? Are you willing to be uncomfortable now. So you can be so much more confident in the future, you're willing to take your power back from shame. Because your guilt is not going away without getting to the root of it. If you are ready, now, to actually dig deeper, and solve the root of what is leading to your guilt in the first place, which is probably a myriad of things, a cocktail of things. Number one, give your guilt, a voice. Your partner is honestly, likely not the one that's the best one to support you with this. It's much more productive to find understanding with a therapist, a really good friend, or honestly best case scenario, strangers that have made the same commitment and investment to do the work and work on themselves. Because sometimes you just can't access the curiosity and find the solutions. Without help. We're just too close to the problem to close. But it's out there and it's working for a lot of other people, you just haven't found it yet. So number one, give it a voice. And number two, take action. Nothing feels better than knowing that you actually have a plan in place. And a reason to believe that better days are inevitable. It shows who you are. And it shows your integrity. It proves to yourself that what matters to you, you do value because you spend your resources on it. What's the Mumford and Sons quote where you invest your love you invest your life anyway, investing in a long term solution, like wholeheartedly calm, where we solve for your unique triggers your sanity killers, your capacity drainers. So you feel much more in control. We pull it all out of your head for you step by step and give you so many individualized strategies and solutions. Once you have that sanity stabilized it investing in something like wholeheartedly calm now gives your strong-willed child the gift of an unapologetic and super patient, confident parent, just three months from now, where you can easily not be the case years from now that anything changes. So decide how you are going to listen to your guilt today. Give it a voice and take action. And I will be so so so grateful to come alongside you and help you find your path to the other side of this skills where you have self compassion. You're able to let the little things go Know what matters and know that you're doing the things that matter most as a parent, and truly feeling like, you got this, you got what your child throws your way, you got what's coming tomorrow. Because you have a plan, you have the toolkit. Nothing feels better than knowing you just took a leap into the scary abyss of an investment. And there's no way better days aren't inevitable at this point, when you're taking action. And remember, if you miss this, if you stay stuck, if you let shame, when nothing changes, when nothing changes, your relationship with your child will not get better or years from now. They will not just figure out all the skills that they're missing, that you're not teaching, you will not just all of a sudden, feel better. That's not how that works. The decisions you make today, determine the person you are tomorrow, and so on and so on. And the compound interest builds up and up and up and up and up and pays off for years to come. But if you miss this now, habits become ingrained, relationship dynamics continue to strain. And your day to day life stays stuck. And for me, one of my biggest values is freedom that feels suffocating and claustrophobic. I can't even because my desires for who I am, as a parent, and a business owner and a woman and a wife and a mother. My goals for my family and the things we want to do together and the time the way I want to spend that time. The way I want to feel when we're together. Those goals, those desires are too strong. I will do what it takes I will do Scary, scary things. To believe in myself that it's possible to have the potential for better days. That is the reason why I have designed my company the way I have. I could produce a million dispensable low ticket principles and digital courses that will just collect dust everywhere. No thank you. I offer a very unique opportunity for you to come face to face with your fears and your desires and have the opportunity to take a leap that is incredibly unique and incredibly transformative when you decide that your family and yourself and your sanity is worth the commitment and an investment. And if you're not there yet, that's okay. Stay tuned. Find my free masterclass. And listen to the next episode. Leave review while you're at it. But if you're ready today, then reach out. schedule a consultation at the link in the show notes or apply at Here's to better days. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.