Friday, December 17, 2010

Top 7 mommy guilt trips – and how to handle them

As a mom to 5 kids and still counting, I couldn't avoid of thinking whether I've done a great job of being their main caretaker. I always think hard about it, every day, usually at the end of the day, when all of them were sleeping. I've tried so hard of giving my all in order to teach them to be smart, good, kind and well behaved children. I also tried to instill Islamic teaching in them although not to say that I am very religious, I wanted them to be successful here in this world and after life. 
Here, I listed 7 top mommy guilts and how to handle them and this was taken from my subscription from All that are listed are very true to my experience and I couldn't help on feeling relieved that it's not just me who always felt guilty when doing those things. Read it, and give yourself a break, once in a while. These was written by Devra Renner and Aviva Pflock, co-authors of the book Mommy Guilt.

5 angels

Top 7 mommy guilt trips – and how to handle them

1. Feeding your baby formula

This usually happens to me when I have to wean my children, especially when I was pregnant with the a new baby, and my milk supply was reducing month after month. But life has to move on. I always cried when this happen andI always blame myself for getting pregnant too quickly but this doesn't mean that I hate the baby that's inside me.
If you're grieving the loss of nursing, allow yourself your sadness. But then accept that you did your best, and move on. Breast milk is best for your baby, but formula-fed babies are also thriving, nourished, and nurtured. As one BabyCenter mom says, "The best thing you can do for your baby is to be a happy mom — and if that means no breastfeeding, then that's the best choice for your family."

2. Using TV as a babysitter

This usually happens to me when the baby is sleeping and I need them to be quiet. I open their favorite channel of cartoon and minimized the volume and asked them to keep quiet and they'll listen to me happily. This also happens when I need some 'US TIME' with my hubby. Hahahha... BUT, I never turn on the TV when they are having their meal, one of them are studying or when they behaved badly. TV for me is a reward and a break for them.
Is television really so evil? No, say Renner and Pflock: "Using television entertainment as a form of quiet time is perfectly appropriate." The key is moderation. If your child is under 2, keep viewing time to a minimum, and break it into 15-minute chunks. Watch with your child, and pick programs that are appropriate. If your child is older, see our TV guidelines for preschoolers and big kids. Then relax and send your guilt on its way.

3. Being environmentally unfriendly

Having lots of kids means lots of diapers, lots of shampoo, powder and bath foam bottles, toothpaste tubes (children's toothpaste are small and with 5 kids using it, you can imagine how much tubes are being disposed), formula milk's packet or tins, papers etc. Every time I threw the trash from our bin, it's like lifting a trash from a small restaurant. Just imagine how much trash I'm throwing. Not to count thrown leftover food that they refused!
This push and pull can lead to a nasty case of green guilt. Let this be a wake-up call — but know that letting guilt devour you won't do you or the earth any good. You may not be able to take public transportation to work, switch to cloth diapers, hang your laundry on the line, or toss out all your environmentally unfriendly cleaners right now.
Instead, focus on the dozens of achievable changes you can make. Try unplugging appliances when they're not in use, doing your laundry in cold water when possible, lighting your home with fluorescent bulbs, and other easy, earth-friendly tricks. Don't worry too much about the Greens next door — maybe someday soon you'll be giving them tips.

4. Feeding your kids junk food

I've mentioned this in one of my posts. It usually happens when I'm so tired to make healthier snacks or when I'm desperately need to calm them down. 
Sometimes we forget that fast food and junk food — while not usually the best nutritional option — isn't poisonous. As with television, the key is moderation and smart choices.

5. Leaving your child with another caregiver

I've not yet done this but the longest time I've left them with my brother and sister was a few hours, to do some groceries shopping. But this only happens once in w hile. Normally, I always tagged them along. But next week, my husband and I along with our 2 small children are going for a short trip to Kuala Lumpur. This is going to be my first time leaving my children to go somewhere far. Only God knows how guilty I feel, but we just couldn't bring all of them along because nobody can help me to attend them when we go there. It's safer for them to be at home.
But for those who have to send their children to a caregiver because they are working, remember that your work serves a crucial purpose. You know you're doing what's best for your family, whether you're working for financial reasons or because it makes you happy.

6. Yelling at your kids

Ahh.. This is a common scene at my home because it's so hard to be sane in a home with 5 kids! There's shouting, quarreling, nagging and crying. Sometimes, when talking slowly and sweetly doesn't help, I took a deep breath. But if this doesn't help either, yelling is a way to grab their attention PRONTO!
No one feels good about yelling at their kids. In fact, Pflock and Renner's survey of mothers found that yelling is the number one cause of mommy guilt.
When this happens, take a careful look at your own behavior. Was the yelling out of the ordinary? Are you usually calm with your child? If yes, then let yourself off the hook and take this as a learning opportunity for both of you. As Elizabeth Pantley says in The No-Cry Discipline Solution, "Even the most peaceful easy-going parent loses patience and yells from time to time."
Reassure your child that everything is okay, and explain what happened: "Sometimes people yell when they're upset. But that can hurt people's feelings. I'm sorry. It would have been better if I had said 'Please be quiet. The baby is sleeping.'"
But if screaming is becoming a habit, you may need to take action to manage your anger and reduce your stress levels.

7. Not being able to afford all the extras

When my children ask me to buy expensive toys or clothing, I felt guilty to watch their disappointment and crestfallen faces when I say NO. I just can't simply splurge on anything because having 5 kids, you need to make sure every body have enough. Besides, Islam teach us to live in moderation; WASATIAH. I don't w ant to spoil them and teach them to buy things because of their brand and high tag price. I want them to differentiate between NEEDS and WANTS. Every time they said that how they wish that we are very rich and can just buy anything off the rack, I'll tell them that being rich doesn't promised happiness. Maybe they are too small to understand it but somewhere, sometime, they'll get it.
But many of the things that we think of as "necessary" aren't. What kids really need is love — not the next expensive activity or "It toy." In fact, too much stuff can be a problem. "If you're constantly overindulging your children, they'll never learn the value of money," explains psychotherapist Kate Levinson, who leads workshops for women to explore their emotional relationship to money. "You also want to teach them how to enjoy life and solve problems in ways that don't have to do with buying things or using money."
Instead of focusing on what you can't give your child, focus on what he can have. For example, instead of the high-end music class, try a free class or library story time. If he loves to "cook" but you can't afford a play kitchen, help him make one out of a cardboard box. You'll probably feel your guilt drain away as you watch him happily banging on his new stove.

Just enjoy your children and be a happy mom because happy moms means happy child and this will make them grow to be a happy, responsible person.

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