By Guest Writer Janna Frei

Janna

Imagine. 

You’re at Target. Your toddler wants a toy. Your preschooler wants some candy. You say no. They start to cry. 

It’s going down. 

Meltdown City is happening in your local Target, and people are staring. Some are running away, vowing to never have children. 

You worry what people are thinking, you worry how to get the kids to quiet down. You feel guilty for subjecting strangers to the chaos of meltdowns. You feel guilty for saying no to your children. Now what? 

mom guilt
  1. Know that your parenting style isn’t for everyone. Much like the iPhone, some people love it, while others prefer a droid. We all have our preferences. It’s all good. The world keeps spinning. 
  2. People pleasing=manipulation. If you alter your parenting in front of certain people in an effort to get them to like you, you are showing up inauthentically, and manipulating them into liking a version of you. When we act in a way that goes against our core desire, we end up resenting that person for “making us feel” like we need to act that way, and we end up resenting ourselves for going against our gut. 
  3. Primitive brains make it seem very important to have people like and accept you. During the caveman days, people relied on each other and lived in tribes to stay alive. If someone went against the grain, they would get kicked out of the tribe or killed. (Ouch!) Our brains today think it’s still very important to be liked and accepted by everyone, but it is not actually a requirement to live a happy life. There’s no tribe. No threat. 
  4. If there’s discomfort either way, which do you choose? Jim Gaffigan wrote a book called, “Dad is Fat” where he talks about parental guilt. He said he feels guilty when he plays with his kids because he should be working, but when he’s working, he feels guilty that he should play with his kids. He feels guilty for feeding them junk food, but also guilty when making them finish their veggies. He feels guilty for letting them stay up past bedtime but feels guilty for putting them to bed on time. (News flash-the guilt is optional. Guilt only comes when you think a thought that makes you feel guilty.) Also, if you know you are going to be uncomfortable either way, then which do you choose? Make your choice, own it, and know that the guilt is optional. 

In the words of Byron Katie, “There are three types of business. There’s your business, their business, and God’s business.” What other people think of you, is NONE of your business. Thank goodness! You can put that heavy weight down and focus on who you want to be, how you want to show up, and how you can be authentically YOU. ❤

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