4 Steps to Dropping Divorce Guilt

4 Steps to Dropping the Divorce Mom Guilt Now

November 02, 20233 min read

4 Steps to Dropping the Divorce Mom Guilt Now

We’re pretty sure that all moms struggle with mom guilt. If you work out of the home, you likely feel guilty that you don’t spend enough time with your kids. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you might feel guilty for not using your education or skills.

And then you add divorce into the mix.

Divorced mom guilt is on a whole other level, because now you’re likely feeling added shame about the changes your kids are going through and the new emotions they’re struggling with. While feelings of guilt are a completely normal part of the journey, it also isn’t helpful to your own emotional well-being, or your kids’ either. Let’s learn a bit more about why it’s time to kick this guilt to the curb, and the steps to help you get there:

Step 1: Clarify and align with your parenting values

Guilt is the feeling that creeps up on you when you do something that is outside of your values — so we first need to start with identifying and feeling comfortable with what our own parenting values are. What type of mom do you want to be and what type of parenting style do you want to have? Ensuring that you’re acting in alignment with your core values will help reduce feelings of guilt — but it’s also important to remember that as parents we are going to fail sometimes. We're human, after all! So it’s important to also give yourself grace when you may sometimes need a gentle nudge back onto your desired path.

Step 2: Don’t let what your kids say activate you

Just like you’re figuring out how to handle your own emotions during this challenging new phase of your life, so are your kids — but don’t let their words eat away at you. Remember that your children most likely aren’t seeing the full picture of the situation, and they may not know how long you have been struggling before actually deciding to separate. So when your kids come at you with hurtful phrases such as how “their lives are destroyed”, take this as an opportunity to lean in with curiosity to listen to what they’re actually saying and what they actually need. And don’t make matters worse by projecting your own guilt or feelings of responsibility onto them.

Step 3: Overcome your fear

Guilt and fear often go hand-in-hand, and with divorced moms some of the most common fears are that they might lose custody of their kids, or that their kids might prefer being with the other parent. If you’re consistently operating from a place of fear, you may end up projecting this fear onto your children. When you’re with your kids, do your best to just be in the moment with them, and push those scared feelings aside to work through with a therapist or other trusted confidante later.

Step 4: Don’t let your mom guilt drive the car

Most importantly, remember that you’re still in charge — not your kids. If you let your kids start calling the shots because you feel like you’re not a “good enough” mom and you need to spoil them to remain the preferred parent, you’re travelling down a dangerous road. Remember that divorce doesn’t hurt kids — but guilt definitely does.

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