Mom Guilt: Why we get it, and what to do about it

You love that new baby, but you’re ready for a date with your husband - it’s been months.

And yet, as excited as you are to go out and get some time alone with the hubby, the gnawing, persistent feeling of guilt creeps in: how can I leave my sweet helpless little baby who needs me so much??!!

What is Guilt?

Just as your body sends a pain signal so you give attention to a wound, your brain sends you guilt when there are two conflicting desires at hand.

Guilt is a signal that there are two conflicting desires at play in the same moment.

Let’s take the same example from above:

Desire 1: you desire to take good care of your baby and be there for her every need.

Desire 2: you desire to connect with your husband and nurture your relationship with him

Why do we feel it?

Although it can feel like it sometimes, guilt does not mean that you’re doing something wrong.

It simply is your brain signaling to you that the thing you’re doing may be in conflict to another thing that you care about.

Just like a signal of pain to address a cut or scrape, the guilt signal is simply saying: two conflicting interestes are competing here. Are you okay with that? Do you need to re-evaluate which you care more about? Or is it possible to do both in this case?

What to do about mom-guilt

So, mom guilt specifically, has to do with our desires to be a good mom, as well as our desires to do other things sometimes, too. Like a girls’ night out. Or work.

So next time your brain wants to pour on the guilt as you’re getting ready to leave your kids, or when you lost your temper, or when you didn’t explain a rule clearly enough and your child misunderstood….

Just remember: nothing has gone wrong. Guilt is just your brain’s way of trying to protect you, and help you do what you truly desire to do.

So, go on, do what you were going to do, if you like your reasons.

You can feel the guilt, recognize that it’s just your brain doing its brain thing, and move along.

If the guilt comes up a lot, consider re-evaluating what you beileve about whichever two desires are coming into conflict, and if you need to readjust your beliefs at all.


Chances are, your brain will bring up guilt for you quite a bit, especially if you really care about bing a wonderful mother to your children.

You get to decide if you’re going to indulge in the guilt and accompanying indecision and despair, or if you want to take the action , if you like your reasons.

Tell that brain of yours thank you for its good work in always trying to protect you, but that nothing’s wrong, and it can go back to counting sheep… or whatever else it was doing. (Probably wondering why toddlers fight so much.)



Would you like to talk with me about your mom guilt? Book a free 15 minute mini session! I offer this to everyone even remotely interested in getting more help from me with life coaching. Book yours now, here.

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Liz LangstonComment