One Simple Thing You Can Do To Turn Guilt Into Appreciation

Minute Maid l Doin Good

Holidays are a great time to be with family and loved ones; however, I believe it is also this time of year that us moms tend to stress most about perfection and feel the most guilty for our choices, as we try to meet unrealistic expectations. Can you relate?

Meal prep, cleaning, decorations, shopping, shipping… The Internet is filled with “Holiday To Do List” templates that tell us exactly what to do before, during, and after each outing or event we’re supposed to host and attend. If you read them “at the right moment,” you could be exhausted before you’re through with even one page.

With all the activities, parties, and travel, there’s so much on our plate that we forget to enjoy ourselves during the holidays, and we forget to be kind to ourselves, and remind ourselves and each other what a good job we are doing. No wonder many moms dread the holidays and don’t look forward to them.

One simple thing you can do to turn guilt into appreciation

And it’s not that you couldn’t aspire or strive to make this an ideal time and in the ideal setting; but it’s important to remember that all you can do is enough and what matters most is feeling grateful to have this time with your family, as imperfect as this moment may seem.

I recently spoke to a mom who is already feeling anxiety because she usually gains weight over the holidays. She calls this “being bad.”

I don’t even eat pastries, but I step on a soapbox each time I hear one of these labels! You’re not bad, and certainly not a bad mom, just because you are eating pie, cookies, or candy canes! Focus on what you are doing well… I promise you, the list is long!

If you feel like a “bad mom” sometimes, please trust me when I say this: the fact that you worry, that you feel guilty, that you even “grade” yourself as a mom, automatically makes you a good mom.

I’ve shared my theory on mommy guilt before, and it is this: if you feel it, you’re a good mom. If “bad moms” do exist, they don’t care whether they are doin’ good or not!

Because I quit listening to the radio, my brother sends me songs to keep up with all the times. I love this one by Jess Glynne, which also tells me he gets what I’m passionate about:

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, no
Learn to forgive, learn to let go
Everyone trips, everyone falls
So don’t be so hard on yourself, no”

I believe I am always the best mom I can be…and so are you! We can be so hard on ourselves, and often judge ourselves, knowing what we know now for things we didn’t know then!

And if you think about it, if a mom you love (or like, or just met, to be honest) came to you with the regrets, doubts, and complaints you profess to have, would you think her guilt is justified?

Grateful for papá!

So this holiday season, I challenge you to turn guilt into appreciation, by focusing on what you and the parents around you are “Doin’ Good.”

Here’s how it works:

Write down the guilt-filled phrases you often say and guilt-infused thoughts you often think. (There’s a point to this!)

They usually start with:

“I can’t believe I…”
“Why did/didn’t I…?”
“I should have…”
“I could have…”
“If only I’d…”

Now that you have your list, the next step is to change the phrases in a way that they highlight something you can be grateful for in each situation: “I am grateful that I can…

For example: change
“I can’t believe I am sending the holiday cards too late again”
“I’m grateful that I remembered to send the holiday cards and that I can express love and appreciation to the people in my life.”

Would you do this? … And would you do another thing?

I want to invite you to think of a mom (or any parent) who is doing a good job, who is always growing, improving, and pushing herself, and let her know what a blessing she is to her family… and to actually say “thank you.”

I’m going to lead by example and choose my gorgeous husband, in light of the fact that we just celebrated the third anniversary of our marriage.

In the words of Alanis Morrisette, I’d say:

“You’re the best listener that I’ve ever met
You’re my best friend…
Best friend with benefits”

I know he doesn’t think much of it, but he is the only real father my daughters have ever had. He is gentle, caring, supportive, loving, and extremely understanding. I’m so grateful he is in our lives, and I don’t tell him enough, nor does he fully comprehend the difference he makes in our lives. He is doing way better than he think he is!

I recently traveled to the Dominican Republic with my littlest princess, and Elisha and Elyssa were so happy to have stayed with him. They had picnics every day on his lunch break, and the girls said they can’t wait to do that again.

Picnic with dad

My ego wanted them to miss mami a little more, but the truth is, I’m so grateful to know I am not alone. I can pursue my dreams, and visit my family, and know that the girls are going to be safe, taken care of, and more importantly, happy!

Remember the Minute Maid video that shows how parents really are “Doin’ Good,” and definitely way better than they think? It’s a perfect example that none of us are perfect, but we really put forth our best efforts, and what we do matters.

The holidays are a perfect time to start appreciating ourselves, and the time we get to enjoy with our kids, as well as to thank other parents who may be struggling with self-doubt, feeling inadequate or like they don’t measure up to impossible standards.

Can you tell me some stories about people in your life who are great parents, but may not realize it? It could be a relative, a co-worker/colleague, or just someone you’ve observed in your community. I am excited to read your comments and to learn how you plan to say thank you!

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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18 thoughts on “One Simple Thing You Can Do To Turn Guilt Into Appreciation

  1. Awwwwww, gracias mi amor 🙂

    The girls and I did have a great time together and they received so many compliments on how well behaved and studious they were while they patiently waited for me. Good job mom! You have raised outstanding young women.

    I’m so happy I’ve made a difference in your lives. You certainly have in mine. All of you. I am blessed beyond my understanding to have the four of you in my life.

    And, by the way, I almost cried with your Alanis Morrisette quote. That was so sweet.

    Te amo mi Ocoeña.

  2. My mom is awesome but I don’t think she knows it. We try to do a lot to help her out so she doesn’t stress herself too much.

  3. I’m really big on planning…it tends to help me stay organized and get what I want accomplished so that I don’t have so many of those “bad mom” moments. I’m far from perfect, but I do my best and that counts for something! lol

  4. I think there is a lot more to it than just mom guilt. Our culture plays a HUGE part in how we think we need to all be pinterest people. The holidays should be enjoyed and full of joy where we thrive not just trying to survive.

  5. It’s so important to make good memories during the holidays. I’m so grateful for aunts and uncles who are like parents to me in many ways. They love well and sacrifice. Asking for nothing in return.

  6. This post reminded me of an episode of House when Cuddy adopts a baby and when her social worker shows up for the home visit and her house is a wreck, she starts apologizing profusely only for them to cut her off, saying that they can see she is a fit parent in how mortified she is by her house being a wreck and her mind being all over the place.

  7. This list of guilty feeling is a great idea to turn them into appreciations is a great idea. My sister who is a new mom has quilt from the daycare provider braking my nephews leg because she is the one who chose her. She did everything she was suppose to before choosing this “person” like background checks and everything. Needless to say this woman has done it before but never conflicted so it is not on record.

  8. Pingback: How to Write a Forgiveness Letter to Yourself -  ★ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM ♥ ★ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM ♥

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