mum and daughter in a field of flowers with text '15 tips for banishing mum guilt'

Mum guilt – 15 tips to get you on the road to recovery

Mum guilt. It’s a thing. Well actually, it’s not just mums is it? There’s dad guilt, parent guilt and probably grandparent guilt to look forward to as well. And if you’re anything like me, it’s all-consuming. Breathing down your neck at every turn.

You’re working? You should be with the children. You’re with the children? You should be cooking dinner. You’re doing something for yourself without the kids? You are a terrible mother and someone will probably call social services.

So, I’ve asked the experts for some tips on coping with mum guilt. And what makes them experts? They’ve been there too.

mum and daughter in a field of flowers with text '15 tips for banishing mum guilt'

1. Plan

I try and schedule my time so I can work, do the housework and have a bit of me time. Having a bath is the best thing because it stops me from doing anything. Pass the Prosecco Please.

2. Yoga

I had to do something about my mum guilt because I ended up completely burning myself out. Personally I found doing some yoga, meditation and going out for a dinner with my friends made me realise that in order to be a good mum I need to recharge from time to time. It’s so difficult to be the best mum I can while running on empty. More advice at Our Fairytale Adventure.

Mum and young daughter doing a yoga pose with child on mum's feet

3. Write lists

My mum guilt happens when grandparents are babysitting as I feel I should be productive but I just waste time thinking of the little one. So, I find it helps to write a list of things I enjoy doing without a toddler around. Even if it’s just to watch a show without interruption or wash my hair. As soon as he’s off to his grandparents’, I browse my list and pick something. The Growing Mum.

4. Exercise while you can

I work out whilst my son is at pre-school. I know he’s getting the attention and education he needs and I can do something for me guilt free. It’s only by planning it in when I know something will benefit him too that I can happily do something for me. Emma Reed.

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5. Give yourself a break

I don’t have mum guilt. At all. I just think, I was once a child and my parents worked and went out. They watched television and bought things for themselves. Not a lot because we weren’t well off, but they did. I did what I was told and sometimes had to do things they wanted to do or go to bed early or stay with my nan. Just like one day my kids will be parents, and they’ll know that it’s ok to send their kids to me occasionally so they can have a break without feeling guilty. Bobsy’s Mum.

6. Happy parents = happy kids

After 9 years of parenting, I’ve managed to push the guilt aside. Like my kids now, I never appreciated how much my parents did for me. It’s not something you grasp until you’re much older. With that in mind, I quite happily take some time out to do what I want to do. Plus, when I’m happier, the kids are too. Household Money Saving.


7. It’s all about balance

I get mum guilt all the time but I try very hard to remind myself that I am a much better mum when I’ve had the chance to relax and have some ‘me time’. To counter the guilt, if I do get some time on my own I make the most of it but then make sure I spend some quality time with the kids after. That way it’s a win win. Winnettes.

8. Unplug your devices to avoid mum guilt

The only way that I can do something for me is if I leave my house, without my laptop with a distinct purpose in mind to do something for me. The other thing I’ve been trying to do is plug my phone in to charge downstairs and then reading a book when I go up to bed. Pink Pear Bear.

9. Give your full attention

When I’m with my son, he has my total attention on the good, bad and ugly days. When I’m at work, he’s with family and I know he’s having the time of his life. A couple of days a month, I try to take an afternoon for myself. Just a coffee on my own makes me feel like a new woman. And I certainly don’t feel guilty for that. Sinead Latham.

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10. Have a night out

I find a night out with wine and other mummies helps put the world to rights. Jemma from Thimble and Twig also gets frustrated at the way mums are labelled according to their parenting style.

11. Treat yourself to a massage

Instead of enjoying a bath, I bring my phone with me to do work on while in there. I’ve recently booked in a couple of massages and facials and really relaxed then. I do believe you deserve a break as a mum and it makes you a better parent. Scandi Mummy.

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12. See the example you’re setting by working hard

I thoroughly love working and enjoy being busy. Im always spinning plates and doing 3 things at once but my boys and step children know that if we want nice things in life, it requires hard work and focus. I always make sure the dinner table is technology free for every meal, I make time on a weekend to go out for a walk or just do something as a family for a couple of hours and I take my boys out for 1-1 time in half terms. Other than that, I like to hope I’m showing my children that a great future needs a good work ethic. Our Altered Life.

13. Read a book

I do mum guilt well and before mum guilt it was teacher guilt. I’m also completely hopeless at ‘just’ relaxing. For me, reading a book I want to read is the solution. It’s something for me but I’m still ‘doing’ something. Starlight and Stories.

14. Invest in time for yourself to avoid burnout

Remember that you can’t afford to have a burnout or it will have a domino effect on your family. With that in mind dedicate a couple of hours, or even minutes, every day to yourself. You don’t have to do big stuff, just do small things that give you joy like listening to your current jam. Before I start everything, I like singing in the shower and just grooving to my current favourite song. I also take a few breaks a day and watch a few videos online for inspiration and entertainment. My Parenting Journey.

15. Start small

Start small, allow yourself a small block of time for something for you, maybe a series once a week on the TV, or a relaxing bath with a face mask and a book and then concentrate on how much better you feel after that, how much more relaxed proactive you feel. Then build up to more time like a swim or exercise class or regular meet up with friends. The Strawberry Fountain.

Mum guilt | Whether you know it as mum guilt, mom guilt, dad guilt or parent guilt, we've all been there. It doesn't matter what you do, you feel guilty that you're not doing something else. Working? Should be with the children. On a day out? There's so much housework to do! So, here are some tips to help you cope with that awful guilty feeling - and even banish it for good. #mumguilt #momguilt #mumproblems #wahm #parenting

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  1. Some excellent tips, which remind me once again that I’ve been putting myself last for 16 years. The time my kids are at school is my time to recharge my batteries. Even though I’m working and doing stuff for the family, I do also go for a run or walk every day and read a few pages of my book.

    1. That’s good, I look forward to having time to do that when the girls are both in school. Much as I will miss having one of them around a lot of the time, it will be nice to find some time for me.

  2. Hi Nat, these are great tips. I love Bobsy’s mums’ attitude and she’s right. Sometimes I do feel pangs of guilt that maybe I could have done things differently in regards to Gregs, but deep down I know I couldn’t, so let it go. Parent guilt is always going to be there, letting it in for a few minutes before dismissing it, works best for me.


  3. Great post – especially loving the massage bit 😉
    No honestly I agree it’s happy mom and happy kids. If I let myself get too stressed it’s only going to negatively impact on the kids.

  4. Great article with some really lovely tips, I’ve recently taken up yoga too recently and have found it great to switch off from the world just for a little while and helps recharge the batteries #mondaystumble

  5. I think planning is something I definitely need to work on more. I just waste so much time dithering if I don’t have a plan. And getting ready for tomorrow the night before is amazing – I’ve been trying to do that and it make such a difference to the morning routine – much less stress!

  6. Luckily I only have the one – I can only imagine how much harder it is to schedule in time when you have your own busy schedule and two busy kiddie schedules! They seem to have better social lives than we do!