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What is 'mom guilt,' and how should you deal with it?

Scripps News spoke with Dr. Whitney Casares, a maternal and child health expert, about how to recognize mom guilt and what to do about it.
What is 'mom guilt,' and how should you deal with it?
Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 18:04:50-05

Being a mom is a full-time job. Once you pair that with your career, keeping your house in order and giving time to your partner, there's so much to do. 

It can make you feel like you're not doing anything right. The phenomenon is called "mom guilt."

Scripps News spoke with Dr. Whitney Casares, a maternal and child health expert and mother of two young girls, about how to recognize mom guilt and what to do about it.

"Mom guilt is this idea that you are not doing anything right, that as you're trying your absolute best somehow everything is not adding up," Casares said. "And the problem is most moms think that mom guilt is their fault, when in reality, it's usually because the system they're living in is not set up to really support their needs or their children's needs."

"The attention economy, this 'ding-ding-ding-ding-ding' of our phones on and on and on, that makes a huge difference for moms," Casares said. "The fact that we are struggling with a lot of mental health issues that have gone untreated or unnoticed. But most importantly, that moms everywhere are unsupported and unaccounted for in the workplace. That we don't have paid parental leave like we need. That we don't have the tax credits that we need, that we don't have a lot of the things that would make it much easier for moms to actually thrive and not just feel like they're surviving."

SEE MORE: Infant mortality rates shine a light on maternity care deserts

"If moms want to feel successful, they have to decide what they want to say yes to," Casares said. "What are the things that they want to focus their time and their energy on, so that they feel like they're purposeful and aligned at the end of the day? Because that's going to allow them to really push all those distractions away and to get everything else that has to get done done, but without it defining them."


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