Often times, throughout my postpartum period, I questioned if I was a good mom or if I was making the right decisions for my children.

Many of the decisions we make as mothers are based on maternal instinct or a gut feeling ….or maybe due to good ol’ fashion hormones.

So when trying to figure out why we, as women, often blame ourselves for the uncontrollable or inevitable during our childbearing and childrearing years… it’s simple. It’s because we’re moms.

The sense of inferiority that mothers experience, regardless of whether they’re working, are homemakers or single mothers, is a reality and seldom discussed.

As a mother of two young children, I often felt (and still do) that I was to blame for most things- my son being diagnosed with a heart condition after his birth, working a full-time job as a women’s health nurse practitioner, being late for “Muffins for Mom” at the preschool, and having cesarean deliveries.

In motherhood we love deeply yet over-analyze everything.

When discovering this common ‘condition’ I share with most mothers, I realized it was important to determine healthy ways to combat the “mom guilt.” 

Take time for yourself.

If it has been a year since you’ve had your roots touched up or had the calluses on your feet tended to, then it is time!

Make time to schedule annual physicals and dental cleanings too. Let your spouse or sitter know that you can no longer miss your 6pm hot yoga class you used to love. It’s time to make YOU a priority.

Find healthy ways to de-stress your life.

Now is as good of a time as any to get back into the gym.

The body releases chemicals called endorphins when we exercise that greatly impact our overall mood. Activities such as, reading, meditation, listening to music, or volunteering, can greatly impact our mental health and have a positive influence on how we care for our family.

Communicate how you feel and allow others in.

You’d be amazed how many people around you may be experiencing the exact same thing.

Reaching out to neighborhood groups, church organizations, or even professional mental health providers could help assist you in your “4th trimester” journey that I consider motherhood.

Turn off your social media.

It’s important to realize that most of our feelings of inadequacy and competitive nature stem from what we experience on the internet. Studies have linked social media to anxiety, depression, poor sleep quality and low self-esteem.

In our modern and hyper-aware culture it is so easy to fall into the trap of what we perceive as a reality via Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

As women, we frequently feel the added pressures of looking our best, being in the best shape, cooking the healthiest meals, buying the best brands, and sending our kids to the best schools. Don’t worry that your son’s photo on his first day of school didn’t have a cool filter or that your daughter’s birthday party wasn’t ‘Pinterest-worthy.’ 

When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we can start focusing on what’s significant in our lives.

It truly does take a village.

Learn to utilize family members and friends when you need help or feel overwhelmed.

News flash- we can’t do it all! Expect that things will not go our way and that will we mess up. Perfection doesn’t exist in motherhood.

Don’t be afraid to allow your mother in-law to watch your newborn while you take a nap or encourage your spouse to do bath and bedtime routine solo. It’s possible that letting go of some control just might help us thrive as mamas.

There is no doubt in my mind that the hardest job of my life is being a mom to my two littles. However, if we could judge less and inspire more, then the feelings of mom guilt will dissipate.

No matter what stage of motherhood you are in, we all share one thing in common and that is our love for our children.