how to deal with homeschool mama guilt (in no easy steps)

Laughing off homeschool mama guilt: can it be done?

I have a hard time laughing off parenting fails (said every homeschool mom, but definitely me).

But when I shared a genuine parenting failure with a friend, she laughed. She laughed!

laughing off homeschool mama guilt

I knew my heart was safe with her because she didn’t see my parenting fail as I did.

I also knew her well enough that I knew she would agree: I didn’t approach my child the right way. (The combination of the two made her laugh seem all the more surprising!) So how to deal with homeschool mama guilt?

My friend’s laugh wasn’t a laugh of mockery.

What I heard in her laugh, and what I learned afterward from her, was that I surprised her because it didn’t strike her that I would approach my child like THAT.

(Even I surprised MYSELF in my parenting fail moment. Welcome to parenting! You don’t do as you thought you would do before you were a parent.)

Her laugh spoke to me: “Relax, you made a mistake. Oh well! Your ineffective parenting strategy was not a sign that you should self-condemn, heaping tons of mama guilt onto yourself. Accept your reality: you’re a human, also a parent. You’ll make mistakes.”

ps Want to know how to deal with THOSE homeschool days?

Instead of focusing on your past mistakes, focus on what you’re becoming, homeschool mama.

So how do we deal with homeschool mama guilt?

Being honest in moments of parental indiscretion keeps us humble (& also keeps us from judging other parents, because we know we’re not in a special league).

I might be Mother Teresa (Teresa is my first name, ha), but I’ll never live up to the perception of that icon. (Just ask my kids, wait, on the other hand, don’t.)

So when a different mama shared her guilty feelings with me: that she wasn’t measuring up (a gentle mom who stops to chat with her child whenever her child enters the room, answers questions with patience, doesn’t seem to get annoyed by the noise of her children playing loudly), and she suggests she’s probably not spending enough time playing games with her kids, I quickly tell her not to buy into mama guilt.

Guilt doesn’t propel us to make useful choices.

We’re more likely to hide when we allow ourselves to be consumed by guilt. We’re less likely to make intentional choices and shift in a healthier direction.

And that’s actually what we NEED to do when we’re making a parenting choice that makes us feel guilty.

Yes, we all have reasons to feel guilty.

Sometimes we feel guilt because it is earned: our parenting choice wasn’t the wisest one & we know it. (And I don’t need to give you an example here, because you already know to what I am referring. It’s the thing that you thought of when you began to read this article).

(This might help you become more gentle: How to be a Gentle Homeschool Mom, even to Your Kids.)

Sometimes we feel guilty because we are attempting to appease our unrealistic expectations (and sometimes others’ expectations). Sometimes it’s a mix of both.

The Secrets to a Happier Homeschool Mom Life…

How to deal with homeschool mama guilt in 10 not-so-easy steps…

1. Identify the source of your guilt.

Clarify whether it’s false or true guilt.

What are you planning to do about that false or true guilt?

2. Practice self-compassion.

What would you say to your friend?

Write about your guilt-inducing scenario to get it out of your head.

Use the Emotions GPS

Practice self-forgiveness.

3. Challenge your thoughts.
  • Is this true?
  • Are you 100% certain it’s true?
  • Are there alternative thoughts around that scenario?
  • If you believed those alternative thoughts, what might be the natural outcome of those alternative thoughts?
Learn more about how assessing your thoughts matters to your homeschool mom life.

How to not react to your kids' fighting with losing your mind

4. Take responsibility.

Apologize, if required.

Make amends.

Make a “next step” plan.

Talk with a friend, or a therapist, or book a conversation with me, to get clarity on your next steps.
5. Learn from your mistakes.

Don’t choose true guilt moments to self-label and self-condemn. Don’t make a mistake in your identity.

6. Seek support.

Mama guilt will do nothing to propel us to learn what we need to become the homeschool mamas we want to be.

7. Practice mindfulness.

You’ve only got the present: be present.

In the words of Thich Nhat Hahn…

Life is available only in the present moment.

–Thich Nhat Hahn

Why homeschool moms need self-compassion…

8. You need to take care of you.

Recognize you’re not a superhero.

Because you’re human, you have needs.

Tell me below how you’re looking after you…

9. Practice self-forgiveness.

“Forgiving yourself for what you didn’t know before you learned it is a requirement.” –Maya Angelou

 “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Maya Angelou

Instead, we can decide that maybe there’s something we need to grow in, maybe we need to do the internal work that helps us to show up on purpose, in a way that we’re even proud of ourselves.

Then maybe we can even laugh off our guilt.

ps Using Self-Compassion Strategies will always benefit every big emotion you experience.

Find more homeschool encouragement here:

Teresa Wiedrick

I help overwhelmed homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.