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Mom/Parent Shame: The impact of self-judgments in parenting

Updated: Jul 12

I wholeheartedly agree that the term "mom/parent guilt" and would be better described to as "mom/parent shame." While the two terms are similar, there is a subtle and importance difference between guilt and shame.

Mom/parent shame is characterized by feelings of inadequacy and inferiority as a mother. It can be brought on by societal, familial, or internal factors. Mom/parent shame includes negative self-judgments and comparisons. Comparison, especially on social media, exacerbates feelings of inadequacy, shame, and isolation. The constant negative self-judgments and “never feeling good enough” impacts the parenting experience on a daily basis.

These feelings of shame can impact a mother's/parent's self-esteem, confidence, relationships, and emotional well-being, leading to isolation and possible depression/anxiety.

While there is a debate on whether mom/parent guilt should instead be called mom/parent shame, it is crucial to recognize that the feelings that parents experience have a significant impact on their mental and emotional well-being. Therefore, we have to aim to remove the societal expectations of perfection for parents and offer a supportive environment that encourages open communication and self-care.

We need to all acknowledge the challenges and necessary support needed during the parenting experience. Therapy can be an important part of managing feelings of shame, inadequacy, isolation, anxiety, and depression. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need assistance.

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