Have you ever gotten to the end of a very long day and sighed with relief for a moment only to be overcome with guilt about some perceived "bad mom" moment? Many moms experience shifting emotions about their choices and begin making comparisons, but this can be debilitating.

Parenting is more of a marathon than a sprint. It takes time, practice and patience. Some days leave you feeling strong, capable and in control. Other days leave you feeling defeated, tired and off balance. As wonderful as those good days feel, the bad days feel much worse in comparison. When everything feels like a failure, it's difficult to find the positive and move forward.

Between books, magazines, blogs and social media, moms are given the latest and greatest parenting advice on an hourly basis. Who wouldn't feel guilty under that kind of pressure?

Mom guilt certainly isn't a new concept in the world of parenting, but it does continue to plague many moms, no matter their work status. If you stop what you're doing and look around for a moment, it's easy to see why mom guilt is so pervasive. Moms are bombarded with information in all directions these days. Between books, magazines, blogs and social media, moms are given the latest and greatest parenting advice on an hourly basis (or so it sometimes seems). Who wouldn't feel guilty under that kind of pressure?

Every parent experiences parenting lows at various points, and sitting around obsessing about those moments can be downright depressing. Was there a better way to handle a negatively charged interaction with a child? Probably. Could you have played a little more and stressed a little less this week? Perhaps. Will replaying the negative thoughts in your head alter the past? Absolutely not.

Guilt is often a useless emotion. It might help us learn a few lessons to apply to similar situations in the future, but, if we're not careful, it can also trigger intense feelings of anxiety and/or depression. It's natural to have ups and downs along the parenting journey, and learning to accept that can help you become the parent that you want to be.

Accept the feeling

There are a lot of moments that can trigger feelings of guilt and insecurity, but yelling, insufficient time playing and engaging with the kids, working too much and desperately seeking time alone tend to top the mom guilt list. It's time to accept the fact that parenting isn't all rainbows and butterflies. There are moments that trigger big feelings in parents. Sometimes we handle those moments with grace, and other times we might earn a "needs improvement." Either way, accepting the feeling of guilt that accompanies those not-so-perfect moments is the first step toward relieving yourself of the burden of guilt.

Stress is part of life. It's how we react to and cope with stress that matters. Go ahead and give yourself five minutes to go over the "what ifs" and "I should haves," but then sit down and think about your stressors and how you can decrease or manage them. Once you begin to accept the feelings that follow bad days, you can move forward with a positive mindset.

Avoid comparisons

Step away from the Pinterest board! Frequent use of social media among moms has increased the perfect parenting competition. While some moms bemoan the constant posting of everything wonderful, others feel like seeing the good stuff helps them stay positive. The truth is that, either way, it doesn't really matter.

We're all different and comparisons are useless. I bake everything from scratch because I have no choice in the matter, but what I wouldn't do to buy a pack of cupcakes at the grocery store once in a while! It's not a race to the finish, and it certainly isn't a competition. Parenthood is fun, complicated and a lot of other adjectives. It's best to enjoy it at your own pace and without comparisons.

Take a break from social media if the picture perfect Instagrams leave you feeling insecure and throw away the parenting magazines that cause your blood to boil. Chances are, you're doing just fine on your own.

Even on your worst day of parenting,
you still did something right.

Celebrate small moments

Even on your worst day of parenting, you still did something right. Instead of focusing on important milestones and big benchmarks, celebrate the small moments of success along the way.

Remember when your child stopped to help a worm struggling to get from the sidewalk to the grass? She learned that compassion from you. Remember when you overheard your oldest reading to your youngest? You helped nurture that relationship. Parenting isn't about pictures, milestones and success stories, it's about love, happiness and being a family.

Resist the urge to replay the negative and you'll find that you are surrounded by positive.

Journal it

It can be difficult to shake the low moments, and we tend to be our own worst critics. Getting your feelings out will help you work through the negative and learn to cope with the bad days.

Journaling can be a very powerful form of healing. Write out your feelings each night before bed to help you rest easy and wake up ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

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