CENTERS’ PIECE: Parental guilt … let’s get rid of it.Angie Morris joined Centers in 2013. Angie is Centers bilingual therapist and she enjoys working with young children and adolescents.

Before I became a mom, I had not heard the term “mom guilt.” Now it seems I hear this term constantly. “Mom guilt” or “parent guilt” (because dads can feel it too) can weigh heavy on a parent all the time. Am I giving my child the right food? Do I read to my child enough? Is my child hitting their milestones on time? Is my child delayed? Is my child advanced? Do I spend enough time with my child? Should I stay home? Should I send my child to daycare? And the list goes on and on.
As a society, we have never been more connected through social media. Even though staying connected with friends and family can be a good thing, social media is a common source of parent guilt. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are all means in which we share about our lives. It is easy to look at the posts on social media and see how our lives stack up against the lives of others. We compare ourselves to others. We compare our marriages. We compare our children.
If we are completely honest with ourselves, we can admit that we put our best foot forward when it comes to what we post on these social outlets. We post the cutest pictures of our kids, not the pictures of our children throwing a temper tantrum. We post the cute date night picture of our happy marriage; we do not post about the trivial fights with our spouse. The point is that you certainly cannot compare yourselves to others using these social media outlets.
Being a parent is difficult, but it’s much more difficult when you compare your parenting or your child’s progress to others. Instead of comparing yourself or your child to others, be encouraging to yourself and to your child. Make goals for yourself and your own family. What works for others may not work for you and your family. Embrace the fact that your family is unique.
There is no perfect way to parent (although a comprehensive parenting manual would be nice). Do not compare yourself or your children to others. Love on your children and encourage them, and the rest will fall into place.