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Do you know what, Mama? If you didn’t care so much, it wouldn’t bother you.


The fact that you care so much speaks volumes of the love you have for your children and your desire to mother them well. So, we need to talk about this heavy guilt that you’re carrying.

You feel guilty because you yelled.

You feel guilty because you fed them mac and cheese.

You feel guilty because they’re not in bed yet.

Guilt for having a baby.

Guilt for not having a baby.

Guilt for not breastfeeding at all or for long enough or maybe for too long (according to other people.)

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Guilt for sleep training.

Guilt for co-sleeping.

Guilt for getting angry.

Guilt for feeling resentful.

For being tired. For not calling your friends. There are a million reasons why mamas feel guilty but there’s one good reason to stop.

It’s not helping you.

Sure, guilt in small doses helps keep us in check, but most of us are overdosing on guilt, and this actually keeps us from moving forward. Studies have found that concentration, productivity, creativity, and efficiency go way down when you’re stuck in guilt.

That heavy load is fogging up your brain, making it difficult to think straight. It’s making you stressed out and unhealthy. It’s giving the bully in your head free reign. The negative self-talk is sucking away your joy and producing anxiety. It’s keeping you from enjoying your life.

We all make choices we wish we could change.

I’ve condemned myself for months over a 10-second mistake but never praised myself for months over a 10-second achievement. I tend to be brutally hard on myself, and I have a feeling many of you reading this can relate. You can only hear so many “you’re screwing this up” messages before you start believing you’re a screw-up, and those messages are everywhere these days, aren’t they?

So, can I tell you that you are not a screw-up?

That no matter how many times you’ve made the same mistake, this is a new day and anything is possible.

Can I remind you of all the times you’ve kissed the boo-boo and made it better, sat up with a sick child through the night, rocked a crying baby even though your eyes and your heart were heavy, fed your kids first to make sure there was enough before you ate, passed up what you wanted so you could buy that thing for your little one, loitered outside the halls of the school to make sure your kid was going to be okay, braved through tough conversations, and comforted an upset child?

If there’s a million reasons to feel guilt, there’s a million more reasons to feel like a rock star.

Your kids aren’t holding your mistakes against you. They love you—and more than anything—they want to see you smile. You’re not a screw-up to them, you’re their whole world.

So, apologize if you need to and change your behavior if it’s required and then let it go. Guilt stops by to teach us a lesson but we invite it in for tea and give it a place in our bed. Listen to what it’s telling you and then let it wash away like the dirt from the day and get on with living and loving.

Just don’t hold on to it for dear life, because there are so many better things worth holding on to.

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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How much time our kids spend in front of a screen is something we have almost always been “strict" about in our household.

Generally speaking, we're not big TV watchers and our kids don't own tablets or iPads, so limiting screen time for our children (usually around the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines) has proven to be a reasonable practice for us.

It wasn't until this past summer when I started working from home full time that I found myself stretching an hour to an hour and a half or allowing just one more episode of Pokemon so I could get in a few more emails quietly. (#MomGuilt)

I also realized that I wasn't counting when we passively had the news on in the background as TV time and that we weren't always setting a stellar example for our kids as we tended to use our phones during what should have been family time.

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