How to Get Rid of Mom Guilt {& Still Pursue Your Passions!}

Friends, I have such fun treat for you today! I’m so excited to introduce to you Beth Anne from my favorite blog and business podcast, Brilliant Business Moms.

It’s no secret I’m kind of passionate about goal setting and living with intention and Beth Anne is right there with me! I’ve invited her to share some amazing tips about how to finally get rid of all that mom guilt and get things done.

Her tips are priority-based, allowing you to put the best things first. I’m so excited to welcome her, so without further ado, here she is!

How to Get Rid of Mom Guilt {& Still Pursue Your Passions!}


By Beth Anne Schwamberger, Brilliant Business Moms

Oh, mom guilt; the struggle is so real!

There are precisely 1 million things to feel guilty about every single day.

We feel guilty that we’re not spending enough time playing with our kids.

We feel guilty when we spend too much time playing with our kids – because now the house is a wreck and the laundry is piling up.

We feel guilty when we get back to work because we have to tell our kids “no”, plus now we’re scolding them for messing up the house.

We feel guilty that we don’t take them outside enough.

We feel guilty when we take them outside for too long, and they get dehydrated and sunburned.

We feel guilty that we’re not taking enough time for ourselves – to pursue our own interests and passions.

We feel guilty that we’re taking too much time for ourselves, and maybe our kids are suffering because of it.

And friends, this is JUST the beginning, right?

Here’s the thing: While mom guilt is a very normal part of being a mom, there is actually a lot we can do to minimize that guilt, keep our kids happy, and still make time for us too.

Sound too good to be true?

Keep reading to learn How to Get Rid of Mom Guilt (and still pursue your passions!)


This pun might sound a little graphic, but the picture it paints is so true! Every single day we pile a great big list of “shoulds” onto our schedule and then we feel like total failures when we don’t stack up.

In addition to the mom guilt items, I listed above, we add to that list a whole lotta “shoulds” like:

I should do an educational activity with my toddler each day.

I should take my kids on an enriching field trip each week.

I should cook with only organic ingredients and make all my meals from scratch.

I should hand make all my little girl’s dresses.

Ok, well first, I should learn how to sew 😉

I should volunteer weekly at my kids’ school.

I should quit buying Starbucks.

Actually, I should just quit drinking coffee!

I should quit blowing up at my kids because I’m a mess without caffeine.

Here’s the problem with most of these “shoulds”: They don’t reflect our deepest values.

Instead of considering thoughtfully what matters most to us and our family, we play the comparison game and start feeling like failures unless we do “all the things” that those 10 perfect women we see on social media are doing each week.

Here’s a little secret, friend: No one does “all the things”. We’re all just super good at presenting our best side online while failing to admit that those handmade dresses mean we haven’t cooked dinner in a week, or volunteering at the school means we’re too tired for outings each weekend.

So how do we stop “shoulding” on ourselves?

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Turn off everything: No texts, no emails, no social media. The only voices you’re going to listen to right now are yours, your family’s (and God’s if you’re a believer like me!)

Grab my “Only the Best” Worksheet and answer these 6 questions:

1.) What tasks or obligations do I dread doing each week?

2.) How can I eliminate or outsource some of those tasks?

3.) What brings me the most joy in my life?

4.) How can I add more of these things back in?

5.) What matters most to me?

6.) How can I make those things a priority during my week?

How can you truly eliminate some of those joy-stealers?

Maybe you can outsource some, and maybe you can step down from other roles. Maybe it involves slowing down the pace of your family’s schedule too.

Oftentimes, eliminating joy-stealers involves setting different expectations for yourself. (My confession: I don’t clean my house weekly. I clean it as-needed, and often in a rush as a family right before company comes over. This works for us, and it saves us hours of time each week 🙂


Now that we’ve cleared your schedule a bit, and you’re committed to only letting the voices that matter dictate your time, let’s make some room for what matters to you!

If you’ve read Victoria’s blog before, you know that she’s a HUGE fan of setting goals as a way to pursue your passions and live your dream life. I am right there with her on this one!

But if you’re new to goal-setting, it can feel a bit scary.

So today, we’re starting with just one.

Choose one great big passion that you have, and maybe it’s something you haven’t had time for in a while.

Next, in order to make that passion part of your everyday life, we have to turn it into a goal.

What makes something a great goal? Well, it has to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive.

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Let’s dig into each aspect of goal-setting so we can set you up for success:

1.) Specific. Your goal needs to be clear. For example, I can turn my passion for helping every child find a forever family, and instead, say that my goal for this year is to provide adoption grants for three kids to come home.

2.) Measurable. You need to be able to track whether you achieved your goal or not. So, for example, if your great big dream is to be a successful author, your goal for the next 12 months might be to write your first 100 pages for your first book draft. That’s something you can measure! You can easily tell whether you’ve met that goal or not.

3.) Attainable. This is where our great big dreams get brought down to life a bit. Now, I’ll be honest, my great big dream of helping every child find a forever family? That dream is ALWAYS in the back of my mind as I do everything I do. But… this is WAY too big of a thing to set out to accomplish in just one year. I can get more realistic by asking myself, “What can I do THIS year to work towards that passion of mine?”

Again, for you, perhaps, you want to start a non-profit to help impoverished kids in your community get the help and support they need to succeed in school. So, maybe your goal for the next 3 months is to research best practices for successful non-profits in this field. Then, after you knock that goal out of the park, your next goal is to find 10 people who will sit on the board of your non-profit or be champions for this cause. See how much more manageable this great big dream feels when we break it into attainable steps?

4.) Realistic. Again, I’ll be honest, I think we need to push ourselves a bit to really see results, but, if you’re the kind of person who won’t get started unless you feel like you can succeed… then this realistic part… it’s big for you! Baby steps, my friend… you can pursue that great big dream of yours one baby step at a time.

5.) Time-sensitive. Now if you set a goal to write your first 100 pages of your very first book draft, but you don’t give yourself a due date, chances are you’ll find plenty of reasons to put off writing that book. There will always be something else that can take up our time. Give yourself deadlines and hold yourself accountable for meeting them if you want to have any hope of making those great big dreams part of your life.

Now that your schedule has been cleared and your goal has been set, it’s time to get to work!

But… what about that whole mom guilt thing? Clearly, if you set off into the wilderness to go write that book, your spouse and kids might be a little upset with you.

How can we both pursue our goal AND feel guilt-free about it?

Well, it all comes down to that elusive word called “balance”


We have to make time for both our families AND our biggest passions (plus, let’s be honest, a lot of other not-fun tasks too!). How do we accomplish this? With Time-Blocking.

Every week, I start by writing down every appointment I have, everything I have to get done, plus all the things that really matter to me – like playtime or storytime with Holden, and a date night with Chris.

After I write in any non-negotiables – like appointments or meetings, the very next thing that gets put in my planner are all the things that matter most, like the people I love most and the passions I want to pursue.


I know for me if I don’t carve out and protect that precious time with my family AND that precious time to work on my great big goal, my to-do list will take over and I’ll be stuck in busy mode all week long.

After I write in all of my non-negotiables and top priorities, then and only then do I schedule in all the other little to-do’s that I’d like to get done that week.

And guess what? I often have WAY more to-do’s than I can possibly schedule in the time that’s left. And that’s totally ok with me!

I’ve come to realize that we all set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, and for me, crossing off a bunch of things on a list is WAY less important than pursuing my passions and spending time with my son.

So all the to-do’s that didn’t make the cut? They roll over to the next week, and I don’t give a second thought to it.

Choose what you do wisely. Choose the things that matter most. Shift your joy from crossing items off the to-do list to building lasting memories with the people who matter most.


This truth serves me really well when it comes to reducing mom guilt. My to-do list is not my permission slip. I don’t have to get everything done before I can call it a day and have fun with my family. When we finally say this out loud, I think we’ll be surprised at how often we truly live our lives with this mentality.

That to-do list is always longer than what I can achieve, so I’ve come to acknowledge that I get to decide when I’m going to have fun – not some arbitrary list.

I don’t feel guilty about not getting everything done anymore, and because I’ve also blocked out family time each and every week, I don’t feel guilty about the time I spend (or don’t spend!) with my family either.

Finally, there’s no guilt around time for myself because that made it onto my planner too.

No guilt, progress towards great big goals, AND time with my family. It’s a win-win-win!


At the end of the day, all you can do is your best. (Notice how I didn’t say all you can do is be perfect?) That’s it. We’re not perfect, and we never will be.

If you look back on your day and still feel like you messed up big time, ask yourself, how would I respond if a dear friend told me about a similar day she had? Would I berate her for being a terrible mom? Would I make her feel awful for not being ambitious enough?

Chances are you wouldn’t! You’d offer her encouragement, tell her she’s doing an amazing job, and remind her that tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it.

Pssst! This is me telling that to you: You did your best, dear. You’re doing an amazing job. And tomorrow IS fresh with no mistakes in it. (Granted, it won’t stay that way for long, but still, it’s the thought that counts, right?)


Despite all the handy tactics above, the truth is, we all feel mom guilt from time to time. So what should we do, when, despite our best-laid plans, it rears its ugly head again?

When we keep what’s stressing us swirling around inside our heads, it can feel much bigger and scarier than it truly is. By taking the time to write things out and work through them, we can save ourselves hours (or even years!) of mental agony.

That’s why I like to use a tool called The Guilt List.

Rather than push my mom guilt way down deep (where it’s likely to pounce out of its cage at any minute… manifesting itself in the form of growling and roaring!) I like to face the guilt head on so I can deal with it and be done with it.

There are 3 steps to using The Guilt List

  1. Write down everything you feel guilty about. Nothing is too big or too small.
  2. Ask yourself, “should I feel guilty about this?” Hopefully, you’ll find that the answer is often, “No I shouldn’t!”
  3. Ask yourself, “what can I do to change it?” You might be surprised at the creative answers you come up with when getting things out on paper.

For example, I just thought to myself, “Well, if you feel guilty that your 3-year-old doesn’t get to go on enough play dates because you have a newborn at home, maybe there’s nothing you can do to change that, and you shouldn’t feel guilty.” But the more I thought, the more I realized, “Nope. There are plenty of creative solutions to this problem that empower us to make the changes we’re craving. We can invite friends over to our house (mess and all!). We can trade watching others’ kids – that way our child gets a play date away from home (and we get a little quiet time) and then another child comes to your house (and trust me, in most cases, you’ll still feel like you get a little quiet time while they play!)”

There are so many solutions to the problems in our lives when we first address them head on, then think creatively.

Oh Mom Guilt - the struggle is so real! How can we possibly find time to pursue our own passions and still feel like we're giving our kids enough? Learn how to tackle mom guilt with this brilliant step-by-step guide - complete with loads of free printables! | productivity for moms

Oh, friend, I can’t wait to see what you accomplish this year when you’re clear on both your great big goal and your biggest priorities!

Mom guilt be gone – you’ve got too many important things to do – and too many important people counting on you 🙂


1.) Use the Only the Best Worksheet to determine what matters most to you and what things you can eliminate from your schedule each week.

2.) Use the What I’d Like to Do + What Matters Most Worksheet to Determine your Top Passions and Priorities

3.) Use the Top 5 Passions and Goals Sheet to turn those passions into SMART Goals.

4.) Use the Time-Blocking Sheet to Map out your Top priorities, make time for your great big goals, and protect time for the people who matter most to.

5.) If all else fails and you’re still feeling guilty, use The Guilt List to get those worries out of your head and brainstorm creative solutions.

That’s it, friend! You’ve got this!

Oh Mom Guilt - the struggle is so real! How can we possibly find time to pursue our own passions and still feel like we're giving our kids enough? Learn how to tackle mom guilt with this brilliant step-by-step guide - complete with loads of free printables! | productivity for moms


Beth Anne Schwamberger - creator of the Brilliant Life Planner and Founder of

Beth Anne Schwamberger is a big dreamer, adoptive mom, and military spouse. She has a blog and online shop at Beth Anne is passionate about helping women to discover their deepest calling, and then take practical steps towards making that calling part of their everyday lives. Her brand-new, Brilliant Life Planner is now available on Kickstarter.

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One Comment

  1. Ughh mom guilt is real. I feel guilty all the time. I feel guilty that I work too much and then just want to relax when I get home so I give my kids their tablet for a bit. I feel guilty for meal choices sometimes and I hate being judged by others. No one is perfect! Thank you for sharing.

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