Mommy Guilt

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Categories Mommy Issues

One of the things I wasn’t prepared for when the boys arrived was Mommy Guilt. Captial M. Capital G.

Before becoming pregnant, I pretty much only had to worry about myself. Oh sure, I worried about my husband to some extent as well, but I learned pretty quickly that he was much happier when I left him to his own devices.

Then pregnancy. It wasn’t until about five months in when the reality hit that there were two human beings living inside my body. And those two human beings would very soon be outside and in the world and would need my care and attention.

Still, until they arrived, I had no idea of the true magnitude of care and attention they would require. Those people who try to give you well-meaning advice while you’re pregnant usually like to say something like, “Enjoy your time now! Your life will never be the same!” Yeah, yeah, yeah – I remember thinking. I’m ready. Bring it on.

Then our boys arrived and true reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I loved every moment of it, don’t get me wrong – but there is no break.

A good friend of mine, watching our boys crawl over, under, around and through a Mexican restaurant booth where we four adults were trying to enjoy a meal remarked, “This doesn’t look so hard.” I smiled and said, “It’s not hard – it’s just constant.”

And that’s where the Mommy Guilt comes in. I love my boys dearly. I love being with them. I would do ANYTHING for them. But Mommy has got to have a break. So I take breaks. I have my own interests. I work a full-time corporate job and have my own business on the side. I have my craft projects. And my favorite time of day is after boys and husband are asleep and I have a quiet house all to myself. I know that these alone times are the keys to my sanity.

So why do I feel Guilty? Guilty that I need this time away? I guess I feel like I shouldn’t NEED time away. I should want to spend every waking moment with them. And yet, I don’t.

In talking with my other mommy friends, it’s a common theme. We all have seen the stereotype of “mother” played out again and again as we were growing up. And as children, whether our moms stayed at home or worked, the result was the same – children see their mothers as just that, a mom only. It’s only later, when you become a mom, that you see that your own mother was probably driven nuts by you and needed alone time as well. Maybe she got it or maybe she didn’t, but odds are, as a child, you didn’t notice.

The lesson in all of this, for me, is that I don’t need to have Mommy Guilt about needing time away from my kids. It makes me a better mom, more appreciative of the time we do have together. And that’s the best thing I can give to my boys – attention and love, full-focused on them when we are together. (Although if you ask my boys – the best thing I can give them is fruit snacks.)

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7 thoughts on “Mommy Guilt”

  1. So, so true. You intellectually know that you need a break, need space, and that it’s a good thing. But there’s something about being “mom” that makes you feel full-time responsible for what’s going on, even when you’re not there.

  2. I’m so glad you guys agree! It was hard for me to figure out how to write this one up because I kind of felt GUILTY even writing it out! LOL.

  3. Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with me because I have yet to feel this. I feel guilty when I am away from them …but I never feel that I “need” to get away. I never want to be away either. Perhaps this will kick in as they get older. They’re only 10 1/2 months now…I still have years to feel the guilt.

  4. Sheena – it comes later (if it comes at all! LOL). At your stage, I remember that any time away was okay for the first hour but then panic would set in and I just HAD TO GET HOME. I remember some freak out moments when traffic had us slowed down from a dinner out or something. Thankfully, that has passed now that the boys themselves are more independent.

  5. Great post! I feel guilt so often. I need a break, but then when I am away, I feel badly that I am taking a break, or I feel like whoever is caring for them isn’t doing it “as well” as me. And I feel that I even need to take a break, because I didn’t have them home with me right after being born, shouldn’t I want to eb around them 24/7? Ahhhh!

    Add to that the enormous feelings of guilt associated with having to deliver 2 months early, and having 2 babies in the NICU almost until their due date, and I’m this overprotective, yet overwhelmed Mama bear-type mother. I’m exhausted!

    Its reassuring to see others feel this too.

  6. This post was timed perfectly! I had a mini-bout of Mommy Guilt today when my husband and I worked in some afternoon skiing (It’s spring somewhere, right? ;]) We had arranged with our child-care giver that we would be a little late on pick-up…seems like an easy fix?

    While I skied, I thought about being home and reading “Barnyard Dance” or “Inside Noah’s Ark”…I felt those familiar heart-strings tug. Then I realized that my time away (and with my husband) helped recharge my Mom-battery for a wonderful evening of snuggling and yes! “Barnyard Dance”.

    Thanks for the reminder that time away isn’t terrible! It’s healthy for us, our husbands and kids.

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