Mom guilt. We all have it or have experienced it at some point. I just recently experienced this mom guilt when I was heading back to work after the birth of my second child. I was chatting with another mom who was pregnant with her second child when I asked what she did for work. She replied “I’m a stay at home mommy.” I exclaimed “oh, that’s so wonderful” and looked down letting the guilt wash over me. Here I was about to head back to work, leaving my 3 month old daughter behind as well as my 6 year old son who had just gotten out of school for the summer and I was excited about it. I was excited to go back to my job as a nurse because my work full filled me and challenged me and being a stay at home was just not for me. In fact, I wrote any entire post on 5 Reasons I Could Never be a SAHM.
This experience got me thinking about the times that I have experienced an overwhelming sense of mom guilt and as though I was the worst mom in the world. There are times I feel as though I am having a detrimental adverse effect on my children’s lives. As moms we will always feel some form of mom guilt one way or another. I wanted to share some of the few ways I have experienced mom guilt in hopes that other moms will realize that they are not alone in their feelings and we should start embracing that as moms its okay to be perfectly imperfect.
The time I had to have a C-section
As a first time mom I had an image of what my childbirth would be. That I would have an easy, beautiful medication free birth with my partner by my side rubbing my back and supporting me through each and every contraction. Reality set in when I was having excruciating contractions, begging for an epidural and staring at my “supportive” partner while he played on his phone. When Hayden’s heart rate dropped and the decision to proceed with an emergency c-section was made I felt like a failure both as a woman and as a new mom. My mom thankfully was there to not only support me through my c-section but to remind me that I was not a failure. In retrospect, this was a ridiculous way to feel but it was my first brush with mom guilt.
The time I went to nursing school
Right after I delivered my son I found out I was accepted into a nursing program. At this time in the State of Maine, nursing schools had wait lists that were a year or more for admission and I had already spent 2 years waiting to get to the top of the list. I, on a whim, applied to this highly competitive two year night program and was accepted. This meant that I went back to being a full-time student on top of working full-time and raising a 4 month old. I felt terrible leaving my son at night and on weekends to pursue my dream of nursing. Not to mention that my partner at the time was not supportive and spent every opportunity telling me how my pursuit of my dream career was taking time away from Hayden.
The time my son fell off the bed
Somehow I managed to survive the first 9 months of my child’s life without him getting injured. Until one day it was just me and him playing on a bed and he crawled too close to the edge and flipped off the bed landing on the floor with a sickening, to me anyways, thud. He immediately began screaming and my heart just about stopped. I scooped him up, tears streaming down his face as well as mine and just held him. What kind of mother lets her 9 month old child get so close to the edge of the bed that be back flips off of it? I felt like a monster and the mom guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. He was fine ultimately and as I quickly learned children, especially ones learning to crawl, walk, ride a bike are accident prone and there would be way more mishaps like this to come.
The first time the daycare provider informed me my son had bit another child
I don’t know about you but my child was the sweetest, nicest, happiest toddler there ever was. He would never, ever hurt one of his classmates at daycare. So imagine my surprise one sunny spring day that I went to pick up Hayden when he was about 1 1/2 years old from daycare that the owner pulled me into her office and told me the horror of all horrors; my child had bit another child. I felt terrible and wondered why my sweet, happy little boy was going around biting other kids. Come to find out that after researching this behavior (which I thought was surely a gateway to being a sociopath) it is a normal reaction for toddlers to bite or hit when they feel frustrated or their personal space is being invaded. This doesn’t mean that I hoped it would be a regular occurrence but I felt relieved that it was not the beginning of a serial killer.
When my son’s father and I split up
Nothing is harder and causes more mom guilt then feeling like you are tearing your family apart. I felt guilty for having my son now be from a split household and was continuously reminded of that guilt by my ex-husband. I felt extreme guilt that I was choosing my happiness over my son having two parents who were together. Lastly I felt guilty for waiting so long to do it. My son didn’t deserve to watch his parents continue a toxic, unhappy relationship that was ruled by mental and emotional abuse. My son now has to struggle with going back and forth between two completely separate households. To this day, this is one form of mom guilt I can’t let go of.
When I started dating again
There is a tremendous amount of guilt that goes into dating again when you have a child. Am taking too much time away from my child? Am I dating the wrong person that isn’t going to go anywhere? When do I introduce my son to him? What happens if after introducing my son to this man, we split up? All these questions run through your mind when you are jumping into the dating scene with a child. Thankfully I wasn’t in it for too long before Aaron and then there was no question on if I was doing the right thing or not.
When I became pregnant with Avery
Hayden went 6 years as an only child. He had both my and his dad’s attention solely on him for that long and now I was going to introduce another sibling into his life. How would he feel? Would this new baby upset Hayden or cause issues with him? You feel guilty throwing another baby into the mix and how the focus would change from one child to another because babies take up all your attention for a while. This mom guilt while valid was unfounded when Hayden found out he was going to be a big brother. He was so excited and he loves his little sister so much more then I could have ever imagined.
I hate that as moms we feel this way. I hate that society makes us feel terrible if we aren’t the perfect parent. Well I am here to say that it’s okay to not be perfect. Despite not being the perfect mom (because let’s face it: who is?) my children will always know how much I love them. So next time you feel “mom guilt” just remember it’s okay to feel this way and you are not alone and then let that shit go.
You are so right. We all have mom guilt in one form or another. I’m a stay at home mom and my guilt is am I depriving my children of interaction becaise I want to raise them and not a day care. I know what I am doing is right for my family and what others do is right flr theirs. Thank you for sharing.
I loved this. We feel mom guilt for so much and then the negative toxic people make it a million times worse. You know that saying, “No one is harder on yourself but you” ? Well I think it’s doubled when you’re a mom. Loved this and it made me feel so much better about the mom guilt I carry. Thanks girl for sharing! <3
Agree! We all feel mom guilt about something. It is part of the job. Important thing is that we love our kiddos and are trying to do the best we can and make the best deicisions for our family. Cheers to you mama!
Awww. Thanks for your honest sharing here. You strike a chord with something every mom experiences, but it isn’t always “kosher” to say in broad mom circles. I feel guilty occasionally as I work on blogging. I just keep reminding myself…be strong, be free, be present, be love. <3
Your children are beautiful!! Mom guilt is crazy — there is truly nothing like it. I’m sorry to hear about your divorce and the pain you must feel from that. Please don’t ever feel guilty from getting yourself out of a bad situation!! Your children will be better for it in the future.
My biggest guilt as a mom is the breastfeeding. I had preemie twins (one named Hayden!) and from day one we had to feed her formula. The questions and comments from people is what made me feel guilty, up until then I accepted it as what we needed to do for her to be healthy. I write a blog post once a month with all my new reasons for mom guilt, lol.
I can totally understand mom guilt. A split household is something we might be struggling with soon too, you’re such a great mama !
I love that you wrote about this! I think this is so true and so honest!
I how dreamt to be a mom someday, so every time I read a post or an article about their experiences of being a mom. This truly inspires me.
Janine Ella says
I guess all of us moms have our own “mom guilt” experiences. I work full time and that itself kind of makes me a bit guilty because I want to do things for my son that I can’t do while working. I want to bring him to his school and fetch him when his class ends, things like that. Also, when we have team outings that I could not bring him, it makes me guilty too since these outings are spent during the weekends and that’s supposed to be spent with him. But yeah, I agree with you, it’s okay to feel guilty and then just let it go. 🙂
Moms do soooo much, and it’s kind of sad to hear that moms have to experience guilt as well. Don’t wanna start an entire feminism-rant here right now, but you know… Why do we (as in women, not only mothers) always have to feel guilty about different things?
That been said, it’s perfectly normal to feel these feelings and I’m glad you’re so aware of them and also know that even though you sometimes feel guilty you don’t have too (most of the times) in retrospect. Don’t know If this is making any sense? Just got so involved and engaged.
PS. Glad your kid isn’t a serial killer 😉
Love your blog! thanks for the great post!!
Mom guilt stinks. There’s always something to feel guilty about. Just when you think you’re doing great, another mom (or article on Facebook) does/says something that makes you feel like you’re not enough.
Well, as you know, no one is perfect. So long as you are trying your best to be the best mom you can be, you’re already doing an awesome job. Keep it up!
I think in some way or another we all have experienced Mom guilt… but I agree although it’s ok to feel this way sometimes it’s ok to just let it go too and focus on the happy 🙂
No matter how much you try, how much you give up or how much time & effort you put in, there will be occasions making us feel as if we’re not doing enough as a mom. The thing that can carry us through is keeping focus on the fact that we’re doing our best and no one is a perfect parent.
Enjoy your children, and I’m sure you are doing great. No one is perfect.
Elizabeth O says
Mom guilt is so real, I think there isn’t a mom out there that hasn’t experienced it at some point in their life! You are doing a fab job Mama!
GiGi Eats says
I am pregnant right now, due in December. I wonder if I will feel mom guilt when this little dude comes. I never thought I would ever be a mom or anything so I have zero expectations about what’s to come. It will be interesting to learn about the new me when he arrives.
Such a good read! I am not a mom yet. but all of these seemed like relatable situations and I’m sure other moms feel the same guilt a lot of times.
Maartje van Sandwijk says
This is a great topic that more people should be talking about. Society really does make people feel guilty for the silliest things…
Lovely post! I do not have children yet but many of my friends have gone through mommy guilt. Your kids will read this one day an appreciate you even more. Thanks for sharing this.
evelyn hernandez says
Mom’s always have it so hard. We need to learn how to live a guilt free life. Mom’s need to learn how to nurture themselves and give themselves more credit for all that they do.
The what to expect books and parenting books paint a wonderful picture for us and raise our expectations to a rainbow covered life. It’s all crap. It’s hard, first off kids can’t read so they don’t do anything at any of the right times like they say in the books. Raising kids is hard on your marriage and your sanity. We all make mistakes, we fix it and move on until the next one. With any luck we are all together and live at the next birthday party.
You will always have guilt, you are a Mom, it’s in the job description. Our kids are 16 and 20. We are at the stage where we are trying to find more time for ourselves. My wife feels guilty every time we try to do something on our own. Half the time we end up changing plans to include them.
You are doing it right.
Thank you so much for being open with us, I feel like it can be hard for moms to express this kind of thing xx
Dana Brillante-Peller says
Oh, I remember the first fall our firstborn had. It was terrifying. You really do end up beating yourself up for it, too.
I can totally relate to this. Mom guilt is real and we cannot avoid that. This is a must read. Will share this to my moms friend 🙂
I love your honesty in this post – but you should give yourself more credit because being a mom is one of the toughest jobs in the world.
Stuart Brazell says
I’m right there with you girl, my baby is only three months and I’m already experiencing it!
Man-when it’s listed out like that-we realize all the things we go through as moms-it’s A LOT! But we got this.
I hate Mom guilt! We all have to do what is best for ourselves and our families. While I don’t enjoy working outside of the home, I can appreciate that there are some women who enjoy their job and enjoy going to work everyday. I’ve been blessed to be able to work from home.