Mommy Guilt: Save The Guilt For Late-Night Ice Cream and Pizza

When I’m at work, I feel guilty for not spending more time with my kid. When I’m with my kid, I feel bad for not doing more for work. Either way, I feel guilty.

It’s like that for moms. We feed bad, we feel guilty, we feel responsible when things don’t work out “right.” And who can blame us? Guilt trips are given by many: from our friends, grandparents, spouses, colleagues, doctors, the list goes on and on. And it starts early, are you getting an epidural? Circumcision or no? Will you let your baby cry herself to sleep? Breast or bottle? Using Time Outs? It’s enough to make your head spin.

Why should we moms add to the list? Also, do dad’s feel the same way? I know Hubby regrets not spending more time with Logan, especially since he logs 60 to 70 hours a week, but I don’t think he mentally flogs himself like I’m prone to doing.

In my sensible mind, I know Logan’s fine at daycare and loves it and I know that at work I’m busting my ass. But in my heart, well it’s not as reasonable as my mind, and that’s where the guilt comes in.

So I try to lean on my brain power to help figure out a better balance.

  • Hire help. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. If you can afford it, get help. We have a cheap cleaning lady come to do the heavy duty cleaning. That way we’re spending our weekends doing fun stuff as a family instead of scrubbing toilets. There’s other help that’s out there, hiring someone to drive your kid to and from daycare can eliminate your daycare commute, freeing up more of your time.
  • Be creative with your work schedule. If your employer allows, see what you can do with your schedule to make it work for your family. My bosses let me come in early and leave in the late afternoon and I often take lunch at my desk, which for some is inadvisable, but it helps me plow through my To Do list. One friend of mine works an extra hour Monday through Thursday so that she can have a short work day on Friday, allowing her to spend extra time with her daughter then.
  • Change. If the guilt is too overwhelming and the flexibility is not there, look to change your situation. Easier said than done, especially in this economy, but still it’s worth a try. In the end you gotta be honest with yourself and ask, is it worth it?

9 responses to “Mommy Guilt: Save The Guilt For Late-Night Ice Cream and Pizza

  1. I’m a stay-at-home mom and I’ve seriously been thinking about trying to find a part-time housekeeper. Just for the kitchen and downstairs bathroom every two weeks or once a month. I’m just too lazy to do it. I’d rather be spending time with my daughter. But everyone once in awhile the sticky floors are just too gross! Someone needs to clean them (not me please).
    I usually end up regretting late night pizza…but ice cream I’d never feel guilty over. Unless maybe I’d knocked down a small child and stolen their ice cream, then I might feel a teensy bit of guilt (but only a teensy bit).

    • A friend of mine is a SAHM and she has a maid and makes no bones about it. She’s got her plate full with other parts of running her household. And I know what you mean, the cleaning people scrub things with a heartiness and you don’t want to touch them even with your rubber gloves.

  2. Oh yeah. Moms have to learn to let stuff go. If you don’t you will be overstressed and anxious all the time and that isn’t good either.

  3. Great post. After four years, I told Jason I finally got my (*Gasp* I’ll say it) MRS. degree. At least, I am finally comfortable enough with my methods of getting by that I don’t panic and second-guess myself when someone else questions my child-rearing strategies and tactics. What I do isn’t right for everyone, but it’s right for our family. And I absolutely muzzle myself if I feel the need to tell a first-time parent ANYTHING except, “You’re doing a fine job and don’t let anyone tell you different.”

  4. It’s like that for dads too. We made a choice to pinch pennies and have my wife stay home with our 1-year-old. So I feel bad for working while she’s home tending to everything (because I know it’s hard), then bad when I leave after eight hours at work because that’s “early” for me.

  5. My advice is: never feel guilty about not doing enough for work. You work to live, not live to work and it’s great that one likes what you do, but don’t let it take over your family life. You’re family is everything!

  6. It’s perpetual. Hey, at least there’ll always be ice cream. 😛

  7. Thank you, thank you for publicly saying you’ve hired someone to clean. We hired someone for the house in Wisconsin a couple months ago, but I have been feeling so guilty, like if I was a better, stronger and more organized person who requries less sleep, then I would be able to do it myself. And part of the guilt is because the people I’ve told have said, “Couldn’t you clean it yourself if you cut back on (fill in the blank here with whatever they think I should cut back on)?” And my answer is no. Life is short, so shouldn’t we try to fill our time with the important things?

  8. I have so much to say about this I could almost write post of my own (well, actually I have) but anyway, you are right on about so many things, especially having help. I have been back to work for a year about being unemployed for a year, and we got behind on finances. My hubby is putting in some serious hours and we have not yet brought back our gardener or house cleaner, and its a serious drag how much time we are spending doing house and yard work on the weekend that we could be spending together as a family. Can’t wait til we are caught up and can get back to normal!

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