Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Think About: Mom Guilt {gulp}

Prepare for a good laugh.

When I decided to stop working to stay at home with my children, I actually thought that I would, ahem, stay at home and the house would be clean and I'd craft all the time and read.


Turns out that "stay at home" doesn't actually translate into "tons of free time to read the books in your book stack while blogging and creating inventive dates and craft ideas."  In fact, "stay at home" is actually defined as: madness created by cleaning, gardening, errand running, nose wiping, diaper changing, oatmeal cleaning up, laundry folding, freezer meal making, play group planning, life group leading, should kids get vaccines or not? agonizing, and "I think that mom just judged me" musings.

I'm not saying women who work outside of the home aren't working hard.  What I'm saying is that I work twice as hard as a stay-at-home-mom than I did when I was teaching (I blame my Type-A personality).  I mean this job is 24 hours a day.  It's exhausting.  And I swear that dust bunnies and smudged stainless steel appliances never bothered me when I worked outside the home but if I have to look at it all day, there's gonna be problems.  But what's more overwhelming than trying to keep the house tidy after chasing a tornado two-year old through the house is the guilt I feel when I don't want to chase said two year old.  Or push him in the swing.  Or share the last cookie.

Confession time:

  • Sometimes, I just want a break from my kids.  And I feel guilty for it.
  • Sometimes, I just want to read a book (alone) and not play.  And I feel guilty for it.
  • Sometimes, I just want to get my chores done during the day so I'm not folding laundry until 11:00 pm.  And I feel guilty for it.
Mom guilt: the scourge of moms everywhere.  

Do you ever have moments like this?  Guests are coming for dinner.  You are busy juggling the flight of the bumble bee clean up while tossing a Caesar Salad, baking homemade rolls, and trying to explain to your mother-in-love (again) that it is possible to type into the address bar of the internet browser.  Suddenly your five year old appears and pleads with big brown eyes, "read to me, mommy."  

My dilemma--Guests are coming.  I committed to entertaining.  I want to help my mother-in-love.  I value education and that little girl is only little for so long so .... what do you do?  What do you do?  Well I get off the phone, finish dinner, and promise to read at bed time.  But the guilt.  Ohhhh the guilt!

Is it necessary, this guilt?  Once I was sharing this with my friend and she told me that guilt is of Satan; conviction is from the Lord.  Why would I feel guilty?  My child is fed.  She is healthy and happy.  Having to post-pone play time or reading time for an hour surely won't cause her the sort of psychological harm that will have her naming lint balls.  Why then, do I feel guilty?

I don't know why.  I just know that I do.  And this mom guilt, it sucks such joy out of life.  I hate feeling compelled to do things or worse, feeling ashamed when I don't do them. When I feel like someone would do it better.

I know there is no answer for this but what I think about mom guilt is it SUCKS!

How do you handle mom guilt?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Buellar? 

Thanks to Shell at Things I Can't Say for hosting my random Wednesday rants!


  1. Oh my goodness! I was laughing...A LOT! I am another type A personality who stopped working in April to be a SAHM to my 9 & 7 Yr old girls. I am exhausted!!! I seriously don't know how I managed to cover everything when I was working. I feel like I can't keep up now. I think I have taken my need to overachieve and placed it on my calendar and filled it with way too many "yes" replies. The guilt comes hard and fast but is all guilt I place on myself. If you ask the girls and my husband, they are thrilled to have me home, more involved and way less stressed! Don't be so hard on're doing a good thing. And btw, if you didn't need a break from your children, I would be extremely impressed and maybe thing that you were lying ;-)

  2. I can't get over the mom guilt. I never feel like I'm doing enough.

  3. What a timely post. Today is my last day as a SAHM. The guilt is CRUSHING.

    The other day, I said yes to a favor from a friend. When she saw the hardship it would place on me, she rescinded her request and asked me why I ever agreed in the first place. I told her the stress of doing it would have been less than the guilt of saying no. Oh the stupid things we do as moms...

  4. I wholeheartedly agree that it's twice as hard to be a SAHM as is it to work outside the home. I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that the smudges aren't quite so bothersome...until you see them! How do I deal with it? Erm...not so well. It's a work in progress!

  5. Oh yeah, I can relate to this. All of it - right down to horribleness I feel when I no longer want to chase/play with/read to/otherwise entertain my 2-year-old.

    I'm realizing that I can't do it all and that I DO need to take time out for just me. And as a result, I'm trying to let go of the guilt. It's not always easy, but I'm trying.

  6. I can so relate to this.

    You have a wise friend. I'm guessing I know who told you this because she told me very similar words when I was struggling with so much guilt during my long-stay on bedrest!

    Always love your take on things. Thanks!


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