Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The one about feeling guilty

I read a lot of blogs.  Some of them are funny.  Some of them are crafty.  Some of them are about motherhood.  But yesterday I read three different blogs that all talked about or mentioned feeling guilty as a mother.  And it got me thinking about the guilt I feel as a mother.  I think that if you can be 100% confident in your mothering choices and lifestyle, then super.  Good for you.  You probably won't relate to this blog at all.  But, unfortunately I think that a lot of us moms don't fit into that category.  

I'm a stay at home mom and I feel guilty about that every day.  I definitely feel like I have a "job" every day, and it's the hardest job I've ever had.  But I feel guilty for not contributing, financially, to our family.  Yes, in my head I know that staying home with the boys is a contribution, in that we don't have to pay for day care.  And I know I "help financially" by saving us money where ever we can.  But all that isn't the same as cold hard cash.  And I often feel like if we had more of that "cold hard cash" our lives could be easier.  

But then when I think, for even a minute, about going back to work, I am immediately greeted with a feeling of guilt for not being there with our boys when they are so little.  Knowing that I have the rest of my life to work, and I would be putting them in daycare just because I want a little extra spending money and time away doesn't sit well with me either.  We are scraping by, with me staying at home, so I feel like putting them in day care would make me feel a little selfish.  (Because I really would be doing it for selfish reasons.  So I could buy more "stuff" and to get away from being a butt-wiper for several hours a day.)  I know many moms don't have a choice, so I'm certainly not assuming that all working moms work for selfish reasons.  That would just be the case in our house. 

But the guilt doesn't stop with staying home versus working.  I feel guilty when the house is messy, because it's my job to keep it clean.  But then if I spend a lot of time cleaning, I feel guilty for not spending that time engaging with the boys.  I feel guilty for putting the boys in the gym day care, exposing them to all kinds of germs, which have continually gotten them both sick.  But then if I don't go to the gym, I get run down and crabby and I'm not as good of a mom.  I feel guilty for letting Jackson watch tv, or eat junk food, or stay up too late.  And then I feel guilty for feeling guilty, when I really should just find a perfect balance in life.  I think you get the point.  

I feel like the operative word here is balance.  I definitely need to work on balancing my life a little better and being content with the way our life is.  

Do you think that men feel the same way?  Feeling guilty, if they work, that they don't get to spend as much time with their family as they would like?  Or do you think that this guilt is something just ingrained in us lucky women?  Do you think it has to do with the media, making us feel like men have to be the bread winners and women have to take perfect care of the home, the kids and her husband?  And if she does work, she has to love her job, and want to go to work every day?  

What are your thoughts on this?


  1. I think men probably do feel a little guilty too, but I'm sure that women feel it more. When I was on maternity leave, I felt guilty if I didn't have the house cleaned and dinner ready every evening when Dave came home (even though he NEVER made me feel like I had to). So, even though I'm back at work now, I understand where you're coming from. For me, the guilt was much stronger when I was at home. And I think that's because most men (and people in general, for that matter) don't realize how hard it is to stay home with your kid(s).

  2. @ Jenn, I know my husband feels guilty at times for not being home more. It's hard to say how that compares to my feelings. It seems like you and Dave have a great balance in your lives. That's awesome.

  3. parenting changes your perspective on life, hands down. For Brandon and I, that means work becomes something we have to do to pay or bills and provide for our family, but it is not the priority. Being home and living in the moment with Spencer is the priority. Unfortunately, that sometimes hard to do when you come home from a long day of boring work, feel crappy, etc. Ah, if we could all just work three days a week we might find a real balance, eh?