[One Year and Beyond] Mommy Guilt

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's not something people tell you about when you're pregnant.

It's not something they teach in those prepared childbirth classes.

It's not one of those things that gets easier with time. In fact I feel like it's gotten worse since Mason's gotten older and more aware.

Mommy guilt.

It's real. And I have it bad. I wish I had some profound advice on how to overcome or avoid it but I don't. This is me. This is real life. And I felt that it was important for me to write about it to 1. get it off my chest and 2. hope that someone could give me some advice or at least empathize with me.

Disclaimer : this post is not sugar coated. This post is real. This post is true life.

I'm a full time mom. I'm a full time wife, friend, sister, and daughter. I have a full time job. 
That's a lot!

I like my job. I'm good at my job. I don't feel guilty that I have to work. In the very beginning, actually, I did. I felt bad that I had to leave my not even 3 month old baby to go back to work. It felt unfair. I felt like I was going to miss so much. I wanted to be the first one to see all of his firsts.

That guilt passed quickly because this is our reality. I have to work. And to be honest, now, I don't feel bad. I know Mason is in good hands everyday. I know he is getting taken care of. I know he is having fun. 

Is it hard when on Monday mornings he cries and doesn't want me to leave? Yes. 
Is it heartbreaking and do I just want to stay all day and hug him? Yes. It sucks. 

But I calm him down or Luz distracts him and I leave. I have to. I know he will be ok and he often is even before I leave. He's just in weekend mode still and needs to transfer back to weekday mode. Then come Tuesday and the rest of the week, he's fine. Seth even says sometimes on Thursdays he can barely even convince Mason to come back to give him a hug and kiss before he leaves because he is so excited to see his friends and go play. I know he is happy.

The weekdays are not when I feel guilt.
It's the weekends that are killer. And sometimes even the Fridays that Seth has off.

Let's start with Friday. Seth works every other Friday and has the other Friday off. Mason only goes to daycare on the Fridays that Seth works (or for a couple hours if Seth has a dentist appointment or something). Almost all Fridays that Seth is off, he has Mason. And I feel guilty. It's crazy (believe me, I know) that I feel guilty. Seth is Mason's dad. He LOVES spending time with Mason. And I love that they get one on one daddy/son time. I do. But I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I am at work and I am "leaving Seth to take care of Mason alone". Seth by no means feels this way. No way, no how. He has never ever and would never ever say anything like this to me. This is all me. He doesn't think I am "abandoning" them and choosing to work. My job is just more conventional Monday-Friday than his is. To be honest, this has gotten better. But a couple months ago, when I would leave for work on Fridays, I would feel guilty, especially if Mason was being cranky or whiny. I felt guilty that I left him alone to deal with a cranky toddler. 

But the weekends are the worst. I find it so hard to find balance. I want to spend time with my family. I want to spend time with my friends. I want to do something for me. I need to clean the house. I need to do laundry. I need to go grocery shopping...and to Costco...and to Target...and to... 

There's only 48 hours in the weekend to do all of this AND I'd like to sleep sometime in there.
How do I find time to do everything? I don't. 

Most often, my home is neglected. Bathrooms need cleaning. Floors need wiping. Carpets need vacuuming. But I just don't. Now don't get me wrong, we don't live in filth. Please don't call CPS. It's clean, it's just not spotless every week. Most often it looks like this :

Receipts and Mother's Day cards out on the table.

DVDs on the ground and toys pushed to the corner.

Mother's Day bear, toys, Easter candy, wipes, cheetos, bubbles on the counter.

I'll be honest. I'd just rather spend time with my family than clean up. And it will get cleaned. But when I have a late shift and have time in the morning alone or if I have an early shift and have a few minutes in the afternoon alone. Or one Sunday I asked Seth to take Mason to Gymboree by himself so I could clean while they were gone. It's SO hard to clean with a toddler who just wants to be wherever you are and playing with whatever you're using! 
But my boy doesn't care how clean the counters are or if his toys are nice and neat. 
He wants to play with his mom.

But I do feel that is important to have "me" time as a mom as well (and that Seth should have "me" time as a Dad too). And that's where my guilt comes in. I know it's important, but I still feel guilty. I feel like I see my family so little during the week that I shouldn't want to go do something that doesn't involve them on the weekend. I feel like I should ask permission to go to lunch with my friend. Or go get a pedicure. Or go or do whatever alone. It's so awful. And again, this is ALL me. Seth always always says yes and never makes me feel guilty. But I just feel like I shouldn't be telling him "hey sorry, I'm gonna go do this, this or this. Enjoy yourselves boys! Good luck!". It's hard to explain. Hopefully some of you mama's can relate. I just feel like now that I have the time to be with my family, I should spend it all with them, not doing anything specific to me. 

So, to be honest, I barely do anything for me by myself. I do have the occasional friend lunch date though on the weekends. Like I said. Those are important. I think having friend time/mommy time helps me be a better mom. But I do still feel guilty going.

But, I don't do anything on the weekdays for myself by myself. My sister-in-law goes to cardio barre and I've been wanting to try. But it's at night on a weekday and I feel guilty not being at home at night. I don't go to the gym even though I should because I feel guilty about being gone after work on weekdays or on weekends which are family time. If I need to go shopping, we make it a family trip. Load up on snacks and Mason is good for a little while sitting in the cart. That is a good compromise for us.

I wish I had better advice (or advice at all). But instead, I have a question for you all to hopefully help me. How do you handle mommy guilt? Any advice is welcome and I can't wait to read the rest of the mama's posts in this series!


Linking up with Sara from Running from the LawAshley from Words About Waverly, Courtney from From Here to Eternity and the other lovely co-hostesses of the One Year and Beyond series.


  1. Even though I'm with Noah everyday I still have guilt going and doing things at night and on weekends. I think mommy guilt is unavoidable. I've read though that if you are worrying if you're a good mom means that you are a good mom :)

  2. Holy you hit this one right on the mark. I am in the exact same scenario (full-time working mama with an 18 monld old little boy). He loves daycare, and I love to work. But where I feel guilty is carving out that extra time as well. If I do take time for myself (which hubs totally encourages) I am constantly rushing home to be with my boys, even though I know Noah is loving his Dada time. Glad I am not the only one!!

    1. Totally! Girl you are not alone! I feel the exact same way as you. It is so hard to find balance. But what we have to know is that we are doing our best and that's what matters. When Mason comes running to me to give me a hug and kiss when I get home from work, I know I am doing something right :)

  3. You are totally speaking my language! I too, am a full-time working mom with an almost 18-month old, and I feel guilty a lot. I practically never do anything after work, because I just want to get home to my hubby and baby. The only 'me' time I really take is during naps or after she's asleep for the night. The few times I have gotten together with a friend after work, I feel like I'm missing out on family time, and rush home so I can have a few precious minutes together. Mommy guilt is pretty much unavoidable I think, but gosh does it suck sometimes!

  4. I couldn't agree with this post more! I'm a full-time working mom with a 22 month old little boy and I feel guilty constantly. Most of my friends are stay at home moms begging to get away from their kids for a few hours and I feel guilty going to the grocery store alone! It's such a tough balancing act. Thanks for posting this!

    1. Totally agree! I usually try to take Mason with me to the grocery store (unless he's napping) even though 0.2 min in to the trip, I am regretting it. It is way more of a hassle but at least I get to spend some time with him while doing what I need to do still. It's a hard, hard balance that I haven't figured out yet. Most of my friends don't have kids so they have all the time in the world and I want to hang out with them too but then comes the mommy guilt...

  5. I wish I could give you some advice! I never want to do anything just me, and barely want to do anything just me and Chris. I just don't like leaving Aria, I always feel that I can do it better and that I want to be the one doing it (taking care of her, etc). And, I'm probably that way because I stay at home...I never had to overcome that hill to being cool with somebody else watching her.
    What about a once a month standing appointment for a mani pedi? With an add on friend date? Would it make you feel less guilty if it was on the books?
    And, Chris and I do movie dates after Aria goes to bed occasionally. We ask my grandma to watch the monitor for us and that way it isn't on 'Aria-time' so we don't feel guilty at all. Is that a possibility? We live in an extended household so that is just built right in, and I know you fall asleep on the couch early =)
    My advice sucks! But, it is hard to balance it all. I think it is good to remember that you can't be the best mommy if you aren't also taking care of yourself and your marriage.

  6. I totally understand how you never do anything just for yourself! I've kind of resigned myself to that for this period of my life- I've convinced myself that working full time and having a young child are uniquely time consuming and worth while. Also it won't last forever! Before we know it, they'll be in school and time won't seems on such short supply.

    And you're so right- no one tells you about mommy guilt before hand!

  7. What a great series, and OH CAN I EMPATHIZE!!! The fact that you care and are aware makes you such an amazing momma!! But just like YOU said, you need that occasional me-time to be the best you, and that's ok. We all do!! I wish there was an answer to eliminate the guilt, but until then we just have to practice being confident, in yourself and that you're doing the best for you and your family (cause you are)!! :)

  8. AMEN. You took the words right out of my mouth. Yes, to everything you said. I feel SO guilty taking ANY time for myself when I could/should be spending it with Mac. Even though I know it's good for him to be with his dad and good for me to have a life, it's so hard to justify! He's only this little for a little while. Missing even a minute of it hurts. I'm really hoping it gets a little better as the kids get older or I'm going to lose it! :) Hahahaha. No, I really am.

  9. Oh momma... you have so much on your plate but it seems like you handle it all so effortlessly! You're the BEST mom!!
    That being said, I can relate to some of this. I have felt guilty for leaving Eric and Mia alone but you know what? Not anymore! Mia loves her time with her daddy so much!! I'm not going to take away from that by feeling guilty and rushing back just so that I'm not leaving them alone, you know? It's taken me awhile to get to this point... actually I think I've only just come to this point now that we are done nursing. That's freed up a lot of what I used to stress about!
    I feel like I shouldn't want/need "me" time but sometimes Mia even wants to be left alone! I think it's just human nature to need our space and it's okay to take advantage of the moments we get... without feeling guilt.
    It's all so much easier said than done but just remember that you are doing an AMAZING job being a mom and wife!!

  10. Did you sneak into my house and take pictures or something?! Oh girl, that's exactly what my house is like. They won't know the difference, right?!
    Don't ever feel guilty about taking 'me' time, you need that time to reset and refresh for sweet little Mason!!

  11. The paragraph about feeling guilty leaving him with his dad is SO me! I never feel guilty leaving Reed with my mom, but I feel so bad leaving him at home with Jeff and going somewhere on the weekend. I have no idea why because he's never once made me feel bad about it, but I do. Why do we think like that??

  12. I got a pedicure on Mother's Day weekend and... I'm pretty sure that is the only real alone time I've had in the past year. ha! It's so hard to juggle everything. I work full time, too, so know the feeling of not wanting to waste weekend time on chores when I could be hanging with my boy(s). His Dad is still a little nervous about being alone with him for very long (not sure why, he is a great Dad! I guess just the fear of the unexpected??) but I am hoping that gets better as he gets older. :-) I do miss happy hour and pedicures sometimes, too.


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