As I’m writing this post and my three little ones are eating a snack while watching Thomas, it creeps in.
It’s the yucky feeling you get in your gut when you know you should be playing, reading, snuggling, or talking to your kids, but you have to get something done. The feeling you get when you wonder if you’re doing a good enough job raising your kids. The emotion that runs through you when your kids are acting out which makes you question what you are doing wrong to have them behave like that.
The time element gets me the most. Whether it be running to the washing machine to put the clothes in the dryer, emptying and reloading the dishwasher, or even standing against the kitchen counter eating my breakfast, I always feel guilty. I should be spending more time with my children.
Of course you can’t be with your kids ALL the time or constantly entertain them, but the guilt is still there.
It’s been especially bad for me this week.
As you read yesterday, we got a new babysitter for the summer. She’s only going to be here a couple of days a week to help while I drop/pick-up my oldest from school, to let me run a few errands alone, to let me work at home, and to help during activities (swim lessons, tumbling,) but it makes me feel extremely guilty. Especially when they are crying when I leave.
Like, “Why can’t I do my job as a mom by myself?” guilt. Or the, “Am I spending enough time with my kids?” guilt. And the big one, “What if they start to like the babysitter more than me cause she plays with them more?” guilt.
The rational side of my brain knows this is silly, but guilt has a funny way of making you question everything.
So, what am I going to do about it?
I’m going to try to manage my time better. When I have the babysitter here, I’m going to try to get as much of “my” stuff done as I can. I’m going to try to run my errands, do some writing, fold some laundry, or maybe even get some exercise. That way, I when I spend time with my kids, I can focus on them, instead of thinking of the other mountain of things I have to do. Quality of time over quantity of time is going to be my new motto. Or mantra. Or something like that.
I’m also going to try and not be so hard on myself. Sometimes kids act out. Sometimes they need to play by themselves. Sometimes I need to take an extra 10 minutes in the basement with the laundry just so I don’t go insane.
What makes you feel the most guilt? How do you deal with it?
Lindsey Smallwood says
Totally get this! I feel it a lot when I put the boys in their cribs so I can take a shower or let them watch Seasame Street so I can write. It’s hard to not be “present” to them all the time. But you’re right, that’s just part of it and it’s important to focus on the good stuff!
Thank you Lindsey! I’m glad I’m not the only one. Thanks for reading!
We have an only child so I can definitely feel guilty when she does so much on her own. But then I think back on my growing up years and I remember doing a ton of things on my own too. My mom was always around but I don’t have that many memories of her actually sitting down to play dolls or whatever. And I had brothers, so they weren’t interested in a lot of my toys. Thinking about this rationally really helps me. Enjoy your time away when there’s a babysitter. I don’t have that and it sounds luxurious to me 🙂
That is so true…I remember playing a lot by myself too. Thanks for giving me perspective, and thanks for reading!
I think we all experience this from time to time! I’m pretty lucky my son likes to play independently by himself a lot, but then I feel bad that I’m not playing with him enough. I know the mommy guilt will only get worse when the next one comes… or maybe not? haha We’ll see!
I think you are one smart woman to get a sitter during the week and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. BUT I know how the guilt thing goes, it just keeps creeping in here and there. I felt it myself too just this morning as I finished a blog post while they were eating breakfast. Oh well, we are all just doing our best and momma breaks will keep us sane and better mommas! Good for you!
Thank you! You totally get it!
Tarynn Playle says
I feel the mommy guilt all the time! I usually let my kids watch a movie in the morning so I can get some blogging stuff done. But even though I’m right there with them, I feel guilty because I know they would much rather I be watching with them.
I’m doing the same thing right now! Ugh! Thanks for commiserating with me. 🙂
I feel that Mommy guilt a lot. The worst is when I check email when they’re around, which I know I shouldn’t do, but sometimes clients email me in the afternoon and I feel like I have to respond. And then I feel so guilty! It’s hard balancing everything 🙁
Bree Talks says
I’ve been thinking/talking about this a lot lately with other mommy friends. It’s so hard to do everything that we feel needs to get done, maintain all of our relationships well and take care of ourselves. But change has to start somewhere and time management is a great place to start.
Heather Serra says
Shann, I can tell by reading this that you are a very loving mother. Your babies are so fortunate to have you. You really hit an important point in this post; It’s quality over quantity.
Thank you so much Heather!
Ughhh mommy guilt really is the worst! It’s something we all have to learn to deal with though!
I struggle with feeling like I don’t give my children enough one on one time. It’s super hard now that we have an infant in the house. But even before that, by the time I have fed them and clothed them and picked up after them and shuttled them around…the last thing that I want to do sometimes is to sit and play ponies with my daughter. I struggle with sitting and engaging them. I’ll read them a story. I’ll teach them anything that they want to know. I’ll snuggle them. But when the want me to just sit and play, I struggle. I try not to let it get the better of me. And it’s something that I am working on.
But it’s amazing, all of the things that we do for our little ones, but when we can’t do the one thing or we feel like we are “falling behind” in ONE area, we beat ourselves up. I am sure that you are a great momma. Your kids are lucky to have you. I hope that we can both work towards resting in that instead of beating ourselves up!
Have a great weekend
Thank you so much Ashley! I hope so too!
Katie @ Doing Dewey says
Although I don’t have children, this reminds me of the ‘grad school guilt’ I and many other grad students feel. Something I think grad school probably has in common with parenting is that there will always be more that you could be doing. Theoretically, I could work on my thesis project 24/7 and the same is true of parenting. But in reality, that’s just not possible while remaining sane! Like all the grad students I know who feel this way and are truly doing a wonderful job, I’m sure you’re being a wonderful mom.
Awe. Thank you!
Rebekah @ Surviving Toddlerhood says
Ahh mommy guilt. It can be hard to deal with. But I know that I need time for myself to be the best that I can. To be able to play with my boys and to keep my cool, I need breaks from them.
The worst case I’ve had snuck up on me a couple of weeks ago. I work as a birth and postpartum doula and at one of my postpartum visits the mom wanted me to play with her older son. That was eye opening because I realized that I haven’t been playing with my own boys lately. I’ve been doing the mothering and cleaning, but not the playing part. Definitely need to work on that again.
Yes! Me too! I get so caught up in the running around and breaking up fights, I forget to sit down and really play too.
I have mommy guilt all the time! Especially being a working mom!