That Mommy Guilt Thing


Before I became a Mom I hardly felt guilty about anything.

I used my time as I liked.  Sleeping half of it away and spending the rest of it with Seth doing what we loved to do.  Going out wasn’t so much a special occasion as it was just what we did – a day in was far more notable as it hardly ever happened.

And in spite of that freedom I was DESPERATE for children.

Fast forward 5 years.  Yes five years.  And here we are in the thick of it.

Being a Mom is a term that I easily use to define myself now. Woman, Christian, wife, business partner, sister, daughter, animal lover, moth hater and so many other “defining” things are often forgotten because I feel like “being a Mom” is my primary focus.  (Let’s just say that I am aware that my priorities are slightly skewed but that’s for another post).

Basically spending time with my kids and husband is of huge importance in my life.  It’s my love language I think.  Spending (quality) time with me shows me that you love me.  So because that’s how I feel loved, I assume everyone is the same.

Does that make sense?  Probably not.

But indulge me a little will you.

So because I feel like I need to give my family (all) of my time in order for them to feel suitably loved by me, I start feeling incredibly guilty when I am away from them.

For example.  I work till 2ish every day so that I can be with them every afternoon and last week (on a day that we usually stay at my in laws for supper – so we’re there anyway for the afternoon) I was invited to a High Tea and only got home at 6pm (thanks to traffic that I totally forgot happens when I’m not usually in it).  Anyway, although I THOROUGHLY enjoyed my afternoon indulging and chatting, I couldn’t shake the little voice inside that was calling me to go home.

I’m not saying that it’s right to justify this guilt thing, but I feel like that’s where I am supposed to be.

Also, I know that we need to make sure that as Moms we have “me time” in order to function – same goes for your relationship needing alone time together, like date nights.  It’s important.

Where am I going with all of this?  Well, I feel that this little internet space is moving faster than I can keep up with it.  I’m not going to lie, every time I get a little email in my inbox my tummy jumps with excitement.  Add in the fact that I have serious FOMO condition and know that saying “NO!” is hard for me.  Being invited to things (blog related or even just regular social occasions) simultaneously leaves me feeling incredible excited but incredibly guilty.

This may all be bubbling to the surface this week because in the next two weeks Seth and I will be going away for a night and then also going to the opening of the Galileo Theatre which just happens to start at 6.  So twice in one week I am leaving them when I shouldn’t be.  Do I sound crazy?  I feel like I do.  It’s just two days.  Both a good distance from the other and with lots of other things that we will be doing together as a family to sandwich it in.

Flipping Mommy Guilt.

Do you ever struggle with this?  Is leaving your kids easier for you?  Am I just bonkers?

21 thoughts on “That Mommy Guilt Thing

  1. Yes, all the time!!! Even leaving my son at home with my husband leads me on a guilt trip. I have no doubt that he’s quite capable but I just feel bad not being there. And if we have a night out without Ethan, I feel like I have to give him 150% attention for the next few days to make up for it. Heaven only knows how you cope with 3kids! But I totally get you on this one 🙂

  2. Yes!! Mommy guilt is the hardest part of being a parent cause no matter what you do it never goes away. I hardly ever do anything without Ben cause I’m too scared to ask anyone to babysit Ben cause what if they think I dont love and appreciate him enough thats why I’m not spending all the time with him. Even when I’m spending time with him I’m still worried ‘Am I doing it right?’ Should we be doing educational stuff instead of kicking the ball etc. I wish we could all just learn to chill and forget about the guilt *sigh* So hard.

  3. As with every post you write, I feel enormous relief that even a supermom like you feels this way. I know I’m a little extreme with the hardly ever leaving Charly (5 times in almost 9 months); but I feel so much less crazy when I see experienced moms like you (& Jodie & Liezel) also feel swamped by this icky mom guilt. I also find it encouraging that you still occasionally do it because it gives me hope that I will be able to overcome the guilt and get put there one day too. Many hugs xoxo

  4. Jip. I know exactly what you’re saying! And I miss them. I sometimes just want hubby to take Cara for the day so that I can be alone at home, just to do nothing. When it happens (once in a blue moon), I have a fabulous time, for about an hour. Then I start pacing up and down waiting for them to come home. Ha-ha!

  5. I used to feel guilt all the time. The first BIG trip I took away from my son was when he was 3 and I had to go to England for 10 days. He didn’t talk much, so he just cried and assaulted me when I returned. Next year, I plan to go back to school and my youngest will be 2. But what gets me through it by asking myself the simple question: “What do I need to do to be the best mom I can be?” If the answer is unequivocally “time spent”; then that’s what you do. But if the answer is “get a better job”, “get some rest”, “work on your relationship with their daddy”, then you gotta just shake off the guilt and know that there are many elements involved in being a good mom. Not just time spent.

    And Liezel, kicking a ball is educational. It’s essential to gross motor skill development. Who says learning has to be boring?

  6. You’re not alone – I am already feeling extremely guilty about a trip I need to take in April 2015. Mikey and I are leaving dad in Cape Town and flying to see the grannies in Durban, and then I need to leave him with them, and go through to Underberg to photograph a wedding. I’ll be away from the little man for 2 nights (leave Friday, back Sunday) and I’m already worried about how he will cope. I’m pretty sure that he will think that it’s a really cool adventure (he’s got 4 grandparents, 3 great-grandparents and and great-aunt all offering to babysit those 2 days, so I’m sure he will actually have too much to do), but I still feel guilty about it. Also – it’s over 5 months away and I’m already feeling guilty. Who does that??

  7. I don’t have issues leaving them. It is not easy for David and I to go out regularly because of child care issues so it doesn’t happen often but when it does I kiss them, wave and say goodbye and then thoroughly enjoy myself :))

    This past week was rough because I was at the Santa Shoebox until 19h30 every night from Wednesday. It was a little bit rough on us all and by Saturday I was missing them.

    There are other things to feel guilty about – a little alone time isn’t one of them 🙂

    • I don’t mind going out when they are asleep (we manage to squeeze in a few date nights every now and then) but that’s probably because they’re asleep and don’t even know we’re gone 😉

  8. I could have written this word for word. I feel very guilty that they have to be at aftercare, guilty when I can not be everywhere every time. But I also feel guilty about work, about my hubby, I am sown together with guilt

  9. YES! half way through a movie on date night, the guilt starts and i want to go home. Even leaving baby girl to go to the gym for an hour freaks me out sometimes. meh. logic tells me its silly to feel that way since it happens so rarely. But it still happens!

  10. Mommy Guilt is sooooooo exhausting! I finish work at 4:30 most days. With home being 5 minutes drive I am there pretty soon. Jae-Lyn only get home at about 5:30 because her aunt picks her up from school and she then goes to her house for a while. Even though she is not at home, I feel guilty if I am not there when she gets home. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?

    Yesterday I started going to a gym class, which means that I get home at 6, a few minutes after her. I raced home, so worried that she would be upset, feeling neglected etc etc etc and you know what. She wasn’t there. Her and Keaghan (my hubby’s god son who lives with us) decided to go for a ride on their bikes. When she got home she was all smiles and more concerned about what was for supper.

    Why do we do this to ourselves?
    P.S I am going to gym again tonight……

  11. I used to be VERY bad at leaving Kade. I do find it easier with Gemma. That said when we have left them with my mom and sister for the weekend I miss them a lot sooner than Cliff does! I know that I need time away from them to be a better mom (I have to realise that I am more than “just their mother”) which is why my running time is so important to me now.

    I guess like with all things in life, the more we “practice” leaving them the less we will feel guilty.


  12. I think that Mommy guilt is totally normal. I even get it when I’m at home with them, when I am busy with something else and feel that I should rather be doing something 1 on 1 with them

  13. It’s worse for me because Nicky is at home with me all the time so if I do get invited to something I have to have the maid and he cries like anything when I leave. It isn’t often but I actually turned down one for a later Friday afternoon because I just couldn’t do it in terms of balancing everything else as well (dropping off maid, fetching husband, cooking supper). I think you have to have that balance between your own needs and your family as well – some times things work out perfectly, other times they just don’t. I also need that me time, and I don’t feel guilty for that.

  14. I thought about this all of last night. I think biologically we are wired to not leave our kids. From the moment they are born, they are helpless and will die without their moms. And even if they are not of our own bodies, we women are biologically primed to save babies – which one of us would leave a crying infant alone if we came across it somewhere? But on the other hand, I feel like part of our jobs (as with other animals) is to teach our children social skills and independence. So while it may be difficult to leave our kids, I feel we should. They need to be able to be comfortable with others, safe in the knowledge that mom will always come back, they need to be able to sleep alone and fend for themselves, in the safe boundaries of the family home. I do think this is difficult when your babies are small but once they are old enough it really is important as a mom to teach them that they can be with others, fly free but they always have a nest to return to. I also never feel guilty mirroring having my own needs and interests to my kids: I often think of the way I want them to be as adults and try to emulate that in my own self.

  15. i dont feel guilt although i must admit to rushing to get home if i know she is home alone……she is 11 now. When she was a baby i never felt guilt, cause i was the only parent there, so i had to do everything, but loved it…..i still love being a single parent, no guilt. Its bliss. lol. If i had someone special, i would take her with and she can go to the play area and we can chat. Im also glad that she is now big enough to want to stay home……not so clingy anymore….so it does get better Cindy…

  16. “Moth hater” love it!!! 🙂
    But the guilt thing… It’s a killer…I have been suffering for 11 years now.. Now worse than ever! It gets easier as they get older I guess. But it will never go away…

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