Mother Guilt

Can you be a mother without overflowing amounts of guilt? I wish that I could say yes, but…I don’t think it is possible. Somedays, I start the morning with feelings of guilt because I am a working parent. There are days, when I feel bad knowing that my son doesn’t have a parent taking him to school and picking him up. It is hard to know that someone else hears the first reports of his day…good or bad. Then the REAL guilt comes when I think about staying home and I take a deep breath (sigh) and realize that isn’t for me either.

I feel guilty when I am tired after work and my son is not. I feel guilty when I am doing laundry or dishes instead of playing with him. I feel guilty when I am not the “room mom” organizing the class parties. I feel guilty when I hear a teacher at work say, “Oh, she can’t be a helpful volunteer, she works.”

When I was sharing my pity party thoughts with a friend, she said that everyone has “Mother Guilt” in varying degrees and varying amounts on various days. All of sudden, without any encouraging, she started sharing her own “Mother Guilt” list and I was shocked! This stay at home mom had quite a substantial list:

I feel guilty that I am SO bored sometimes when I should be thrilled to be home with my child.
I feel guilty that my child is an only child and will not grow up knowing what it is like to share a room with someone and whisper after lights out.
I feel guilty that we don’t live near our extended family-especially Grandma and Grandpa.
I feel guilty that I still want a nanny and housecleaner even though I am home full time.
I feel guilty that I don’t do something “meaningful” like bake cookies or make a birdfeeder, each day with my curious daughter.
I feel guilty that I hate story time at the library. I feel even more guilty when I see the other moms smiling as if they are having a girls night out!


This week, someone that I love said to me that you “do what you can.” She continued by telling me that I am doing the best that I can and it won’t be always perfect, all the time. That’s for sure! This smart and well-spoken person, helped bring me back down to my current reality. I started to think about all the things that I am proud that I CAN provide my son on a daily basis. With this thought, I started a new list in my mind.

I am proud that I have a job that makes a difference. Being an elementary teacher is hard work, but it allows me to be home every night, weekend, and holidays.
I am proud that my son has a family dinner every night of the week.
I am proud that we are able to afford the specialists & counselors that we have taken our son to see and I know that not everyone is that fortunate.
I am proud that my son is learning patience, independence, and other characteristics that he might not have developed if I was home each day.

I realize that this post is not specific to parenting a twice-exceptional child, but I believe that being a mother should sometimes, every once in a while, be more important than being the “mother-of-a-child-that-is-twice-exceptional-and-sometimes-challenging-to-parent-and-educate.”

Now it’s your turn. What is your “Mother Guilt” load?

13 thoughts on “Mother Guilt

  1. Great post, I’ve been a working mom an now I an a stay-at-home mom so I’ve felt the guilt in both roles. I confess i have felt most of the things the SAHM you mentioned in you post. My current guilt is I don’t spend enough time working with my 2E kid on his vision therapy at home. I also feel guilty that my 2E kid goes to school(wonderful Montessori) but I know he is not intellectually challenged and should I be homeschooling(he’s only 5).
    On the flip side I’m proud I decided to quit work when things got too stressful on the job and if I hadn’t quit I don’t think I would have identified my child’s 2e yet. I’m happy that in spite of intellectual challenges at school my son is thriving and has grown both socially an emotionally at school and has learned that things don’t always go the way you expect. And when they don’t he can handle it without a meltdown now.

    I wonder if Mom guilt ever goes away….I should ask my mom:-)

  2. I feel guilty that I don’t have time to volunteer at my girls’ really excellent school or at church.
    I feel guilty that I’m building a career as a blogger, because it’s so dang fun, and work is supposed to be painful, isn’t it?
    I feel guilty that playing with my girls DOES fill me with joy, but it’s also kind of boring.
    I feel guilty that I can’t ride this insane food train of special needs diets as well as I should…fail, fail, fail is my name.
    I feel guilty that I don’t have time to exercise, and it’s starting to age me, and suck my energy.
    I feel guilty that I have not “force” potty trained my 6yo, who has autism and sensory issues.

    There. I feel better now. I feel GOOD that I’m an awesome parent, and I know I am because I have guilt over the things that just cannot be fixed right now and about moments for myself. My kids are happy, fairly healthy, and have what they need today. What else matters?

  3. I think there is not a mother on this earth who doesn’t feel guilty about something at some point. It comes with the territory. Two of my kids are now adults and I still feel guilty even for something as simple as not giving them a proper hello when they walk in the door at the end of the working day. If my other two, who are in high school, need help with their homework I feel guilty when I grudgingly help them and they know that I’m really not that interested in helping them at that moment. I couldn’t even begin to list the guilt for so many things over the years but I know I’m doing the best I can. I know from the things they tell me that they have had a pretty good childhood and think our family is “pretty o.k.” So I guess that’s what counts.

  4. What a wonderful thought-provoking post! It reassures us that we are not perfect and that we do need a little time for ourselves to rejuvenate and guide our kids to be the best they can!

    I think my list of guilt could go on and on. I like that you wrote about what you are proud of. You are an awesome mom!

  5. Pingback: Happy Anniversary! | My Twice Baked Potato

  6. I loved this. Your honesty is so refreshing, and obviously this is a subject I can totally relate to. Your thoughts resonated with me, for sure, and I loved the spin you put on it at the end. Next time I am making a list of things I feel guilty about, I will try to list the things I’m proud of, too. Thanks for sharing with me!

    • Stephanie-
      I’m so glad you visited and liked this post. It truly is a favorite of mine. We are all so hard on ourselves…I have to remind myself constantly that my son is watching. I must try and model feeling proud and balanced. Hope you visit and read more!

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