About Me, Parenting

Mom Guilt

I’m lucky to have never suffered from postpartum depression but I am currently drowning in Mom Guilt.

I always have had this need to do everything myself and not ask for help. When, and if, I do ask for help, I feel incredibly guilty about it and worry that the person whose help I ask for may be judging me for being weak and incompetent.

For example:

It took me YEARS to finally ask MrZ for help carpooling LilZ to school and/or sporting events. I felt like if I asked him for help he would think, “Jeezus…motherhood too much for you? Can’t handle it? Maybe if you didn’t watch so much damn TV you’d have more time to manage carpool.”

Doesn’t that TOTALLY sound like something he’d say? HELL NO. I’m just certifiably insane.

And don’t get me started about how guilty I felt my entire pregnancy for having to ask MrZ to help with things I wasn’t allowed to do, like change the kitty litter. I felt like such an awful wife and dreaded a situation where MrZ would think, “Jeezus…she’s acting like a freakin’ cripple with the making me carry boxes to the attic…” which of course, is INSANE. Why would a rational, intelligent woman like myself (quit laughing) think such ludicrous things? Who the hell knows, but I did. You have no idea how many pregnancy breakdowns I had for needing MrZ’s help with things like heavy lifting. Of course he NEVER has a problem helping and is always glad that I ask, but it would send me into a spiral where I convinced myself he thought I sucked as a wife and a Mom.


Now – fast forward to TODAY. I am a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) for the next 9 or so weeks. It is my mindset that since MrZ has to work all day, and I am the lucky one who gets to be with NikkiZ, I should make sure that he has NO other responsibilities when he gets home besides hanging out with her. I have taken over ALL chores and housework where there were some things we used to share. I also don’t feel like he should have to get up with her at night since he has to work during the day. The logic is, I can take a nap during the day and he can’t. However, I’m so busy trying to get shit done, that I do NOT nap during the day.

Do you see where this is going?

Yes. I am physically killing myself. When NikkiZ naps (like now) I take time to get shit done. I do laundry, I clean the garage, I change the kitty litter (shit, that needs to be done) but I do NOT nap. Unfortunately – after nights on end of little sleep, I am making myself more and more exhausted as the days go by.

But do I ask for help? HELL NO. And when I do ask for little things? I then go off and beg MrZ to reassure me that he doesn’t think I’m a bad mom or wife for needing help.


Well, last night? I had the headache from HELL that ibuprofen would NOT cure. I had dozed off for a bit during Bones while NikkiZ was sleeping. But, she woke up after House and stayed up until Midnight. As did I. Then, she woke up VERY fussy at 3am. I fed her and got her calmed down by about 4am when I realized I was in BAD shape and could not continue to stay up with her without jeopardizing her well being.

So I woke up MrZ.

Of course he jumped up and was completely fine about taking over NikkiZ duty. But, what did I do 100 times before I fell back to sleep? And what did I do all morning after I woke up? And what am I still doing in my head right now? Trying to JUSTIFY WHY I had to ask for his help.

“I’m sorry I woke you up, you know I wouldn’t have if I didn’t really need it.”
“I had only had 3 hours sleep and was still recovering from a headache.”
“I haven’t slept well in 3 weeks.”
“I at least calmed her down so she was in a good mood for you.”
“I was just SO TIRED.”
“I’m sorry.”

I kept apologizing to him and kept justifying my exhaustion to him. And did I need to do ANY of that? NO. He is more than willing to help, and actually LIKES to help, but there is a part of me that feels like if I am not taking it all on my own shoulders, than I’m a failure. If I need his help? Then I’m not a good wife. If I’m too tired to care for my daughter? Then I’m not a good mom. And I still, today, feel REALLY REALLY REALLY guilty for waking MrZ up at 4am to care for his daughter while I slept. Seriously, I feel REALLY guilty.

So. Freakin’. Krazzee.

This is why MrZ deserves a medal of honor to be married to me.

21 thoughts on “Mom Guilt”

  1. I am the exact same way. I suffered for weeks when Alex was born because of it, I got to the point where I could barely function out of being so exhausted so I did my best to kick it to the curb.

  2. You know, I am the same way–and our daughter is almost 8! I work part time at her school, and I feel like such a failure if, when I get home, my husband is vacuuming or doing the dishes. I know he doesn’t see it that way, but I think to myself, “If I didn’t spend so much time reading blogs, etc., I’d be a better wife/mom.” Which isn’t true, and man, tbis turned out a lot longer than the “Me Too!” reply I had intended…hang in there, you’re a great mom and wife!

  3. It’s a mom thing! I’m the same way. Zombie 3/4 of the time but I can’t ask for help because that would be WEAK! I’m a permanent SAHM so I too feel that I should have everything done when my Hubs comes home and I feel SOOOO guilty when it isn’t.

    We need to start a support group! LOL!

  4. I’m like that normally too. If it get’s worse after you have a baby, I’m really in for it. Of course I also get really moody when tired, so really, my husband is really in for it then.

  5. I’m the same way, too. My first husband WOULDN’T help me, even when I asked, and now I refuse to ask my new husband for help because I think it’ll prove that all of the divorce and remarriage and primary custody and commuting was a bad idea that I’m not able to handle. My whole thing is that if I “fail”, it’ll prove my ex was right about me the whole time.

  6. Aren’t your kids the most important thing in the world to you? Well, then wouldn’t you want to person taking care of them to be happy and well rested? Let MrZ help! πŸ™‚

  7. Aw. I can’t even imagine the stress you’re under, SAHM or not. Isn’t taking care of a baby like one of the hardest jobs in the world? When the guilt starts to get to you, just remember that you have in MrZ somebody who loves you and wants to help.

  8. I am the exact same way. And my kids are grown and gone. But I do it with the dogs, house work, etc. Right now I am dying with a chest cold/cough/fever and I feel guilty! Go figure that one out!

  9. In all politeness, have you talked to a doctor about maybe getting on some anti-anxiety drug? I think they would really help your insecurities. They have some wonderful medicines that would help. I would seriously check into it. You don’t want your children to learn these behaviors. Getting help would not only help you but also your family.

  10. Sorry it’s so hard, lady. I’m glad you know your fears aren’t rational or with merit. A trick I use myself when I get in a high-anxiety mood/kick/cycle is to immediately replace an irrational or bad thought with a good one. It doesn’t even have to make sense. “I’m a terrible mom for really needing to hand off NikkiZ to Mr.Z right now” becomes “I am the best mom for being able to BF NikkiZ”. Unrelated topics, but something you know to be true. It really does work to stop the automatic pop-up bad thoughts, for me anyway.

    (God, does this count as assvice??)

  11. I have BAD news for you. If you’re like me, that doesn’t ever go away. I’m forty friggin’ five years old and still have that problem.

    I recently had surgery and then four weeks later had pneumonia. Hubby had to keep forcing me to not clean, do dishes, etc. Still, when he’d be off to work I’d do everything I wasn’t supposed to do and then I’d literally cry because I was so exhausted.

    I just couldn’t bear the idea of ‘forcing’ him to do stuff around the house when he was at work all day and I was at home doing nothing. He was a more than willing participant, but I couldn’t do it.

    If I figure out the secret to allowing people to help us, I’ll be sure to let you know. But you have to do the same for me, OK?

    You’re not CRAZY, you’re just a nurturer. So am I. Sometimes that nurturing stuff gets a little out of control. πŸ˜‰

  12. There should be a support group for this malady, I think there are a lot of us out there struggling with it. Don’t want to come off as selfish, incapable, needy or lazy; even when we’ve worked our fingers to the bone and done the work of 3.
    Hope the Long Island was tasty!

  13. Krazzee? Not so much. Completely normal American mother trying to do too much? Absolutely.

    Hang in there, you’re doing a great job!!!

  14. I am exactly like this. If there was one thing in my mothering career I could change I would IGNORE MY GUILT, and SWALLOW MY PRIDE. I hope you can do it.

  15. Zoot, have I told you I loved you? (probably a few times :P) No matter what.
    We all know you’re great in any thinkable way πŸ˜€ Now, please stop punishing yourself. It’s only hormones.


  16. My motto is “Guilt is the curse of motherhood”. There is not a day that I don’t stress over something I’ve screwed up. Take the breaks you need, you’re very lucky to have such a great family. (((Zoot)))

  17. Aw, Zoot, you don’t have to do everything. You are a SuperMom no matter what. Take it easy and enjoy your family. That’s what makes you a SuperMom! πŸ™‚

    And I have to say that it doesn’t look so much like NikkiZ is waiting for her drink, but like she’s already had a few. πŸ˜‰

  18. I completely agree with what Crystal said (only she said it better than I ever could have)! Hang in there.

  19. Sounds like we might have enough joiners of this group to start a club. I don’t have any kids so I feel especially like I should be able to do it all, all the time, without help and with finesse and ease so I can imagine how being a mom and being responsible for anotehr person and being sleep deprived can intensify these fellings 100,000 times.

    I can meekly say ask for the help you need, you deserve it and I am sure it makes MrZ feel wonderful to be able to help now. After all there was not much he could do to help with the actual being pregnant part.

  20. Your baby is BEAUTIFUL. You’re a great mom! And TAKE A NAP! Ask me – I know (ha ha!) — 3 kids. I napped least with the first and most with the last (luckily my older 2 were in school then).

    Stay sane!


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