Parenting

Tackling Mommy Guilt

There used to be a time when I felt REALLY guilty leaving my kids with my husband. Guilty as a wife for burdening my husband who worked hard, and guilty as a Mom who abandoned her children. I knew there was not real LOGIC to it, but it often kept me from socializing or exercising. I wrote recently about how that small part of the guilt issues I’ve had for years is gone – and I have no idea how/why I was able to tackle it.

I’ve spent some time thinking about it, because I do still have Mommy Guilt when I don’t get to put the kids to bed, or when I miss a soccer game. But it’s not severe enough to keep me from doing whatever is on tap for that particular night. I think I’ve figured out some of it.

It’s a little bit like when I used to smoke when E was little. I would say to myself, “I’m doing all of these things that inconvenience me – FOR MY KID – but I can’t quit the one thing I NEED to do.” Somehow, no matter how powerful the Mommy Guilt was in other areas, it wasn’t enough to keep me from smoking. I did quit – eventually – but it wasn’t the Mommy Guilt that did it.

I think that somewhere along the way, I have found myself in a situation where things like Book Club, and Running, and Theatre – they are things I like too much to quit. Like smoking. Or maybe, in another Mom’s case, drinking. Or eating donuts. There are things we know we shouldn’t do as Moms but we like it SO MUCH it has no power over the Mommy Guilt that should make us quit.

In this particular situation – however – the stuff isn’t bad for me. So I’ve found a good balance that lets me enjoy those things I really love, but I don’t feel guilty about it.

Now, how I got here? I have no idea. I wish I could give you a quick fix that would allow you to get over your guilt and sometimes do stuff for YOU. But I think it started, for me, with E’s theatre program. I didn’t feel a lot of guilt ditching the family to do stuff for his program because I was still doing Mom Stuff. And I was doing it for the kid who often gets neglected. Once I got out of the house repeatedly, leaving the kids with D, I realized it’s not all bad. Sometimes you get to hang out with adults and not worry about dirty diapers or bedtimes.

I was able to get a taste of the OTHER SIDE without feeling the guilt because the OTHER SIDE was still a parental function. SCORE ONE FOR KIDS ELEVEN to THIRTEEN YEARS APART!

I think tackling the guilt to do those type of things for E, is what opened me up more to things like book club and running classes. Also – with the running classes? Donnie is TOTALLY supportive. He did a couple of tri classes and loved them so he loves me coming home and talking about hill runs, or repeats and things. Because he obviously enjoys me doing the class, it removes almost all of the Wife Guilt from making him a single parent periodically.

None of this will probably help you because so many things are unique about my situation. BUT – maybe it will give you a glimpse so you can find the same release in your life. Because – I remember the guilt keeping me away from things. And let me tell you – I really think life is better on this side of it. Not only because I get to be something other than a Mom or a Wife sometimes, but because my parental obligations feel less of a burden as they’re more shared. I don’t get as bitter with Donnie when he does stuff away from the house like I used to. It just feels easier when I can depend on my husband without the voices in my head saying, “You’re an awful Mom! You’re an awful Wife!”

I wish I could give you an easy fix to shut your voices up, but just know it’s possible. And you deserve life without those voices. You’re super awesome. You know that, right?

4 thoughts on “Tackling Mommy Guilt”

  1. I think for me its possible to give myself that push out of the house (not often, but enough given my kid is still pretty little) because I know I’m a better Mama, more patient and fun, when I feel myself. The fact that I have by far the most responsibility for our daughter thanks to the structure of our life keeps me from feeling guilty when her father has parenting duty, but I also know that I’m a more interesting wife when I have something to talk about other than our daughter, too. I’m sure I’m alot more fun to live with when I take care of myself, too!

  2. I only recently stumbled onto your blog; enticed by the pumpkin muffins. :0) I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far.
    I’m struggling with Mommy Guilt at the moment too as I try to gather up the courage to begin exercising. (I haven’t made it out of the house yet.) It’s nice to find that I’m not the only one who struggles with such things. And it makes me happy to know you successfully dealt with it. Who knows, tomorrow might be my first day at the gym.
    Anyway, just wanted to say, thanks!

  3. I have felt guilty working outside the home, at home, and going to school! Then when I was home only for 2 years I felt guilty about that as I wasn’t financially supporting along with my husband! LOL – so we moms can always feel guilty about something!!! But now in this teaching/speech therapy double major I’m working on, I actually feel really good as I feel I’m partially doing this for my special needs children to help teach them, and then I also really love school! So this is a win/win for me (though I am exhausted!)

    Hugs, and glad you found your non-guilt as well!

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