The Accidental Guilt Trip

Y’all know how sometimes you see a comedy trope built on a stereotype that relates to your life and you think, “Yeah…um…that’s kinda true?” That’s how I am every time I see some sort of bit built on the Guilt-Trip-Giving Mom.

That’s me. I never MEAN for it to be me, and I have a long history of hating guilt trips, yet still…there I am…often dishing them out without meaning to.

I did it last night to my daughter. It started out okay, I was simply trying to talk to her about ways to improve her sleep and her restfulness but then I – without meaning to – drifted into comments about how she’s always in her room and I never see her anymore.


See, like all Moms since the history of time, I do start to feel sad when my kids start doing their own thing and not needing or wanting me anymore. I call this “Hurt Mom Mode” and it’s the setting I get stuck on sometimes and last night was one of those times. And of course my daughter is full of love and empathy so this made her feel TERRIBLE but for some reason, my Hurt Mom mode wouldn’t turn off and I just stood my ground and kinda made things worse.

Because – here’s the thing – when I’m in Hurt Mom Mode I give the WORSE kind of apologies. I saw I had upset her, but I kept doing the, “I’m sorry BUT…” thing which I HATE WITH THE PASSION OF 1,000 SUNS. But when I’m in Hurt Mom Mode I can’t think rationally or process the ripple effects of my words so I say stuff like, “I’m sorry I upset you…but I miss you!”

It should come as no surprise that – if someone is already upset because you’ve laid a guilt trip on them – that particular apology JUST MAKES THINGS WORSE.

I woke up this morning and I was no longer in Hurt Mom Mode and I really felt terrible for the way I handled everything last night. The problem is, Hurt Mom Mode is always there as the next setting over from normal because we are all really fragile as our kids grown up and need us less. I KNOW THIS FROM MY FIRST CHILD. Every time your kid rushes to their room to Facetime their BFF instead of telling you about their day you immediately drift into Hurt Mom Mode and that’s where guilt trips are born.


So I’m going to TRY to offer a real apology this morning and try to explain Hurt Mom Mode. I just want her to know that I will try to be better but I will not be perfect so I give her permission to tune me out when I’m obviously stuck in that mode and dishing out unnecessary guilt trips.

1 thought on “The Accidental Guilt Trip”

  1. I do this too! I started crying the other day in front of my kids because they didn’t like the breakfast I made. I made something they had never had before and I assumed they would like it instead of sticking to a favorite (or letting them eat stuff they normally make themselves). Then I blubbered about how I was trying to make breakfast special and that my feelings were hurt and yada ya and I didn’t know how to rein my emotions back in and they were getting more upset than me by the end! There is something about parenting that really brings out my vulnerability.

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