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Guilty As Charged

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Guilty As Charged

Where does a mother's guilt come from?

Guilt implies that you have done something wrong.

What's a better word for "guilt"?



What is it about being a mother that means you end up carrying so much of it (whatever you call it) around?

Does a mother's guilt ever subside or does it just grow and manifest with each passing year? God, help me if it is the latter!

I find myself feeling guilty almost every single day about something having to do with the way in which I am raising my son. I feel lost some days on this journey called motherhood and a lot of the time like I'm fumbling through it with very little direction.

At this point, I know what I'm doing. I mean, I have the basics down (I think). Lucas is a very happy, healthy 13 month old, who's well-dressed, well-fed, has a room of his own and a gazillion toys and other apparatuses to keep him safe and entertained, but yet, I still worry.

A lot.

I worry that he is getting everything he needs from me in the form of time and comfort, that he's being exposed to the right toys, books, foods, activities, amount of sunlight, etc., etc., etc.

We spend A LOT of time together. I worry about that.

I worry that he'll NEVER learn to drink from a cup. Every few days I try to get him to use a sippy cup and he plays with it like it's a new toy.

I've been known to stick him in front of the television for 30 minutes of peace and quiet and that causes me a lot of guilt.

Oh yeah, another thing to feel guilty about: We may have found a new nanny for my 10 hour a week break... she started today and so far so good, but lots of guilt there!

I feel guilty when I don't exercise or think I'm not taking the best care of myself because I waited so long to have a child that I feel like I owe him the healthiest fittest version of myself for as long as I can be here. Nothing like putting a little pressure on myself, is there?

The guilt is never ending and can be all consuming if I let it. I know I need to let some of this (most of it) go, but how do you do that? How do you handle the guilt that comes with being a mother?

The best is yet to be.

This post is for the word game, Word Up, Yo! hosted by Natalie (Mommy of a Monster), Kristin (Taming Insanity) and Liz (a belle, a bean and a chicago dog).

If you like words too, you should play along!
This week's word is fumble.

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Blogger Julia said...

you HAVE HAVE HAVE to read my post tomorrow. seriously. guilt is something you regret. if you regret putting him in front of the TV, then next time, don't do it! otherwise, let it go. just know that we need time to ourselves and 20 minutes of TV time is NOT going to kill him.

and yes, he'll learn the sippy. you can't let it pull you down.

anyway, stop by tomorrow... might back you feel a hair better!! ;)

July 6, 2010 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

Ah, the guilt. I think it starts sometime during pregnancy and MUST end only when we die!

He will most definately learn to use the sippy cup for more than a hammer/projectile, he will learn to read and write despite watching some TV, he will bring you great joy and great frustration (sometimes in the same afternoon!).

Welcome to the Mommy Club! Mascara optional; guilt required.

July 6, 2010 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

Man, this post is exhausting and frightening me. Why all this guilt? It's silly and absolutely useless so get rid of it STAT! I understand where it comes from and that is a place of love so I suppose it can't be all that bad. I think you are doing an amazing job with Lucas. That boy couldn't be any happier or more loved. : ) XOXO

July 6, 2010 at 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Kristin said...


July 6, 2010 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

It's crazy how much guilt you do feel when you're a mom...and over silly stuff, too! My kids are 7 and 5 and I still haven't learned to stop feeling guilty!

July 6, 2010 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger KLZ said...

It can be overwhelming...The Guilt.

But you said it: he's happy and healthy. That's what I try to focus on.

July 7, 2010 at 2:11 AM  
Anonymous Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli said...

I read a book comparing parenting styles across the world. It's only in North America that parents feel this need to get everything right all the time. Many other cultures just aim for the baby to be alive by 2. There's no worry about knowing colours and milestones.
I think the guilt is always there. But we can't let it consume us.
You are wise to take time to excercise. For you and it's teaching your son that excercise is important and so is his mom. He'll be a better dad and husband with that lesson.

July 7, 2010 at 7:10 AM  
Anonymous tara said...

hmm, good question, I used to worry all the time about what foods my boy was eating, what he was watching, what he was wearing, it was exhausting and then I let up, i let some of that go because I realized that a little tv is ok, not having fruit at every meal is ok, not having mommy all day long well that just has to be ok, making them run errands with me, that is healthy and teaches them responsibility, etc...I guess I adopted the theory that as long as I was doing the best I can/could, that would have to be enough! hang in are a wonderful mom!

July 7, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger liz said...

I think it lessens in time, and is less with Baby #2. Or at least that's how it was for me.

July 7, 2010 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Ahhh, mommy guilt! I feel like I could've written this post myself. I have guilt for not running, and then guilt when I do because that means less time with Gillian Grace. I worry when she's eating, whether or not she's eating the right things, and when she's not eating I worry that she's not getting enough nutrients. I worry about not spending enough quality time with my husband but feel totally guilty for leaving GG with my parents when we do. Being a momma is hard, and this is the stuff no one can tell you about because you just have to experience it all on your own. I'm sure we'll all find a balance, eventually!

Take care!

July 7, 2010 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Ms. Understood said...

I like how real this is. I'm not a mommy so I read a lot of mommy blogs and learn different things. I haven't heard about this perspective as yet. I hear about the practical difficulties (i.e, potty training, teething) or being stressed out/tired. Guilt was not something I read about a lot. I appreciate you putting it out there. I don't have a little one yet, but I already feel guilty that I have to work and cannot be home to raise him/her. It makes the decision on whether to have one difficult going in knowing I have guilty feelings to start with.

July 7, 2010 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Sophie Eschenlohr said...

Every Mama feels guilty at some point. It's only human.
I think that the most important is to find your balance. When you feel good, your little ones feel good.

I was lucky to see you during a whole week, and I think you are an AMAZING Mama! One can't always be perfect (perfect people don't exist) and reading parenting books can sometimes make one feel guilty. Each child is different, each parent is different. I think you shouldn't be guilty about wanting time for yourself. I know that I could have used that time when Emma was a baby. She sometimes used to drive me crazy and I'm sure that the more stressed out I was, the more she was "pissed off" she was with me.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Being a "Stay at Home Mommy" isn't an easy task (I've been doing it for the last 6 years).

I think you're a GREAT Mama Tonya and Lucas is a lucky little boy : )


July 7, 2010 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I know the feeling. I think that the guilt and anxiety that comes with momhood is a way to keep us on our toes. I don't enjoy feeling a little psychotic but it makes me more in tune to what I think I should be doing as a mom. I have recently tried to tell myself, "will this matter in a year?, in a month?, in a week?".. because no mom is perfect, we just try to do our best.

July 8, 2010 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Mommy Spirit said...

I think we're trained from day one that we have to be perfect--have the perfect marriage, the perfectly cleaned house, the perfect body, the perfect kids, the perfect schedule and activities for kids...the list goes on and on, and when we fall short in any of these areas(according to us) the guilt and the blame sets in. Ugh. There are some days that I'm fumbling for that perfect world, but I think we just have to sit back and say we're good enough. Everything will turn out fine. This is a great topic and a great blog. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

July 8, 2010 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Tonya said...

I think of all 278 posts I have written, this is the one that has received the most feedback.

Thank you, everyone for joining me in the guilt and assuring me that I am not alone.

I especially love Mommy Spirit's message... nobody is perfect and the sooner we as moms realize and ACCEPT that, the better off we'll be.

Thanks for reading!!

July 9, 2010 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Oh, the guilt! How I hate it and that feeling...yuck. And the worrying that comes with the guilt is even worse! Hang in there, and like everybody else said - we all know how you feel and support you :)

July 9, 2010 at 1:13 PM  

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