From the Mommy Files…

Why Do Moms Feel Guilty? Part II

Posted on: June 7, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a mysterious phenomenon.

We don’t know why we do it, but we always put ourselves last and everyone else first.

We feel guilty when we do something for ourselves.

I do it too.

Why do we feel guilty?

Many of our moms were quite skilled at making us feel guilty for their lack of free time or pleasure.

Today’s moms beat themselves up if they have to ask for help or a much-needed break.

I don’t know why.

I’m guilty of it myself.

Guilty of feeling guilty.

You know what I’m talking about.

You go months longer than you should for a haircut.

Lunch with the ladies?

Excuse me? What’s that?

Buy ourselves a new dress?

Forget it.

Kids keep out-growing their stuff.

I’m not saying go crazy, go on a shopping spree, ignore the kids or spend all your days in the spa.

But we need to acknowledge once and for all that we have a problem.

My name is Maria, and I have Mommy Guilt.

I feel guilty when I ask someone to watch my kids, to go to a meeting or a desperately-needed break.

I feel guilty when all the laundry isn’t done.

I feel guilty that on some days I simply don’t have the energy to play with my kids.

So I asked other moms.

What do you feel guilty about?

The answers did not surprise me.

They simply confirmed for me that this is an epidemic.

We have to snap out of this.

Much of this is really out of our control.

Here’s what they said.

“I feel guilty that my husband doesn’t speak to his brother, so the kids have never met their uncle. They ask where he is.”

I feel guilty that I don’t want to volunteer my time in the classroom. I’m tired.”

“I feel guilty that I don’t always spread my attention evenly between my kids.”

“I feel guilty that I rely on relatives to buy them the special toys they want on holidays and birthdays because I am to too strapped.”

“I feel guilty that I can’t stay up late and be with my husband. I see him watching a movie alone and I am full of guilt.”

“I feel guilty that I don’t always feel like going outside with the kids.  I hate the heat and bugs.”

“I feel guilty that I have all of these arts & craft things for the kids, yet I don’t want them playing with it because it will make a mess.”

“I think I feel the most guilty for being a SAHM and not always having everything ‘perfect’…all laundry away, closets organized, house sparkling clean, cooking a gourmet meal every night, etc…”

“I feel guilty that I don’t look as good as I did before we had kids.”

I feel guilty that I can’t provide better health insurance so my kids can get the services they need.”

“I feel guilty that my husband has become more of a roommate than a lover. I’m always tired. After taking care of small kids all day and working, I’m spent. I don’t have the energy to tend to anyone else.”

“I feel guilty that sometimes I just want to be alone, without my kids, or just with my husband and no kids.”

“I feel guilty that I have to work. My salary pays for clothes, activities, etc. If I quit, we can’t afford that stuff.”

“Sometimes I feel guilty that I want to have a career in addition to my kids. I shouldn’t want anything else, right?

There were many recurring themes, such as being tired, stretched too thin, of money woes, feeling guilty for wanting a break, having put on weight, for having other ambitions in addition to being a mom.

You’re shaking your head now because you’ve thought some of these things too.

I don’t know why we beat ourselves up.

We give our kids everything, more than anyone else.

We give up so much, yet we never feel like it’s enough.

We ask so little. Some don’t ask for anything.

We have to learn not to do that!

We’re not trying to be martyrs.

We’re trying to be the best mothers and wives we can be.

But we can’t leave ourselves behind in the process.

I’ve read many times that if we spend a little time away and do things for ourselves, this will make us better moms.

But do we do this?

Not so much.

It’s OK for you to take a break. 

It’s OK for you to treat yourself once and awhile.


There’s got to be a cure for this.

I’m sure we’d all be much happier.

Is there a 12-step program?

How do we stop?

What do you feel guilty about?

1 Response to "Why Do Moms Feel Guilty? Part II"

I would like to have a 12 step program as well. 🙂
It is not like it use to be. Must people knew their neighbors, had better family realtionship and took time to care about others, even the ones they didn’t know.
I always think about the other person. They work full time, I am sure they are exhausted. Even though I know my mother inlaw would be happy to help. I feel guilt that I am asking her for help. I feel like I should be able to do it all and feel sort of a failure in having to ask for help. Or deep down do I feel like no one can take care of my children like I can? What if they get hurt and need me? The bond with family and friends is not what it use to be, as I remember growing up.
It would be nice to have friends that you could rotate with watching each other kids, while the other one went out.
I try to tell myself sometimes that I only have today, tomorrow is not guaranteed, so enjoy the day. I am taking small steps to not having so much guilt. It was nice to read how much I am not alone.

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