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The Truth About Mom Guilt

Baby/Parenting · Life · Mom Stuff · June 13, 2018

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Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is mom guilt. Why it’s a thing and why we feel it. There is not something we hear about called dad guilt. Why? Because women are expected to do it all. We are expected to work, and be home, we are expected to be nurturing but also strict. We are expected to be fun but also rigid. I mean there are SO MANY THINGS to remember. So today I am going to talk about the truth about mom guilt.

The Truth About Mom Guilt

I recently went on a business trip to Cincinatti. It’s the second one in two months and I also had a work trip to New York that Liam and Andrew came with me on. When I left for both trips to Ohio I felt so guilty. The first one Liam was 13.5 months old and it was my first time away from him overnight. It was beyond difficult. I know he was fine with Andrew but I felt awful.

Andrew and I are going on our first trip away from Liam next week. It’s partially work related for me, but again I feel bad. I know Liam will be in great hands and that people travel without their kids all the time but a part of me feels huge mom guilt. I try to remind myself that we have to put our relationship first and that we need time away as a couple.

I feel mom guilt about lots of things not related to travel. Does Liam get enough time outside? Is he in enough classes? Did we pick the right preschool? Should I be sending him to preschool at 18 months? Is Montessori education the best choice for him? Should I have tried harder with breastfeeding? I feel questions and guilt about all these things.

The truth about mom guilt is that it never stops. That’s what I’ve realized. No matter if our babies are one week old or one year old or I imagine 10 years old there is always a form of guilt as moms. If we work we aren’t home enough. If we are home we aren’t showing them how to be independent working moms. If we work from home we aren’t paying enough attention to them. As I write this post Liam is playing on the floor next to me with blocks. I stop and play with him every other minute but I still feel guilt for even writing this post while he’s awake. The irony right?

I know this post was a bit rambling, but I wanted to share that the truth about mom guilt is we all feel it. We all experience it. Also, that it never stops.

What is your experience with mom guilt?

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  • 25 thoughts on “The Truth About Mom Guilt

    1. Linda Kay

      When my kids make obvious errors in judgment even as adults, there is mom guilt. You have to wonder if you didn’t spend enough time instilling the right thought processes, etc. But bottom line, no matter how hard you work to be a super mom, there will always be alternative ways you might have done things. So just enjoy life, follow your heart (and maybe your pocketbook), and keep those youngsters in your mind when you are with them. And listen.

    2. ShootingStarsMag

      I’m not a mom, but I can imagine that mom guilt is there all the time for all sorts of stuff, and most of the time? Moms shouldn’t be feeling guilty at all! You’re right – there isn’t a thing called “dad guilt.” Also, I have to add – I live right by Cincinnati! How cool you’ve been here. πŸ™‚


    3. Brandy

      I used to feel mom guilt all of the time. I finally somehow learned to just stop. I occasionally have it pop up once in awhile, it’s usually when I find that I’m working more than I should be.

    4. Jen

      Great post. My kids are now teens and I wrote a lot about mom guilt when they were babies. The thing that has always given me comfort is that I am the perfect parent for my kids. That does not mean I’m perfect. There is no rulebook and I mess up all the time. And yet, I truly think we were put together as a family for a reason. So I do what I can and hope for the best!

    5. Mary Varville-Rodriguez at World of Writer Mom

      OMG Neely, I could hug you right now for writing this post. This has been one of those guilt weeks for me. It feels like it’s never enough when it comes to parenting. I was about to write a list of 10 things that I feel guilty about, but think I’ll wait on that. I’ve been close to tears all day for so many reasons. Reading this helps put things into perspective. We all have this feeling. I think we’re programmed with it. Hope you have fun on your trip and come back refreshed! Thanks for writing this!

    6. Tabitha Blue

      Isn’t it amazing how we can feel it when we’re with them and when we’re away from them. It will always be something to manage, but I’m glad you get to get away and enjoy yourself! Kids need that time as well to learn to spread their own wings a bit! πŸ™‚

    7. Keating | Mainely Keating

      I think the big thing to always remember is that you’re doing what’s best for your child, your marriage and your family. I can honestly say it’s extremely rare I ever feel guilty because I know I’m a fantastic mom and our little one is a happy and healthy toddler. If I’m not putting myself and my marriage first, then it will ultimately affect our daughter and the life we’re giving her. So that mindset helps a lot! And having the amazing husband that I have helps a lot too because I can go about my day without feeling like everything is solely my responsibility.

    8. Brittny

      I work as a full time paralegal from home. I have identical twin boys who are 2 years old who go to daycare 2 days a week because that is what I can afford and I need 2 days to work un interrupted the other days they are home with me while I work full time. My husband works 120 weeks out of town and only makes it home in time to get 5 hours of sleep. I feel guilty all of the time about everything. My house is a mess because they are home all day and I cant pick it up every 20 minutes or I would get fired from my job for getting nothing don. I am trying to work my 14 plus cases and keep my boss and clients happy but also not ignore my kids. I usually work from 10 PM until 3 am and then try to catch 4 hours of Z’s. While I am working at night I feel guilty for not cleaning or doing laundry instead so again my boys wake up to a messy house, this bothers me because they should have a picked up environment to play and learn in. I am always exhausted which makes me more grumpy then I should be although I have worked very hard on not yelling or losing my cool with my boys on my really rough days sometimes I do and then I feel guilty for days. I am always wondering if I can do more but I don’t think it is humanly possible at this point. My boys go to bed somenights without a bath or we forget to brush our teeth which is one of my biggest guilt trips. We have more snacks then home cooked meals and have less of a schedule and routine then what I wanted for them. The list goes on and on. I help myself with my guilt by reading how to manage my time better or be a better mom(although sometimes it makes me feel more guilty). But recently at the end of every very long tough day (which is every day right now) I tell myself I am okay, my kids have a home, food, toys and a mama and daddy who love them more then anything, they are speaking full sentences and advancing quickly at daycare and they are happy. Its important to allow ourselves to feel the guilt and try to build and better from it but its equally as important to give ourselves a break. This may sound cocky but I ask myself now every night who else do i know that could raise 2 toddlers full time, work full time and run an entire life practically alone and maintain being a nice mom who has a job and still sometimes manages to shower herself 2 times a week ??? Not many…. so I am doing a damn good job and so are you fellow mamas!!!! Hang in there πŸ€—πŸ€—

    9. Dogvills

      It has been 12 years since I left for a foreign country on a two year work contract. It has that been long ago but I still have that guilt feeling of leaving my kids behind. Although I know my mom did her best to care for them, it still gives me that guilt feeling that I was not with them for two years.

    10. Marie Altenor

      I think the mom guilt comes with being the primary caregiver which is most often the mother, but am sure if the father was a primary caregiver he too would have a “dad guilt”.

    11. Denise C

      The first few times I was away from the children, I felt just awful about it. But it got easier and easier after that. Are they as well taken care of when I’m not around? Definitely not. Still, it’s actually good for them to be away from me every once in a while.

    12. Pam

      My kids are adults and in their 30s and I still wonder if I should have done certain things differently or better. It never ends but in the end, I know I did the best I could and I think they are happy with the way they were raised. On Mother’s and Father’s Day they always write special notes to us that lets us know that they had a happy childhood and we so appreciate that.

    13. Tami

      Mom guilt has been a huge part of my life, unfortunately. I only recently realized how important it was for us to get away all those times.

    14. Toughcookiemommy

      Mom guilt is definitely a real thing. As a Working Mom, it is something that I have often suffered from over the years. It’s not easy to juggle everything when you are a mother.

    15. Victoria Onken

      I think it’s impossible to shake off the “mom guilt”… but maybe we don’t need to? Although it’s hard on us this guilt is there to make us think: how can i be better. Right? So as long as we tame it (as much as we can) we’ll always try to do our best and think about stuff. And yes, maybe after all that thinking we’ll realize that that crash is not right for the baby or the type of food is maybe wrong. I think “mom guilt”is there for a reason. But one thing you should not feel guilty about is taking time off for yourself and especially with your partner. Happy mom – happy baby!

    16. Emma T

      I have to say I’m one of the unusual mums who rarely feels guilty. I know I’ve made the decisions I have because they’re the best for us and my son. He went to childcare age 1yo, he doesn’t do lots of outside clubs (only swimming and tennis) because I work and can’t get him to them (my OH does nothing to help, apart from once a week pick up from tennis), he doesn’t have lots of playdates because I work, and when he’s free at weekends, other families are doing things. Tbh, the OH should feel the guilt as he works 7 days a week (he’s a farmer), and apart from school holidays when he takes N on the farm to work with him, he does virtually nothing for N. So I don’t feel guilty – I might, if I had a little terror of a child, but N is happy, well adjusted, doing as well as can be expected in school for a child who isn’t bothered about reading or writing.

      I think mums need to give themselves a break. Because being guilty if it’s more than just a fleeting think about it, probably isn’t the best thing for you and therefore the child.

    17. Meg

      Mom guilt is so hard. One thing that has helped me is to try to stop using the would “should”. There’s no “should” in the way we raise our kids… Only things we need to do or want to do. Should just makes me feel guilty.


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