Mom guilt

This weekend I’m attending a Mother/Daughter Brunch hosted by my daughter’s sorority. It’s one of the last events planned before graduation at the end of this month. These past four years simply blew by. It truly feels like she was only leaving high school last spring.

I wrote this post shortly after she moved into her college dorm. It still holds true, maybe even more now that in a few months she is, for intents and purposes, moving out on her own to attend grad school.

Published originally at my former blog, “If Mom Says OK,” on Sept 25, 2007.

When I signed on for this mom gig I was unprepared for the amount of guilt that it involved.

From day one, I felt overpowering guilt. Guilt about whether I would be able to properly and adequately take care of my babies. Would I ever be able to take a shower again without feeling guilty I wasn’t with my babies all the time.

Should I just let my babies cry or pick them up every time. Rock them to sleep or let them squall for an hour or two.

I felt guilty that the only song I could remember to sing to my daughter to get her to go to sleep was the ABCs. Then I felt guilty that every time her pre-school teacher worked with her class on reading, she would fall asleep.

Would my kids be traumatized for life because I made them wear disposable diapers? I tried the cloth ones then felt guilty about really hating them and not caring whether another family’s load of dirty plastic pants would damage the environment.

Was my son crying because he was hungry, hurt, mad, too cold or too warm, or just trying to bug me. I didn’t always know, but whatever the reason, I probably caused it.

When my children were babies, I felt guilty every time one of them got sick, or hurt. As toddlers I felt guilty every time they fell down trying to walk and I wasn’t there to catch them. I felt guilty if I was and worried they would never learn to walk on their own.

I felt guilty when I laughed when they did dumb things like tearing full tilt down the hall only to run smack into the wall. Not really hurt, but still funny in that “Three Stooges” sort of way.

Once they started school there was even more guilt. Was I doing enough to help in their class? Was I doing too much and bringing ridicule and shame on them for being the teacher’s pet?

Am I too strict, or not enough? Do I try to be too much of a friend and not enough a parent?

Just thinking about it, I spend way too much time worrying about just about everything. There, something else to feel guilty about.

When I decided to go back to work full-time after being a stay-at-home mom for more than 12 years, the quilt was incredible. How would my family survived without me? I did everything! How would they get to school? Where would they get clean clothes? The dogs would starve!

Now that one of my kids is out of the house, I feel guilty, but not sure about what.

Do I miss her too much, or not enough. I try not to call her everyday and become a helicopter parent – you know, always hovering. But, if I don’t call will she think I don’t miss her? I’m not sure yet where the happy medium is.

One thing for sure is that I’m going to call my mom and apologize for all the quilt she felt when I was going up – that was most likely my fault too.

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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

7 thoughts on “Mom guilt

  1. you have done such an awesome job raising your children. (i guess your hubby too 😉 ) they are beautifully talented and loving kids & it’s because of YOU. i hope you enjoy your brunch tomorrow! i’m excited for you! 🙂

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  2. You give me hope for me and mine: you definitely seemed to have done the exact right mix. So maybe all my guilt will ultimately be proved unfounded, too?

    Hope the brunch is fabulous.

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  3. Why as mothers are We so riddled with guilt,,,I can relate to this so much..Im feeling a bit guilty for reading this..Im sure there is something I could be doing for my kids instead …ELiza Keating

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