Saturday, May 15, 2010

mother's guilt

Walking along the boardwalk with my mom friends and watching the sunset, we were reflecting on how rewarding it is to take a little time off to ourselves every week. Then, the newest mom in the group brought up the topic of guilt. She spends 24 hours a day with her newborn: bathing, cuddling, dressing, nursing, loving. Now that her daugher is her first priority, she thinking about how to continue working from home and stay involved in the community, how to get some exercise into her schedule. Aside from the logistics of all of this is the feeling of guilt that interferes with her planning. Thoughts of taking time to be anything but a mom bring up guilt.

As we listened, we also nodded. We know the pangs of guilt all too well. Some of us are stay-at-home moms, others work from home, others work outside of the home, but all of us feel that guilt. Whether it's about taking a walk with friends, or leaving for the office every morning, the guilt is ever present. But why is it there in the first place? And why is it that our husbands don't seem to feel it?

Hoping to learn about the dads' guilt-free perspective, I did a little research on blogs and websites for dads. As it turns out, the guilt is being shared rather equitably. Stay-at-home dads feel guilt about not being the breadwinners and about taking time to themselves. Working dads feel guilty about being away from the home.

I guess guilt is par for the course. Whether it's a healthy dose or damaging to our wellbeing is up to us. How do you manage guilt?

Sites and blogs for stay-at-home dads touch on the issue of guilt


  1. For me, once I found more of a balance in my day the guilt began to wash away. Part of it may just be the passage of time. Now, even though there never seem to be enough hours in a day, and something always falls by the wayside, I can pass most of my days guilt free. (i.e. letting go of guilt for not doing laundry, or guilt for not doing a complex art project they wanted or for fixing baked chicken again, or for going to book club etc)

  2. Thanks for sharing, Cranky Mommy. I realize it's a process of letting go and some of us are better than others. I am glad you've found a good balance.