09 Sep 2013

Mom guilt. I’m getting over it.

I know in theory we all know there is no perfect mother.

In reality, however, we seem to hold ourselves to a standard of motherhood that’s insane. I mean flat out, crazy-making, cuckoo land kind of nuts.

And if that weren’t bad enough, we trick ourselves into believing we’re the only ones who fail at all. the. things. And then we beat ourselves up. And tell ourselves mean things at the end of long days.

Days spent keeping tiny humans alive and thriving.


When we’ve cooked and cleaned and commuted and brought home the bacon and washed and cleaned some more and checked the homework and sung the songs and read the books we sit down on the sofa and shake our heads and tell ourselves what bad, bad moms we are.

That’s insane. And exhausting.

And in case you thought you were the only one, here’s a small taste of the crazy that runs in wild and vicious loop through my mind on any given day:

  • You should have added pureed spinach to dinner tonight.
  • You should have remembered to buy spinach.
  • You should have been meal planning for the last four years so that spinach could have made it onto the shopping list.
  • You shouldn’t have let them watch TV while eating last night. Or this morning.
  • You should be having more meaningful dinner conversations.
  • You should have baked the birthday cake from scratch.
  • You should have bought more favors for the party gift bags.
  • You should have taught them to do their own laundry by now.
  • You should at least have a chore chart.
  • You should have done more educational activities this summer.
  • You should read more to them.
  • You should watch less TV with them.
  • You should work less.
  • You should educate more.
  • You should stop feeding them Chef Boyardee anything.
  • You should make them actually open the library books we checked out.
  • You should enjoy them more.
  • You should lose your patience less.
  • You should have a more creative system for displaying their art than just putting it up on the fridge with the magnets that come with the pizza delivery.
  • You should have built more fairy gardens instead of just giving them the leftover parts of the last vacuum cleaner to fashion into random pirate swords, wands or zombie weapons.
  • You should make home made snacks.
  • You should wash their sheets more regularly.
  • You should eat less ice cream. You should exercise more.
  • You should go to bed earlier.
  • You should be like her.

You should.

You should.

You should.

Until my head is about to split right open. Until I forget that I showed up. I parented. I made dinner. And you know what? You did too.

You showed up, you went to the parent-teacher conferences, you read the books, you worried the test scores, you prayed the desperate plea of courage. You woke up when they threw up.

You cleaned up, loved up, got up early and went to bed late.

You let her paint while you wrote that paper or report or presentation on the day the babysitter was sick.




You carried on and over and through and around all the obstacles of getting to school on time and remembering the activities and writing down the lists and buying the right size cleats and paying the fortune to attend the dance recital that you paid the lessons for all. year. long.

You listened to the spats about hair clips and jean brands and tried to find a way to build bridges over the Grand Canyons that recently caved in between best friends.

You made lunches or paid for lunches or cut sandwiches into creative Bento Box shapes and still somewhere in the back of your head something screamed, “You’re not doing enough.”

You did the car pool and got stuck in the commuter traffic backlash and lost the last chance to re-review that presentation that was due at 9am.

You built forts out of old towels and let them jump on your bed. You laughed while they braided your hair within an inch of losing your head.

You are a warrior.

You are a wonder.

You are a mighty-doer-of-grand deeds.

You are wildly under-rating yourself.

In this season of deep, up-to-the-elbows busy.

You are already doing all the things. That’s what counts. Not that you’re doing them differently than the mom at the school pick up, or around the corner or in the next row over at church.

You are mothering. You actually already are.

So go ahead, let yourself off the hook. Dish up the ice cream at 10pm and not the guilt.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I don’t know, maybe I’m unusual, but I’ve never felt like I was in the mommy guilt trap. If and when I feel guilty it seems to be over the big things. My oldest daughter/child died from AML leukemia, I have dealt with guilt on what I allowed her to be exposed to. If I discipline too severely, if I’m not in the word enough or at all. I am thankful I don’t deal with what I see as petty guilt, as I see people who do and just honestly want to shake them and tell them to get over it, it’s just not that big of a deal in the big picture.
    BTW, I do NOT think I’m better than anyone, I just have a different perspective…bury a child and I think you see that the little things aren’t the things to feel guilty over or beat yourself over.

    • 2

      Wise wisdom here, Christy. Thank you.

    • 3

      Christy thank you for this comment. I’m with you. I mostly feel like I’m doing a good job at this mom thing! And when I do feel guilty, it is over something that I probably should feel bad about and need to resolve or fix or repent of. I only have one little boy who we adopted from Russia and although I do not know the devastation of loosing a child, I think I share something in common with you: perspective. Death, disease, orphanhood, poverty etc… the things we can rightly spend on tears on. I agree; I am not better than anyone, I feel like I have been given the gift of perspective through my experiences and am thankful to have (thus far) escaped the guilt trap because of it.

    • 4

      Oh boy… I struggle with this “mom guilt”. Not only do I struggle with the little things, but I feel guilty about missing all the opportunities to do all the things I feel like I should be doing now. I have a degree in photography, and I used to be a portrait artist years ago, but I never take pictures of my kids, and I have never drawn a portrait of them! Why? I don’t know… I guess I forget on a daily basis, or I don’t have time, or heck … I don’t even know where my professional camera is. That being said, I also feel guilty about the bigger things that Christy mentioned. I haven’t lost a child, but I struggle to keep my boy alive and healthy every day with insulin injections. He’s not doing as well as he should be, and I feel so guilty that I’m making too many miscalculations about how much insulin to give him. I feel it’s somehow my fault, He hasn’t grown or gained weight since last September when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Recently, I learned he may have celiac disease in addition to it, which would account for the extreme blood sugars and failure to thrive. I hope I can learn to let go of guilt, and to not always blame myself for everything. Until recently, I didn’t even consider that he may have a condition that complicates his diabetes. Maybe, sometimes, guilt is blinding, and holds us back from seeing things how they really are. It’s not always our fault even though it feels like it is.

      • 5

        Shelly…I’ve never visited here before..but now I know why GOd directed me here today. Our daughter was ill for eighteen yrs….sick.,lethargic, stomach pain, gas, cramps, frequent colds, earaches…then finally…..an article in Prevention mag….celiac disease. It was not a sentence….it was liberation. In a year’s time she grew three inches at eighteen…she was finally getting the nourishment when gluten was eliminated. Also my husband and other daughter turned out to have celiac’s. She had miscarriages, my hubby had diverticulitis. Now we have four grandkids and husband is healed. The adjustments in cooking are just that…adjustments. But now compared to just eight years ago. There are so many more products available and not just in health food stores. The taste change is easy to tolerate and there are cookies I love. The hard thing about Celiac is that it is not easy to diagnose. We went to the doctor countless times with no answers. The real test is to elimate the gluten..be a label reader. And see health improve.
        (MY heart goes out to you. (Sorry for some repeat stuff following…on my mobile and it won’t let me scroll to delete)
        food stores. And prices are. dropping. I even find the taste appealing.

        • 6

          Laura, Thank you so much for the encouragement! I’ve personally had a very similar experience as your daughter–not gluten, but with dairy. I also really do feel liberated now. For the first time in my 40 years in my life I finally don’t feel sickly. I had no idea until a couple years ago that dairy caused me a lifelong battle of fatigue, exhaustion, arthritis, digestion, anemia, etc … since I was in grade school. I was also a very tiny child. My friends’ parents had thought my parents neglected to feed me. Though, I always ate everything, but I grew so slowly. At first I had thought my son just took after me in being tiny and short stature, but now I’m seeing that I probably had/have auto-immune issues myself that no one knew to diagnose me when I was a kid. So, I am encouraged to know that if my son’s problem is with gluten then I know it will be the solution he needs. So far, he really enjoys the new gluten-free alternatives that we’ve been trying out. He should be officially diagnosed with that in October, but until then I just can’t sit here and watch him become emaciated before my eyes (his blood sugars have been ranging between very low 40s to very high 400s) so I’ve begun to change his diet accordingly in hopes that it will be what he needs. Thank you again :-)
          ps. Thank you to Lisa-Jo, too, for posting this mom guilt topic! I’ve been plagued by guilt for a long time for my son’s poor health, and I’m just realizing that I was almost flattering myself by feeling guilty about things that are beyond my understanding.

          • 7

            ps. I want to differentiate myself from the other #13 Shelly who replied to another post below mine about the difference between petty guilt and bigger guilt. I’m not her, but for the record, though… if there’s something for me to feel guilty about I’m sure I will :-)
            – Shelly Willmann

          • 8

            Oh my my oldest is having dairy issues…cystic acme. Stopping dairy seems to be helping with that and hormones.

      • 9

        Not sure if you’ll see this, but I just wanted to reach out after your post. My daughter was dx with t1d at age 3 and I know how hard and overwhelming it can be. Numbers in growing children are just a roller coaster, no matter how much you do. Even when you do everything “right” the numbers can be crazy. The best advice I got when my girl was dx was from a t1 mom with a t1 daughter. She said, “Always remember that your child’s blood sugar number is in no way a reflection of your love for her.”

        Try to take care of yourself. It does get easier. And if you can do it financially, I’d highly recommend using the new dexcom cgm. It is a life changer. The pump has been really nice for us, too, especially with an insulin sensitive child. And it does sound like getting the celiac taken care of will take care of the growth quickly. (And I doubt I would have caught that the 1st year…) Thoughts and prayers your way.

        Sorry to hijack…

        • 10

          Kate, thanks for reaching out to me. My son was also diagnosed when he was 3 last year. His “diaversary” will be Sept 19, 2013. It’s been a very challenging year of not being within range. His A1C was a 10 a couple weeks ago. He looks horrible to me with deep circles under his eyes and very skinny. Unfortunately, he’s just not growing at all. I compared his first day of preschool pictures of him by his locker from last year at dx and this year, a year later. It’s heartbreaking. He didn’t change at all. It’s like time froze for him. I’m going to look into the dexcom cgm. They’ve told us he’s not ready for the pump yet, but I look forward to that, too. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate them. I’ll try to remember his blood sugars are not a measure for how much I love him. That helps because I keep feeling a stab of pain every time I see extreme numbers.

          • 11

            My son’s growth took a hit during the year before his T1 diagnosis. He’s been catching up. I think it’s much harder during the younger years. Insulin is a growth hormone, so as they start getting it again, they begin to grow again. Try not to worry – your son has many, many years to catch up with his growth.

    • 12
      Elizabeth Claus says:

      Christy, I’m learning day after day that life is about perspective. Thanks for yours.


    • 13

      Christy I don’t agree with you at all. I’m so sorry for your loss and can’t imagine how tough that was, but just because experiences differ does not mean that one concern over raising a child is better or worse than the other. Your concerns and guilt was on a different level, however no less or no more imortant than say my level, because of that experience.

      My guilt/concern to do everything right for my child comes from the same place and with the same objective. To love and do EVERYTHING the best I can for my child, including the little things that others may feel is “petty guilt”. There is no such thing as “petty guilt” when it comes to our children. Trying hard in all areas, no matter how “petty”, comes from a place of utter and complete love for your child and THAT is what matters… and that is NOT in any way, shape or form… PETTY.

      • 14

        as I sit here drinking a coffee in the quiet of the morning before my kids wake up, feeling guilty because a list is running through my head of the things I should be doing in stead of just sitting (laundry, emptying dishwasher, feeding the dog, planning a healthy breakfast, making my bed etc etc), all this sank in. Reality is that I am human. one person. it is okay for me to take these few minutes of quiet.

        Christy, I do not agree with you. I am truly sorry for your loss. unfortunately you invalidate other people’s feelings/guilt by cling their’s petty, because it isn’t on the same level as yours. I understand what you are trying to say, that losing a child puts things into perspective on the important things in life. but most people will not lose a child, and their ‘guilt’ is their own struggle. I won’t stop trying to love and do everything I can to the best of my ability on any given day for my children, knowing that I will fail, but yet keeping trying. And at the end of a day, I WILL feeling remorse and regret over the way things actually went and silently pray that I do better then next.

        • 15
          Jennifer Bailey says:

          JML, I have to comment on your “most people won’t lose a child”. First and foremost, let me point out some statistics for you. 46 children are diagnosed EVERY DAY with childhood cancer. So, today being the 10th, 460 children have been diagnosed this month alone. Another 7 children die daily from childhood cancer. Again, today’s the 10th…that puts the death toll for the month of Sept. at 70. And that is just childhood cancer…that doesn’t include the other causes of death in children. Childhood cancer all by itself, even without losing them, puts a whole new spin on life and parenting. “Losing children” isn’t as rare as YOU would like to make it out to be! We all try and shield ourselves from thinking that those things don’t exist, or that OUR CHILD COULD NEVER GET CANCER…but reality is….they can…and THEY DO! So, seriously, next time you want to say “most parents won’t lose a child”, you think about the 46 children that day that were diagnosed with cancer and had their lives changed forever, or the other 7 parents who had to bury their child that day. Something I hope and pray, DAILY, that no other parent will ever EVER EVER have to face. (and yes, if you can’t tell already, I am another mom of a child with brain cancer, who has watched her child face daily struggles because of the chemotherapy drugs that have been pumped in her body for the last FIVE YEARS. doing more damage to her little body than what the cancer itself has done)

          As for what we worry about and “GUILT” ourselves over…what is petty to one person is high priority to another. No matter WHAT journey God has chosen for you. So, for Christy to say that she doesn’t get worked up over the “petty stuff”, she isn’t implying that what YOU are worrying about it petty and you shouldn’t worry about it or try to do better….but that there are many areas in which SHE finds petty and SHE doesn’t worry about. Out of all the mommas who read that list of the “shoulda’s” each one of us could find two or more things on there that we would never do, and we could also turn around and find two or more things that we excessively worry about. And guess what?!?! NONE of us would match the other with our worries! Personally, I think a little worrying isn’t such a bad thing. Reason being, because 1) it does make us think about the things we do for our children…that we care enough to give them what we think is best for them and 2) it keeps us in balance with what needs to be done for our kids. In today’s society, there are so many kids who are taken away from their parents because they DON’T do what is needed for their kids. They slack off and leave kids to fend for themselves, beat them, abuse them and flat out neglect them. Little guilt’s aren’t a bad thing, because it makes us conscious of our decisions in parenting. Large guilt trips and comparing ourselves to one another is wrong though. Two different styles of parenting are just that! Neither one is better than the other~ they are just different. They both can raise a child to be great and wonderful~ so, try to find the petty things you worry about, let them go…concentrate on the big picture and raise a great and wonderful kid!

          Just my two cents, for what they are worth!

          • 16

            Jennifer, yes you definitely understood what I was saying! JML, I seriously pray you NEVER know the horror I know of watching your child be diagnosed with childhood cancer and worse die from it, but I can almost guarantee at some point in your life you’re going to meet a child or love one in some way that is diagnosed. Childhood cancer kills more children than any other disease COMBINED! Jennifer kindly already shared all the information that I was going to.
            I only was speaking for myself, no judgment towards others, my life is mine and my perspectives are mine. What I feel guilty over may or may not be something you struggle with.
            We all have our struggles and we all have things that we go through with ease and grace.
            I think we have to see where our strengths and weaknesses are in parenting, marriage, and life in general and Praise GOD for the things we don’t struggle with, pray for those who do, and ask for prayers for our struggles.

      • 17

        Oddly enough -I don’t agree with either one of you. I seem to be somewhere in the middle, so maybe I agree with BOTH. Heck -I don’t know. So many perspectives and differing opinions are what makes the world go ’round. Here’s my take.
        I have mommy guilt about NOT wanting to be all those things. I have little desire to be the all involved PTA mom, the cookie baking-house in perfect order-money to do whatever-tennis playing-dressed to the nine-mom. I am currently at home with my children when they are not in school, so my days consist of laundry and grocery shopping. I love my children to distraction, would do absolutely ANYTHING for them, but I think society -like this post so aptly mentions -totally ruins what God ordained as the responsibilities of motherhood. Keeping up with the Jonses is absolutely ridiculous and coming from an affluent community -it’s ever present. We just HAVE to stop comparing ourselves to others. The only reason I feel guilt over not wanting to be that mom is simply because “fitting in” would make my life a little easier. BUT……if our lives makes sense to those that we don’t want to become…..we are not doing something right.

      • 18

        Shan, I think you missed Christy’s point. A list of the “petty’s” was given in this blog:

        “*You should have added pureed spinach to dinner tonight.
        *You should have remembered to buy spinach.
        *You should have been meal planning for the last four years so that spinach could have made it onto the shopping list.
        *You shouldn’t have let them watch TV while eating last night. Or this morning.
        *You should be having more meaningful dinner conversations.
        *You should have baked the birthday cake from scratch.
        *You should have bought more favors for the party gift bags.
        *You should have taught them to do their own laundry by now.
        *You should at least have a chore chart.
        *You should have done more educational activities this summer.
        *You should read more to them.
        *You should watch less TV with them.
        *You should work less.
        *You should educate more.
        *You should stop feeding them Chef Boyardee anything.
        *You should make them actually open the library books we checked out.
        *You should enjoy them more.
        *You should lose your patience less.
        *You should have a more creative system for displaying their art than just putting it up on the fridge with the magnets that come with the pizza delivery.
        *You should have built more fairy gardens instead of just giving them the leftover parts of the last vacuum cleaner to fashion into random pirate swords, wands or zombie weapons. *You should make home made snacks.
        *You should wash their sheets more regularly.
        *You should eat less ice cream.
        *You should exercise more.
        *You should go to bed earlier.
        *You should be like her.”

        Worrying about these things isn’t going to make you a better mother. Even putting them into practice will not make you a better mother. Whether or not your children had a chore chart or pureed spinach in their dinner is not going to make them or break them! These are just little things to worry about, to distract and carry attention away from where it should be. It allows those voices to say, “You’re not worthy! Look what a failure you are! You’re never going to get this right!” And that’s just a defeated way of living.

        And yes, having a child die does give you a different perspective on parenting. My son died from his DPT shot. I have guilt surrounding that event, but as Christy said, I don’t have much guilt surrounding how I’ve raised my children, except for when I’ve done things that I know are not Christlike (and unfortunately, there have been a few of those.) I think Christy’s point is, love your kids. Spend time with them. Be their mother, for a day, ten years, a lifetime, however long you’re given. Cherish the time you have and don’t be distracted by little things that don’t mean anything in the big picture. Don’t let what is irrelevant pull your eyes away from what is relevant – your kids!

        • 19

          Amanda I understand what she’s saying and what you are saying. the end of your post was beautiful and dress on, but what I’ saying is that the list of things you reposted are NOT pretty. all except the ” be like her” one area things that are worth while. The action is more important I agree but it starts with the desire. If God cares enough to count the number of hairs on our head and tend to the birds I certainly think He would want us to tend to even the smallest things that pertain to our children ( such as the list above) with the utmost care and reverence, as he had trusted to us.

          • 20

            I don’t mean to pry but my husband is a physician-researcher specializing in leukemia and unless Christy is talking about second-hand smoke, I’m not sure guilt over “exposures” is any more merited than “petty” guilt over skipping veggies. I know that parents who lose children often blame themselves irrationally… I was very close to my grandmother and she did too, after my uncle was hit by a drunk driver.

          • 21

            Great Great point Lisa! No matter how big or small it seems to others.. if YOU are the one going through the guilt it all seems big. We shouldn’t compare guilts we feel just additional ways to uplift someone who is going through their own guilt with their child.

          • 22

            Lisa no prying at all. My daughter was exposed to 2nd hand smoke, from my parents who I allowed (stupidly) to smoke around her. It’s a cross that I bare and through the last 13 years I’ve learned that I have had to forgive my parents for smoking (they have quit in the last few months, PRAISE GOD!!!!), but I also know that most bereaved parents do deal with the guilt and the what if’s, etc but I can say I do it far less now, because that guilt is NOT going to bring my daughter back. I KNOW where she is and I have peace over that. I am so truly thankful for our 2 years 1 month and 8 days of her life. I’m thankful for the medical staff that GOD placed in our lives during that time.
            I’m grateful that the Lord has blessed me with 5 children since the death of our daughter and has allowed me a new perspective with them and I HOPE that I’m a better mom, because of those lessons that the Lord allowed me to learn.

      • 23

        I wasn’t comparing and that’s the thing for ME, I don’t sweat the small stuff and I do feel for ME it’d be petty, it might not be for you, but it is for ME. I love the little and the big things I do and don’t do for my kids, but I just have never personally FELT guilty if I don’t do this or that that I feel is in the minor or petty side of things. My perspective is different. I’m a bereaved mom, an Army wife, a homeschooling mom, of 5 living kids. Honestly my life would be consumed by guilt if I focused on those things. I am truly thankful to the Lord, because I know it’s ONLY through HIS GRACE that I don’t sweat the little things. If you knew me before I came to Christ, I couldn’t let go of the small things!
        God is good and I think this post is a beautiful reminder that we are to let go and let GOD. We’re to give him our troubles and concerns, big and small. If I was a person who let the small things eat at me, then I better be handing them over to him, and since I know I’m a person that it’s the big things that get to me, I work and struggle at times, to hand them over and the hardest part, to NOT take them back and try to do it myself!!
        My comment wasn’t to condemn those who have different struggles, but to say I am THANKFUL for one struggle I don’t have.

        • 24

          Guilt is the happy visitor of whatever it can get its nasty talons into. If it can’t find a place with you in the petty things, it will find its place with the bigger. Such as causes over an illness, decay in a relationship, ect. I think the exhortation you gave, “shaking the petty out” was coming from a good place. I’d like to take this exhortation a step further and tell all mommas out there to shake the guilt out. Say no to guilt and yes to conviction. I would love to see an article written on that. I think the author touched on how to do this a little bit.
          Also, I see a lot of confusion between exhortation and condemnation. Condemnation comes from a mean spirited person where exhortation comes from one who has truly suffered and forgiven. Christy, you are not mean spirited and you never invalidated anyone here. Only exhorted. And as you have shared, you have and are still doing the work to put the guilt you are facing in your own life in its proper place. Good for you!

    • 25

      I agree with you, Christy. My children are grown and all that they will remember is how you made them FEEL. That’s what is important. When children are growing up, all they care about is being loved and there are a million ways to show it….There were plenty of things that I hated as a child, and I made sure to do the exact opposite with mine.

    • 26

      Christy, Unfortunately, I have lost 2 daughters at the same time and I know what you are saying. My oldest will be 20, my youngest will be 8 (the girls were 13 and 15 when they passed) and I have learned not to beat myself up and live in the moment. It’s the little things to treasure and make memories, not always rules…

      • 27

        I agree, Lisa! You’re in my prayers sweet sister in your own grief (no matter how far out you are).

    • 28

      Christy, I completely understand. Unfortunately, I lost 2 daughters at the same time in an accident. My oldest is 20 and my youngest is 8 (the girls were 13 and 15 at the time) and looking back, I hope I have learned that it’s not who I try to be like, but that my girls knew that they were loved and secure in this crazy world…

    • 29
      Jennifer Bailey says:

      Christy~ I just want to say that I am so sorry for the loss of your child! Childhood cancer is a rotten beast and I pray several times a day for a cure! I have watched my own daughter go through cancer treatment for just over 5 years now, and it is NO PICNIC! Please know that you have my deepest sympathy, and that you and your family will remain in my prayers~ as I know it is certainly a pain that never goes away. Blessings to your family~ Jennifer


    • 30

      I too buried a child. My daughter died the day she was born, so I never had those “firsts” of anything with my first child. My second child I had the mommy guilts bad because I felt like I wasn’t doing “enough”. Shouldn’t I treasure this child even more because he lived? My third child was my wake up call. Don’t sweat the small stuff. So what if they had pizza for dinner five out of the past six Tuesday nights. At least I wasn’t stuck in the kitchen for hours making it from scratch. Nope, we drove together to the pizza shop, they each got what they wanted on their half and we drove home and had a picnic. It’s the little things. Find the balance that works for your family. Took me a while to find mine.

  2. 31

    I read a book recently by a mom who moved from France to the U.S. She said it was easier to be a working mom in France than a stay-at-home mom in the U.S. because the expectations are so ridiculously high here. Somehow as a nation we have created a culture of “not good enough.” So sad.

  3. 33

    Ah, yes. Captain Should and Commander Ought. The banes of every mother. Well, them and the Joneses (as in, keeping up…). Remember this: you’re all they’ve got (a friend told me this years ago, and it stuck). And if that’s all they have, thats all. they. know. It’s their normal. They WILL grow up, and you WILL have more meaningful conversations over Chef Boyardee (or Papa John). And they will remember all the fun you had splashing through mud puddles, or “washing” with shaving cream in the tub, or ice cream for dinner. And it will be enough.

  4. 35

    Thank you for sharing. Quite a few of those “you should’ve” has been going through my mind since school started.

  5. 36

    Oh good lord, thank you for the inspiring post. Why is it so easy to see all the things we were “supposed” to do, but we never take time to keep track of all we have done?

    Even when I have a to-do list and keep it simple, if I finish it, I still feel defeated, thinking, “I should have added this to the list or done extra.”

    No one told me when I was pregnant that along with giving birth to my beautiful girl, not only did I get to keep the impossible-to-lose 10 extra pounds of baby weight, but I also got to experience the joy of constant Mom Guilt! Now, that should be included in the “What to Expect …” books!

  6. 37

    Dear Lisa Jo,

    I hope that you are truly not going to allow mothering guilt to plague you. Freedom is a great and noble aspiration, as is approving of yourself as a mother. As a grandmother of six, and mother of two successful, professional grown-up children, who are great parents, I will confess that I still look back at long-ago days and wish that I had things differently, better, with more patience, and on and on. I tell myself that I did the best that I could, the best that I knew. My children are great people, faithful to God and fruitful in the world, but I still wish that I could re-wind some of our stories. Once, I asked one of my children to forgive me for some failing from the past. The child had no memory of it at all, and I had been suffering from the guilt of my imperfection for so long! I read your posts, and I commend your love and honesty. I pray that the forgiveness that you extend to others overflows on to you, and that the understanding heart that encompasses so many in your circle will wrap itself around you, as well.

  7. 38

    This reminds me of what a wise friend once told me. “Stop should-ing on yourself.”

  8. 39

    You know, just this morning I was telling my best friend on the way to work that I had an unexpected bout of mommy guilt (not typical for me) because my daughter and I were working on some bathroom skills this weekend, And I knew they wouldn’t be worked on anymore this week while I’m working. Then I realized as I heard myself talking … For me, mommy guilt is a label I use when I’m feeling sorry for ME. For me, it’s self pity. Really? If I felt like I was doing something worth feeling guilty about? I’d change the situation.

    From now on I’m going to filter the self pity out of my mommy guilt. My guess? I’ll realize just how great a mother I already am to these little lives of my life.

    And I bet the same is true for all of your readers.

    Thanks, Lisa Jo, for your constant encouragement.

  9. 40
    Diane Samson says:

    Great words of wisdom. You are so right! We beat ourselves up for what we think are failures and don’t look at the good we have done for our families. I am often trying to make myself better or do more or just be a better mom, especially when I find out I have failed in a certain area. For me, it goes back to my parents lacking in parental skills. And I don’t want to be like them. But I also know, that somewhere in between is God’s grace. When we are supposedly great and when we are supposedly horrible. God’s grace covers us.

  10. 41

    Well ok then. I will. You make a pretty convincing argument!

  11. 42

    Every blog post of yours makes me cry. You speak the feelings in my own heart before I can even put words to them. I am guilty of the guilt (ha!). But perhaps what I feel the most guilty of is the anger I feel seething inside of me for what seems like ALL OF THE TIME. I’m not sure if I’m just really sleep deprived, or if there is something wrong. I have three little people, 7 and under. Shouldn’t I be having more fun? Or is that just another crazy expectation we’ve put on ourselves? Did our mothers have fun? Did they expect to have fun? Or did they all feel the same as us, angry and tired and guilty, minus the pressures of Pinterest?

    • 43

      That deep, senseless anger can be a symptom of postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. I went through it myself (and have spoken with other women who have experienced it as well). It’s really horrible and after a while you just start to think “well maybe this is just how it is, maybe this is just how everyone feels but no one wants to talk about it,” but that’s NOT just how it is or how it’s supposed to be. If you think there might be something wrong, it’s really worth talking to someone about it. I wish I had done so sooner, because I feel I missed out on so much joy because of that anger and unhappiness that was a part of my PPD.

    • 44

      I totally had that, too. Boiling, intense anger. It was PPD and once I was treated for it- well, life is so sweet. Please, get help.i started with calling my doc. It can be better!!

      • 45

        Can I ask what your treatment was exactly? I know I suffer from depression in general and had PPD. My youngest is now 6 and I was given medication for it. I have tried several times to stop taking the medication and the anger always returns. I have taken the medicine just because the heartbreak from being a grouchy mom is way more painful than the numbness I feel on medicine. I have stopped taking the medicine. I want to deal with my issues in another way. The side effects of medicine are so numerous. I was hoping you could elaborate. This is just not an issue that comes up on in conversation on playdates…:)

        • 46

          I’m on Wellbutrin, the time release one. Pretty low dose. I also got physical therapy to help me with post partum injuries due to two close pregnancies (in a nutshell, my abs were shot). That helped me become active again, which raises my mood and beats back the anxiety/anger. I went to talk therapy for a little while, a therapist I see whenever I lose control of my symptoms. She gave me some strategies. Getting help so I could get away for an hour or so a week, getting back into my yoga practice, and letting go of perfect and pursuing my creative pursuits whenever I can at home, sometimes fifteen minutes at a time. Being present with my kids instead of thinking about where is rather be or what chores I need to do is huge. All of these things helped tremendously. I don’t feel numb on my med, and I suspect your dose is too high if you do. Maybe try a different med if lowering your dosage doesn’t help.
          I’m willing to bet if you did bring something like this up at a playgroup you’d have more moms dealing with the same stuff than you think! Good luck- and don’t give up. It can and will be better than numb or angry. You have to find your right balance.

        • 47

          There are so many options out there to treat depression. I know, I have been on many of them. I was resistant to it the first year or so, but having tried to go without, I realize now that my life is soooooo much better on the medication and I will need to be on it the rest of my life. And that’s ok! I’d rather be on meds and be the best mom I can be & not have that ‘rabid’ feeling towards other people.
          Unfortunately, dealing with a situation where you need medication comes with it’s own guilt. The guilt from the ‘deal with it naturally’ camp. The ‘pull yourself up from your bootstraps’ camp. You know what? THEY don’t live your life. You know what works. There are so many different options out there, and not one fits all. So keep trying until you find something that is tolerable. Right now I am on meds that made me gain a lot of weight, and I hate that. But I would rather be fat and have good relationships with those around me, than be a skinny wife, mom, and co-worker who is hateful most of the time. I can truly say that with no guilt.

          And unrelated to Rose’s post, I must say the lack of sympathy for the mothers who posted that they have lost a child, who were just trying to make a point of ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ truly saddens me. The defensive responses were posted by the moms who needed to get that message the most. May your children not suffer because of it.

          • 48

            I too think it would have been nice to see (or read that) fellow moms in this thread would show more compassion, love, kindness, and sympathy towards the moms on here who have suffered (and continue to suffer) through the loss of a child…their advice to ‘not sweat the small stuff’ is insightful and wise. As a mom who has raised her children (mine are both in college now), I would advise (if you don’t mind hearing another opinion) those of you who are still getting to experience daily parenting, to enjoy the moments because they truly are fleeting. Soon, you will be wishing that you had kept a journal so that you could relive some of the fleeting moments that so easily fade from our memories. Don’t waste the time you do have comparing yourself to anyone else! My advice in a nutshell: Be in the moment and get off of your cell phones and computers, quit comparing yourselves to others and just be the best mommy you can be to the sweet children God has blessed you with for whatever amount of time you get to “keep” them!

          • 49

            Thank you so so much for responding. Just knowing I am not the only one who struggles daily with this is such a comfort and relief. For a long time, I just told myself that I had to take a pill everyday and that was just the way it was. It has always been so much more important to be a happy mom than the mom who is annoyed at every little thing. The biggest issue is that it completes zaps any sexual interest that I have and I feel like I have to choose spouse or kids. My husband says he understands, but I don’t know how you can possible have a successful marriage without somewhat of a sex life. And I miss intimacy with my husband. I miss feeling close to him too.

            Again, thank you so much for responding. All of you. You have been an immense blessing to me in sharing your struggles openly. I have a really hard time sharing my struggles with others. I feel guilt about it when it seems that someone else has a bigger life issue going on. Loss of a child, divorce, financial turmoil. I need to remember we each have different times of loss and trial and that the most important thing is to be open, to listen to others and to share the experiences in our lives.

  12. 50

    Thank you for this timely post…the Should’a Woulda’ Coulda’ has crept back in this week…there is never enough time and the whole back to school thing is enough to make me run for cover in the pantry( in tears) waving a white flag of surrender! The whole point is to just surrender isn’t it? Then to fall into His grace… before we exhaust ourselves with expectations. LOVE this post Lisa!

  13. 51

    Amazing. Thank for these words of kindness and understanding on a day when I needed it so badly.

  14. 52
    Rebekah Mathers says:

    My daughter has a health issue right now. Drs say it’s treatable and there is a chance it may not be recurring. I have been crying for days while I am alone. And whenI am not alone I have been grocery shopping for special popsicles, and manning the bouncy house, and spending hours on my feet in the blazing hot sun at the amusement park, and worrying over brands of soap and bandaging skinned knees and finding the right shows and evening dance parties and twirl demands and hair braiding and story reading and……I am so exhausted and stressed out. I have called the specialists and missed a ton of work and consequently missed bill payments. And I have beaten myself up for not making enough money at the job that keeps me from being at home. And I have a headache every day. And I can’t turn the tv off at night when I am alone bc all I do is cry. And I read your blog posts and I feel it. I feel understood somehow, somewhere in all of this crazy. Thank you

  15. 54

    I am so done with the comparing, the guilt, the battle. I want my girls to see a mom who lives in the present, not in the past filled with regret and guilt.

  16. 55

    great post… you speak words of life and truth to so many women.. thank you for that!

  17. 56

    I love this post, Lisa-Jo. :) My oldest is six and I’m just now coming out into a glorious meadow of “I don’t care anymore!” Well, I might not take it that far, but I’m letting go of the guilt big time and giving my poor tired self a break. There are SO MANY good things that mothers can do…maybe we should look back at a month or even a year and think about what a lot of wonderful things we’ve done. We can only do so much in one day.

    I thought the one where you said to wash the sheets more regularly was funny, cause it’s my goal to actually wash them less… :) Bed wetters.

  18. 57

    Love this. As always. Thanks Lisa-Jo.

  19. 58

    Thank you so much for this post today. I had one of those days where nothing seems to go right and nothing seems to be enough. Thanks for the reminder that all I do is enough. I can so relate! Hugs! Heidi

  20. 59

    BRAVO!!! This deserves a solid, loud, hearty AMEN. Well written and well said, sister. We actually are already doing the work. Let’s just please end the crazy.

  21. 60

    Thanks for your honesty Lisa Jo. So refreshing! My kids are 26,14 and 9. I feel like I should be doing a better job, but I am learning to extend grace to others and myself as well. Jesus is all the perfection they need! Yay Jesus! I must be doing a little better. I’m hiding in my room while the girls navigate their evening routines without me. I even turned out the light so maybe they won’t find me in here. Lol. I must be really tired. I find myself very amusing tonight. Better stop before I regret it.

  22. 61

    Praise Jesus I needed this tonight, Lisa-Jo. It was a terribly difficult day. Some moms dealing with bigger issues might beg for a day like mine — this I am reminded by a friend of mine — but today was rough for me. My level of anxiety in the day banks upon my level of sleep the night before. I got 4 hours of sleep last night due to my 5 yr old wetting the bed in the middle of the night for the 5th night in a row. I then woke up, pulled myself out of bed and got two kiddos off to school. Then I pushed myself away from the desire for more sleep and I worked my butt off around the house. I have been a working mom since January and I am now a SAHM again — against my will to a degree — and I cleaned A LOT! My brother came over and helped us re-arrange some furnature to which he exclaimed, “Do you really need all this c–p!?” Then after getting kiddos home, feeding snacks and running errands I cooked dinner and then cleaned the house some more. I played with one kiddo while the 5 yr old dd had a serious meltdown with Daddy — a regular occurance these days.
    These are the nights where I sit at my computer, covered in dust on my third outfit dusty from cleaning (I hate being dirty), and crave the chocolate cake and icecream I know is in the kitchen calling me. I just want to sob that I have no idea why my daughter still melts down after 3 years. I want to cry that my 8 yr old feels obligated to behave because her sister doesnt. I want to cry because maybe I am doing something wrong? Why is she still wetting the bed? I just feel lost sometimes! Then I read your blog and I remind myself of my own blog posts and notes to myself. I remind myself that God has good plans for me AND my children (Jer 29:11-13). I remind myself that this too will pass and I should bloom where I Am planted. Being a mom is so stinkin hard though, Lisa-Jo, and it leaves me wondering what made God think I could do it?
    Sigh. Then I feel silly and feel judged that I let such small things bring me down so low. She will get over bed wetting. I will make it through these phases of fussy times. My daughters will.be.okay!
    Thank you for your blogs. Blog on!
    ~Maggie, Super Mom *in Christ alone*

  23. 62

    And the mamas said, “AMEN.”

    (Also? This mama says, “Umm…spinach? Please. Ain’t nobody got time for that!”)

  24. 63

    I love you. And that is all. (But not really… because there is always more… mostly – for now – this: I SAW you at 10pm tonight and you looked rested and at peace and not at all under the heavy weight of Mom Guilt…so I hope this means that you preached to your own self and let it just soak in deep!)

  25. 64

    Thanks for the words of encouragement Lisa! :)

  26. 65

    I just do my best and when things go crazy, I hum circus music and everyone else hums along. If they get 1-3 servings of fruits and veggies in a day I feel like I’ve accomplished much! Great post, encouraging and splendid (as usual!!)

  27. 66

    Thank you! I’m reading this at midnight, and your words really ring true! (Yes, I should go to bed earlier ;) )

  28. 67

    Oh, thank you for this post! I’ve been thinking about the same thing A LOT lately. It’s time to let go of the mommy guilt and enjoy this season! It won’t be around forever. Thank you again!

  29. 68

    I laughed at this: You should stop feeding them Chef Boyardee anything. Lol. Love the realness on your Blog, and as a new mommy, I really enjoy reading your posts on my feeds.

    • 69

      My kids would be lost without Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meat balls :) #LoveThem

      • 70
        Jean Marmion says:

        That’s so funny – my daughters have all LOVED the spaghetti and meat balls (I always tried to convince myself that at least they were getting the protein with the meat balls (if you can call them “meat”), while the smell always got to me! LOL!! My 21 year old still LOVES it! Go figure . . .

  30. 71

    I have a 4 monthl old baby girl and only last night I was saying to my husband, ‘do you think I can be a good mom?’ His response was ‘You’re already a great mom!’ and then he literally said, And I’ll bop you on the head if you say that again!’ Apparently I say it a lot! So, point taken, I’ll cut myself some slack and stop underrating myself. Thanks.

  31. 73

    Thank you Lisa-Jo! As always, right on time! I am so thankful to have found your blog. You are genuine and your words are like healing balm right to the hearts of most of us moms! You know, many times I have those “you should have…” thoughts floating around in my head and I don’t even identify them as the peace robbing, self-deprecating guilt trips that they are! Whether our guilts are big or small, petty or not, they are ours, and they are robbing us of the peace that the Prince of Peace intends for us! You help us remember we are not alone in our imperfection, thank you for this community!

  32. 74
    Brooke Conner says:

    But, what do you SAY, after they scream “I hate you?”” What do you say?

    • 75

      You say “I love you” with a loving smile because they don’t mean it. I woke up this morning to two text messages and a missed call from my 16 year old son. Made my heart stop and stomach ache to think I was not there for him. Had my phone on vibrate, which I never do. Instantly felt Mom guilt for not being there at 12am to help him with some homework. I went and told him to please knock on my bedroom door next time. I keep it shut to keep the dogs in, not him out. I asked him if I could help this morning; with a confident tone of voice he said he figured it out. His response and achievement made me realize I have been an awesome mother. A mother who has taught her son to be resourceful and confident in himself. So, with all the ways I felt I had not been there for him, I realized at that moment that all the things I have done for him has made him an awesome young man. :)

    • 76

      Hey Brooke,

      Maybe the answer also depends on how old your kids are. But I tell mine (all under 8) that saying we hate you is unacceptable in our family. They can be mad, they can express their frustration, they can kick a ball real hard if they need to. But hate is not OK and they get a time out away from the rest of us until they’re ready to with the family again. It’s hard though, isn’t it? It makes me so mad and sad at the same time. And mine have said it and we’re working real hard to wean them off it. Hang in there – you’re not alone.

      • 77
        Jean Marmion says:

        I agree with Lisa Jo if they are young. My girls were older when they started (11, 12) and all 3 of them did it one time or another. The thing that worked with them was, I ignored it when they said it because I knew they didn’t mean it. BUT, later, when tempers had died down, I sat down with them and calmy told them how it DID hurt my feelings, even though I knew they didn’t mean it. I also asked them how they would feel if I were to say those words to them in anger, even knowing I didn’t mean them. When they actually thought about how it would feel to hear me say it to them, it made them think twice. I think I only heard it once more from one of them, and she was so apologetic afterwards. But the child obviously has to be old enough to understand the situation, meaning and the outcome. And, yes, it does make you mad and sad. And of course it’s even more shocking, knowing I would have NEVER spoke to my parents like that. These kids have so much to deal with and unfortunately my kids had an alcoholic and abusive father to deal with, so there was a TON of anger going on. Again, this just goes to show how all of our struggles and guilt are different, because simply all of our lives are so different. And, yes, I try not to sweat the small stuff.
        It was always difficult for me to have any sympathy for a SAH mom complain ….. when I had to work 60 hours a week, was a single mother of 3, and dealing with an alcoholic and abusive husband and divorce. I just wanted to slap them, and tell them they didn’t realize how good they had it, but now I see we all stress over different things, yet it all boils down to wanting to be a good mom to those blessings God has so graciously given us. I look back on those times, and I am the woman I am now because of what God taught me. Unfortunately I learn the hard way, always have! And my daughters are the young women they are today because of what God taught them, in spite of my mistakes!
        Brooke, always remember your kids LOVE you! Bottom line!

  33. 78

    Wow did I need that this morning. I was crying last night to my husband trying to explain my mom guilt and you described it beautifully. Thank you for the encouragement. We all need this!

  34. 79

    Definitely needed this today: four kids, full time job, college courses, addition on our house, and my precious grandmother dying of cancer.

    Talk about the mom guilt. Every.single.day.

    Thank you.

  35. 80

    I struggle SO much with mom guilt. Regular mom guilt and as an added bonus, I’m chronically ill, so I get to have chronic-ill-mom guilt to boot! ;) Thank you for this. Very much needed. <3 God bless.

  36. 81

    And then there is the guilt of “What did I do wrong, I am a complete failure as a parent”. When your kid comes home with bad grades (highest is a 78), has an attitude a MILE long, is ungrateful, never satisfied no matter how much you give/do for him, talks back to EVERYONE. I go from he’ll never graduate school this way, never be able to hold down a job, to he will end up homeless and it’s ALLLLLL MY FAULT. Even though we did not ever set that example of ME ME ME. Parenting is NOT for sissy’s. I understand why parents only post about their kids high points, but those of us who are struggling feel all alone. Thanks for this.

  37. 82

    I feel that “Mom Guilt” comes from comparing ourselves to someone else, and I won’t do that. I know and remember what I hated as a child and I made sure that I did the opposite with my children. While I do regret some decisions I made in certain areas, I don’t have any “Mom Guilt”.

    • 83

      …And, I feel validated now that my four children are grown and tell me that they will raise their children the same way.

  38. 84

    I so needed this. Thanks for the reminder!

  39. 85

    Love! So many of us deal with this! Thanks do much for posting!

  40. 86

    I’ve decided to outlaw the word “should” from my vocabulary. I only try to use “want” and “need”. Makes a difference!!

  41. 87

    Woah. So encouraging, so great to hear. I’m a Christian mom who works out of the home full-time. Guilt rides next to me daily. But when I’m with them, I’m there and I’m on. And I’m loving them with all my heart. And I’m providing for my fam and God’s calling me to do that in this season. Again, my thanks.

  42. 90

    Thank you!!! This is EXACTLY what I needed today! I can’t tell you how many times a day I look in the mirror & say to myself ” I’m a bad mom because…” OR ” Why can’t I be like her?” I need to embrace the mom God created me to be. And know that I am good enough. And I know my kids aren’t lacking anything. God Bless you!!!

  43. 91

    I love your pictures and words. You always nail those thoughts that flash through a moms mind in any given day…spinach…less tv….etc. I’m remembering back to your list of 100 ways you know you’re a mom. That one about rerunning the laundry a couple times because it sat in the washer and didn’t get dried. So many moms can relate. I so respect and admire the moms that cant relate, but most of us just have days where knowing you’re not in it alone breathes life into weary mommyhood days. Thank you for being such an honest encourager to moms everywhere. You are amazing and inspiring!

  44. 92

    Seriously seriously needed this today. I have a big dose of mom guilt every day being a full-time working mom….Thank you for writing this.

  45. 93

    I feel for moms that are raising children today. I raised my kiddos in the 80/90’s. As a teacher I have seen the hoops moms of today have to jump to raise their kids in the social norm of today, and I don’t know how they do it! A bigger and better party every year, keeping up with the latest styles, keeping their children involved in after school activities multiple days a week. The list goes on and on! My guilt stems from, after the fact, the “should haves”, or poor choices I made during parenting. Years after the fact I have actually apologized to my children, and they have no clue what I’m referring to! So the bottom line, love your children and do the best you can. With God’s grace it will all come out in the wash.

  46. 94

    Seriously needed this, am in the mommy/wife/woman spiral as we speak……so true. What helps is I make a list of all I actually accomplish throughout each day & try to look at it from the outside….I usually get a lot done, but when I,look around & my house is still a mess I could ,scream! THANKS!

  47. 95

    I want to say YES to all of these feelings. I’m continuously beating myself up every. Single. Day. All. Day. Really. Also, I have buried a child. It did not change anything. We, as moms, by sharing our insecurities and crazy day stories and lifting each other in prayer are the best therapy for each other.

  48. 96

    amen. hallelujah. and praise ye the Lord!!!!

    this is my kids 3rd year to go to public school after being homeschooled their entire lives – and i, a child of homeschool myself!! so the circles we come from pu..public school is a dirty word. ;)) but i have found and am finding freedom from the mom guilt and the whole “what if they end up pregnant and on drugs and everyone will say it’s because we didn’t homeschool!!!” fear as well!!!! clinging to the truth that God leads us all differently and our kids turn out not because of us {what we do and don’t and homeschool or public} but more often than not, in spite of us. and only because of His grace!

    so appreciated this shot in the arm to keep looking UP and carry on!!!!!

    big hug from this fellow Chef Boyardee mama.

  49. 97

    Brooke, this may be worth a try. I started telling mine “but I still love you” and continued on with whatever I was doing when she said she hated me. It didn’t happen too many more times after I started responding that way. She was usually saying that when she was tired/hungry/didn’t like what she was told, etc. Because she was already in that prime meltdown/sassy state, it usually brought on tears and her saying she’s sorry and she really doesn’t hate me and I would have to take a minute and comfort her. I don’t know how yours may respond.

  50. 98

    Lisa-Jo, this is my first visit. What a wonderful site you have and how nice to see you touching so many lives. Even at 60 I still have guilt about my ‘bad days’ when my girls were growing up…your words today refreshed me.

  51. 99

    so perfectly true. this should be printed out and given to every single new mom. :)

  52. 100

    Brilliantly said. I have a very good friend of mine who said ” You know that voice in your head that judges you at every turn? If that was an actual person you would never be friends, you’d steer clear of her. Your friends are someone who will support you, has your back and yet you’re listening and really believing that voice. What if that voice was a person criticizing your daughter, mother ,husband what would you do? You know what you’d do And yet we listen and believe the voice. We need to turn down Nelly. She’s just not nice.

  53. 101

    A friend wrote this on a card for my baby shower:
    “Your may not be the best mom in the whole world, but you WILL be the BEST MOM to your kids. That’s all what matters.”
    I try to remember that when the mommy guilt starts to bury me in doubt and “shoulds.” Thank you for your words of reminder. Especially as we dive into the school year – I gotta set realistic expectations for myself. Fancy bento lunches – no. Hugs and kisses – yes.

  54. 102

    This post was beautiful. It was raw and honest and real. I loved it. Then I made the grave error or reading through the comments and within .5 seconds I was beyond ticked. And reminded of why I sometimes really dislike women sometimes. A woman left a comment with enough transparency as to say that she had lost a child and in that moment of making herself vulnerable, in hopes of encouraging others to look at life with different perspective, BAM!…someone beats her up with a cold, thoughtless, lacking of information comment. Just because they can. I just don’t get it. I would enjoy blogs like this so much more I think if comments were disabled. Sad.

  55. 103

    Amen, Lisa-Jo!! God has been putting priorities on my heart this week, as my grandpa lies on his deathbed. There is so much we could do as mothers, so much the world tells us we should be doing. But then there’s what God wants us to do… just love, day in and day out, and share His truth. Everything else is extra. We moms need so badly to remember whose we are, how dearly loved we are, and how deep God’s grace penetrates. Thanks for this reminder. :)

  56. 104

    Yes. In whatever way we relate or don’t relate with the “literals” of this post, I think we all feel it one way or another. Christy feels guilt over her child dying. Different, obviously, but also *not* different. Understandable, that she would. But, she (and we all) need(s) to hear what this post is saying. Don’t beat yourself about it. Whether it’s big or “small”. Some of us are having strong reactions to the post. I think it probably points to something in all of us that is touched by what it says. And that’s different for each one. Some because they’ve lost a child. Others because they are wracking their brains and broken-hearted as they watch their children suffer with deadly disease. Others still because they don’t care about the PTA. We can all relate in one way or another. And, to those moms that feel they are dealing with the “big” stuff: You don’t have to feel guilty either. The “things you’ve done wrong” aren’t the reasons your kids are sick or died.

    I told a pregnant friend the other day that once you become a mother it really is like “joining a club”. Let’s hold hands as moms and celebrate what we all felt the day we became mothers. However different that may be for each of us it is very much the same in the ways that matter. Heck…as women. As people. Let’s just share in our humanity.

  57. 105

    I think this problem is something that women deal with whether or not they are mothers too. We are so used to people and society using shame and guilt to make us do things that we use the same tools against each other and against ourselves.

    The day I realized this I became a lot happier because I stopped caring about what others thought and I didn’t let myself feel guilty over things that I shouldn’t feel guilty for. I just try to live in the moment and make the best decisions I can for myself and move forward. I was tired of feeling guilty or ashamed for eating whatever I wanted. I was tired of feeling guilty because I hadn’t thought to make decisions based on EVERYONE ELSE’S feelings and not my own. I was tired of feeling like crap about myself and I realized I only felt that way because I was always being compared to other people by them and by myself.

    Whatever you choose to do as a mom, you shouldn’t feel guilty for it. If you want more time to yourself, you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself too. You shouldn’t be shamed or guilted by people who think you don’t put your kids first all the time. If you want to devote 110% of time to your kids people shouldn’t be saying things like “it’s a shame” you didn’t do more for work/career instead. If you want to let them watch tv cause you’re too dang tired, it’s FINE. It’s YOUR life. Stop feeling guilty for trying to be happy and doing what you want.

  58. 107

    Boy did this spark some controversy . . . Everyone’s perspective is different. All we can do is do our best and be grateful for what we have. There are so many women who cannot and will never have a child and, as stated in this blog, have lost a child or are deal with a child’s terminal illness. I would never discount anyone’s mom guilt, no matter how small or petty some might think and I am beyond grateful that my child is healthy. It is not something I take for granted. We all love our children beyond measure and there is nothing wrong with wanting to do everything in the world to keep them happy, healthy and safe but the reality is, they will love us even if we can’t do it all. As they say on Nick, Jr. “We’re not perfect, we’re parents”. :) I have to tell myself that all of the time . . . :)

  59. 108
    Monica Caston says:

    Loved your article, so honest. Perhaps you are being a good mom by not giving your kids everything we think they need. Nothing worse than a generation of, “Self entitled” kids. Then they grow up to be self entitled adults and the rest of us have to deal with them. I welcome a little mommy guilt now and then it makes me check in with myself. To all you working mothers out there who say you have guilt. Well, I have guilt for not bringing in another paycheck or showing my kids a strong work ethic by getting up and going to work every day. So the grass is never greener… Cheers.

  60. 109

    A friend linked to your post on her Facebook feed, and then a little farther down I read this prayer that another friend had posted. I think it fits:

    “As someone who too often frets and gets anxious, I am very fond of this prayer by St. Francis de Sales:

    Be at peace.
    Do not look forward in fear to the changes and chances of this life;
    Rather, look to them with full confidence that, as they arise,
    God, to whom you belong will in His love enable you to profit by them.
    He has guided you thus far in life,
    and He will lead you safely through all trials;
    and when you cannot stand it,
    God will bury you in His arms.

    Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
    the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
    will take care of you then and everyday.
    He will either shield you from suffering,
    or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
    Be at peace, then, and put aside all
    anxious thoughts and imaginations. Amen

    – See more at: http://peopleforothers.loyolapress.com/2013/09/be-at-peace/#sthash.1K9Yn5tZ.dpuf

  61. 110

    A post I am sure all moms can identify with. Thank you Lord for freedom in Christ! If that mat can be purchased I would sure love as a daily reminder as I come and go!

  62. 111

    Thank you for this. After a long summer of being jealous of my stay at home mom friends my working mom guilt is about to break my heart into a million pieces. It gets in the way of my genuine happiness for my friends who are so excited that their kids are back in school and they can have a minute to themselves. What I wouldn’t give for even one more hour in the day with my boys. Your piece reminds me that I am doing my best – I am loving them – and still making their lunches and playing legos and mothering through the night and oh so many things. I am letting it go!

  63. 112

    I think LJ’s point has been lost in the discussion. What I hear her saying is this – We all feel mom guilt. Cut yourself some slack. You got up today and loved your family today. IT IS ENOUGH. Relax now.

    • 113

      Loved your comment. Extend grace to others and ourselves. No need to get lost in comparing whose guilt is worse or not. They original post was great and I think at some point in our lives we experience this if not on a daily basis.

  64. 114

    I’m literally at work (new mom to a 9 mo old who works full-time, not that you asked) reading this and I’m literally crying and I literally didn’t expect to. I don’t think of myself as a mom-guilt kind of gal, but your stinking list hit some weird part of my soul that unleashed the tears. Even though my hubs and I live a way simple life and say no to pretty much everyone and everything right now, I guess there’s an internal battle taking place in me to feel okay (instead of lame) about this. I’m doing enough and I am enough. Phew.

  65. 116

    Oh my goodness- what an absolutely beautiful post. As I was reading I couldn’t help but think: “Holy moly- she has been reading my mind!” What a great reminder that we are already “doing it”. Thank you for reminding us to take care of ourselves at this busy, busy time.

  66. 117

    Stop shoulding on yourself hunny ! Thank you for your kindness to everyone. Same back to you x

  67. 118

    Thankyou so much for this post :) I found it via FB and its really encouraged me! Have a good one xx

  68. 119

    I cannot believe someone else thinks my thoughts! I’m shocked, and grateful. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been drowning in negative self-talk recently and I REALLY needed to hear this.

  69. 120

    *Sniff* thanks lisa jo, you are my hero! :)

  70. 121
    Julie Becker says:

    I had a similar epiphany the day before mother’s day as I chatted with an AMAZING mom friend who felt so vulnerable about if she was a good enough mom. I was moved by this and made a public vow to do my part in this cycle and let go of my mommy guilt. It changed my life and made me and my family much happier. If you want to read the promise I made to myself, here is a link:

  71. 122

    This piece brought tears to my eyes! Yes, in this era of Pinterest and Facebook boasting we can be left feeling like we aren’t doing enough, or doing it well enough. For those who have suffered true tragedy and heartbreak, it makes sense that the minor guilts in life do not haunt you at night. I think it is our human nature to always strive to improve and do the best job we can, so at the end of the day we review the details and see where we can do better tomorrow. Because some of us Moms do not have the big things to focus on, it may be natural to fret over whether we offer enough nutrition and variety in our kiddo’s lunchbox. This doesn’t mean that we are frivolous or petty, it means that our self-awareness is at work and we are striving to be better. I agree, we need to be more gentle on ourselves, and as Moms we need to bolster each other, not tear each other down. Thank you for an article that does just that!

  72. 123

    I saw the link posted about this and couldn’t read it that day. Because I was in the thick of it. MOM GUILT. After my daughter has reminded me about 27 times this week that I’m not her boss, not her mom, I suffer from stupidity and never do anything to help her. I knew it wasn’t true…but coming out of a 10 year olds mouth …stings! My sons never behave this way and are floored at her behavior. My guilt with her started about three years ago when I thought she was coming down with the flu and ended up paralyzed from the chest down. The drs were wrong and I was right. I knew my girl—but I didn’t listen to my gut. That is a box I can’t begin to open…because oh the mom-guilt….

    • 124

      Casey, I would love to talk to you by email if possible about how you have gotten through this trial. I am going through a health trial, and guilt, with a child right now and would love to talk to someone who has been there. Your post is old but maybe you will see this anyway.

  73. 126

    The Lord is so kind. I needed to read this today. This morning, as I sadly cried over the cappacino my husband brought to me in bed, as he does every morning, I was beating myself up over “what am I doing wrong or not doing right” since our daughter had a 2-color change in First Grade yesterday. I just knew this morning I was failing our daughter and could not talk myself to my pollyannaville even if my life depended on it. Throughout the day I reminded myself of how blessed I am and being 9/11 helped me to remember we are all healthy and that a 2-color change is NOT THE END OF THE WORLD! I am superwoman, but there our days when I forget, so thank you for helping me remember.

  74. 127

    Our kids notice all the things we do for them. I made a comment just last night that I was being lazy because I didn’t wash the dishes after dinner. My 14 year old looked at me in disbelief. She said, “Mom you got up at 4:30, went to the gym, work, my field hockey game and then came home and cooked dinner. You are certainly not lazy.” So all you moms out there, they notice.

  75. 128

    Lisa Jo Baker, I love you! I took a two month vacation and did what-nots to get out of what seems to be a depression and your one post makes me feel so good today. Thank you for being such a wonderful person.

  76. 129
    Eliza Clark says:

    Thank you for this! I was starting to well up with tears, but when I got down through the list to “You should stop feeding them Chef Boyardee anything” I just burst out into laughter. That was me; most of that list is me. There is nothing profound or unusual about my life or situation: I have one child, I am divorced and struggling with post-divorce co-parenting, I work full time to support my son and myself, I broke down and sobbed yesterday over something really dumb but I had just had enough for the week… THANK YOU for helping me put it all back into perspective again.

  77. 130

    I needed this. A lot. Thank you.

  78. 131

    The running commentary of your guilty thoughts reads like a transcript from inside my head. Its so nice to know that I’m not the only one!

  79. 132

    I am pretty sure you crawled inside my head and read my mind. Thank you so much, you have touched me!!!

  80. 133

    Hi-ya, nice online site you possess right now.


  1. […] You can read her post here – lisa jo […]

  2. […] Mom guilt.  I’m getting over it. (By Lisa Jo Baker) […]

  3. […] the last 24 hours, I’ve read three great pieces about guilt (of the mama variety – here and here – and of the everyday human sort), so I’m certainly noticing the theme and […]

  4. […] My husband sent me a link to a blog post earlier today.   I thought I’d share it with all of you.  Take a second to read it here. […]

  5. […] on the show today, I’ll be reading from another incredible blog post called, Mom Guilt, I’m getting over it.  Most of the time, I feel like I do a pretty good job of being a Mom, I mean, life is just gonna […]

  6. […] Mom Guilt. I’m Getting Over It / lisajobaker.com […]

  7. […] let’s stop it with the heaping of the guilt on ourselves. Let’s decide to turn off our facebook feeds with the blasts of guilt of all the things […]

  8. […] Lisa-Jo talks to about “Mom Guilt” […]

  9. […] From LisaJo Baker Mom Guilt. I’m getting over it […]

  10. […] Mom guilt. I’m getting over it. —> Lisa-Jo Baker […]

  11. […] Mom guilt is for the birds. […]

  12. […] Mom Guilt.  I’m Getting Over It. […]

  13. […] be further from the truth. Turns out, mom guilt is pretty popular. Not by choice, either. I read this article late Tuesday night, thanks to a friend who posted it on Facebook, and as my eyes went over the […]

  14. […] Or maybe it’s in how we’re learning to tell the truth about motherhood? Or get over our mom guilt? […]

  15. […] You can read her post here – lisa jo […]

  16. […] Then you take a deep breath. You sit down on the sofa. Your husband tells you you’re doing OK. And it’s hard – it’s hard not to let the wind of the day get knocked clean out of you. It’s hard not to wash your hands of it all and listen to the voice that tells you you’re no good at this. The voice that whispers you’re a disaster of a mother. […]

  17. […] The thing is, we wonder all the time if we’re doing this motherhood thing right. […]

  18. […] The thing is, we wonder all the time if we’re doing this motherhood thing right. […]

  19. […] Or maybe it’s in how we’re learning to tell the truth about motherhood? Or get over our mom guilt? […]

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