Mom-Guilt In The Raw

We’ve all experienced the mom-guilt at one point or another. It rears it’s butt-ugly face in different situations for each of us, and it can suck the life right out of you, leaving you feeling totally alone and utterly defeated.


And the mother inside tells you it will all be okay, to take a few deep breaths, and that things will be better in the morning. But right there, in the moment, there’s nothing anyone can say to make the mom-guilt go away.


When mom guilt sets in, there's nothing anyone can say to make it go away.

Tonight, my daughter wanted me to take her to bed. She wanted me to read to her and sing her a lullaby. She wanted me, not Daddy.


But tonight, I wanted to have some time to myself. I wanted to curl up with a glass of wine, some soft music and relax. I wanted my mommy time and I wanted it badly.


And my daughter cried. She cried hard.

And I fell. I fell into the guilt. And it was deep. And I’m still here, in the mom-guilt.

I resented her fiercely, but I caved in on myself. I took her to bed, pushing my selfishness down into my stomach to make her happy.


I put her pyjamas on and brushed her hair. She said she was hungry, so I got her a graham cracker. And I cried while she ate.


She asked why I was making a sad face.

“Sometimes, I don’t feel like a very good mom.”, I said.

“But your the best mom I ever had!”, she said.
“And it’s not because you’re going older, it’s who you are.”


And I cried. I cried hard.


She broke my heart and fixed it, all in one sentence. And that’s what being a mom is.


Sometimes, it hurts so bad I can’t breathe, but I keep doing it, because she needs me.


She needs me to be there for her me to show her things, like how to write her name, how to pour her own juice, or how to flip a grilled cheese sandwich. She needs me to tell her to turn the volume down and that she’s been on the iPad long enough. She needs me to say no and mean it and to hug her when she’s sad or hurt. She needs me to tell her that I love her.


She’s asleep now and I’m still crying.


I’m crying for the mistakes I’ve made and for the times I didn’t take her to bed. I’m crying for the naps I took when I was pregnant with her brother, and the nights I went out with friends. I’m crying for yelling at her and for not wanting to play. I’m crying for being so very tired. I’m crying for me and for her.

And my heart breaks again, and again, and again.

It’s starting to slow down now. It’s starting to pass. My mascara is running, and my face is puffy. The mom-guilt’s seeping away into my pores, with the day’s make-up, and I’m starting to breathe again.


I close my eyes and think of her snoring softly upstairs and of how she didn’t brush her teeth nearly long enough. I think of her dreaming, and worry that “The Ugly Ducking” might have scared her.


She’ll probably wake me up in the middle of the night again. And I’ll let her take my spot in our bed, and I’ll sleep on the couch again.


No wine tonight. No more tears now, Mommy. Time for bed.


Nothing anyone can say can pull you out of the mom guilt once you're in it.


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16 responses to “Mom-Guilt In The Raw

  1. Being needed all the time is both wonderful and exhausting. It’s so very hard, burying your own needs and desires to take care of someone else’s. I have certainly been there, plenty of times, deep into the mom-guilt. I try to remind myself that my daughter won’t always need me so much. She won’t always be this small. Someday, I’ll miss it. For now, I’m (literally) stuck under a sleeping toddler, who wouldn’t nap anywhere except on top of mama!

      • My husband doesn’t help. He gave me a really nice dose of the mommy guilt last year when I enrolled our girls in school for the first time. I was homeschooling before that but I had gone back to school (oh yeah, that’ll do it too) and since my older daughter fought me on the homeschooling, I couldn’t do it anymore. They had a great first year though and are excited about going back and my oldest did do well which I worried a lot about considering how much she fought me on the homeschooling. But her teacher told me I did a great job preparing her for school. Whew!

  2. Stephanie

    My worst moment was (and still is) when my son got diagnosed with a rare GI birth defect at 17 months old. It’s usually diagnosed and treated by a few months old. I constantly go over the last 17 months to find all the signs and symptoms that I ignored, or didn’t notice and trying to figure out how I didn’t know something was wrong. His treatment is more painful, more drawn out and a much longer process at 17 months than it would’ve been at a few months and I haven’t figured out how to forgive myself for not noticing sooner. Then the guilt for not being able to give my older son the attention he deserves while I’m dealing with my younger sons medical issues. I’m buried in mom guilt, with no signs of it letting up 🙁

    • I have a son with a rare chromosome condition that was discovered while I was pregnant. But I think about how fortunate I was finding out so soon, where other parents like yourself aren’t so lucky. I’ve found it takes time and support to forgive yourself for the things you fell short on. Way easier said than done. But what would truly define you is if you’d left it even after finding out. All my warmest of fuzzies to you and your children. ❤️