Monday, May 21, 2012

My battle with mama guilt.

The other night, that ugly monster (known as “mama guilt”) reared her ugly head.  
Ugh, I’m really starting to not like her.  
She’s mean.  And judgmental.  And shakes her fingers at me, all the while saying, “tsk, tsk.”
She knows I don’t like her, but she just keeps coming back.  Keeps making me feel like a horrible woman, an awful wife, and an even worse mama.
This night, was just one of the many nights she strolled into my life and left me feeling breathless and weak.
I had Annie Louise all to myself while Daddy went to Crossfit.  We ate dinner together and played outside…we had a blast. 
I had been having a rough time at work that week, and my sweet doodlebug knew just how to cheer me up.  She gave lots of kisses, even more hugs and many “lub you, mama’s”.  
My heart was just swelling with love.
Another thing AL and I like to do is take baths together.  There, I admitted it.
Please don’t judge me.
We’ve been doing it since she was a little baby, and I absolutely love it.  On the nights, B is gone or out of town for work, we’ll oftentimes take a bath together (hey, it’s easier for me).  
Last night was no different.  
I drew a big bathtub of water, turned on Pandora, and we had a blast.
I noticed how her hair is getting so long, so I dampened it a bit and made a ponytail.  
And it hit me like a mack truck FULL of bricks.
She’s not a baby anymore.
She looked like such a big girl with that ponytail – I mean, only big girls have ponytails, right?
And before I knew it, that scratchy, big lump started forming in my throat.  Hot, salty tears filled my eyes.  And that feeling of “I’m missing everything” slapped me in the face.
Mama guilt had arrived.
AL noticed, too.  With tears rolling down my face, she could tell I was visibly upset.
“I sowwy”  - she said with a scrunched up face (which, by the way, is the cutest thing ever).  Way to make the tears flow even more, doodlebug.
I quickly snapped out of it and gave an “I’ll deal with you later” expression to mama guilt.
Fast forward to later that night while I’m trying to sleep.
Things running through my head include, but aren’t limited to:
  • Am I really missing everything?
  • Will AL think less of me as a mother when she’s older because I work?
  • Am I making the other “tasks” more important than spending time with AL (i.e., cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc)
  • Can I realistically wake up an hour earlier every morning (I wake up at 5 a.m. as it is) to work on things around the house so I have more time with her?
  • Will I always feel this guilty?
  • If we sell everything we own and save like crazy, can I stay at home then?
  • Is this all really worth it?
  • Do I even need sleep?
And for most of the night, I don’t sleep.
I toss and I turn and I weep and I pray…because I have no other solution.
I guess what I’m looking for is advice from those of you that have had a visit with ole mama guilt yourself (and it can be guilt about anything, mind you).  
How do you deal with her?  
What do you do to make sure she doesn’t come visit you?  
For now, I’m desperately trying to find blessings in every single thing that I do, even the things I don’t like to do.  This helps for a short period of time, but mama guilt always seems to find a way to pounce on that little ounce of happiness I am having a devour it.  
Help me?
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. - Corrie Ten Boom


  1. I do this to girl! I never thought I would be like this. I remi d myself how lucky I am to have the great hours and commute I do since I to have to work full time. I hope In a couple of years with babY # 2 I can stay at home. We do what we have to do. Al will look up to you for all the hard work you do to take care of her!

  2. I'm super behind on reading blog posts but definitely wanted to comment on this. My mom worked outside the house as a teacher starting when I was in second grade. I never once felt like I lost out on a relationship with her or time with her because she was working. I know that my mom worked because at first, my parents couldn't really afford for her not to be; because she believed strongly in education, not just for my brother and i but for all kids; & because later, when my parents had been working longer and were making more, it allowed them to provide us with opportunities we wouldn't have had otherwise. I'm confident that Annie Louise will know you work outside the home so you can provide for her. You're a fantastic mother, Lena. Don't let mama guilt tell you otherwise!