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Mom-Guilt: Do You Feel It?

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Notes from a New Mom: I received this text the other day: "Going to the gym, do a little steam, then going to dinner and a movie, want to go?" I thought, HUH?! I have a 9-month-old -- there's no way I'm going to spend an extended period of time indulging in four luxuries in one day! At the very most, you can find me getting in a very brief session of exercise without my daughter, and I honestly don't remember the last time my husband and I had a date night. It was months ago ....

woman doing yoga
But back to my friend. This is not a single lady ready to mingle. She is a mom too, but she's a mom without mom-guilt. She yogas and mani-pedis and goes out to dinner with the girls several times a week. She runs around town while someone else watches her baby, and she has pretty much returned to her pre-baby life (or at least as much as I've ever seen any mom do). 

Most of us moms, I will assume, experience some form of mom-guilt, whether it be over making our kids cry or having workdays that are so long we don't get to see them. Now, my question is this: What's the balance here? And how do we, like my friend, resume our semi-normal activities without the guilt factor? 

The other day, I squeezed in a power-yoga class while my husband was watching our baby. I was excited to return to one of my favorite activities ever, yet as I watched the clock pass the 90-minute mark, I began panicking, wondering if they were OK, if my husband would be upset that I was running late, if this class was ever going to be over. A serious dose of mom-guilt!

At the end of class, while I was literally sprinting out the door to get back home, I ran into the friend mentioned above. She was slowly rolling up her mat, relaxed and happy. "Hi," she said. "Want to go grab a glass of wine?" She was in no hurry to get back home! I was stunned. It made me wonder: Is it me that's doing this to myself? 

Moms, what do you think? Should I have gone to grab a glass of wine with her, or is there something wrong with my friend not having any trace of mom-guilt?

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15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous September 26, 2010, 11:22 AM

What you do matters more than whether or not you feel guilty. Taking time away from kids is good, but if you’re really back to your pre-baby lifestyle, something is wrong. Your life is different now. On the other hand, maybe you could take more time away from your baby without it causing problems. At least when you do take time, enjoy it instead of feeling guilty.

Holly September 26, 2010, 11:57 AM

It sounds like a little co-dependency going on…

Jme September 26, 2010, 12:04 PM

I feel the same way. It’s a choice to have children, and it’s a choice to give up that lifestyle, if you still want to live life like that, don’t have kids.

Gina September 26, 2010, 12:07 PM

I agree with first comment, your life should change when you have a baby, going straight back to normal life is a bit extreme.

I am all for going out and spending time away. I do once a week at the gym from 1pm til 3pm.

It is equally importand though that they learn to be without you as it could cause issues when nursery and pre school starts up.

Remember you are a wife too and make sure the other half is not neglected.

Its about balancing the different roles that you have and doing what feels right for you.

Mary Green September 26, 2010, 3:35 PM

Buddy system works. Good for Moms to get friend time + gym time, walks, runs, museums, farmers markets, tea, lunch. These options increase exponentially when Moms budget time for a break. It’s creative time management, a Mommy Play Date :)

older momma September 27, 2010, 9:28 AM

Well, as a older mom w/teen kids I can tell you that if you don’t maintain your “adult life” now, one day you are gonna wake up and those adorable babies are going to be teenagers who really don’t want or need you too much and you’ll realize that you let yourself go and no longer have a lot of good girl friends and you no longer really even know who you are anymore. I’m not saying go out everyday or even every weekend but like you, I worked full time and spent all the rest of my time with my kids then one day kinda woke up in my early 40’s and wondered who the hell I was and how come I really don’t have a life. Don’t get me wrong, I love love love my kids but they’re older now and don’t need me much and it’s hard to one day go from being their whole world to just a small part. So, I’m just trying to say that you should maintain yourself and always have a couple of really good girl friends that you can get together with once or twice a month and just be you, not mom or wife but YOU.

Rita September 27, 2010, 12:51 PM

It’s important to have time for yourself, but it’s also important to spend time with your children.

I don’t understand why women have babies and then let a team of nannies, babysitters and housekeepers raise their children while they’re shopping, lunching and doing whatever with their lives. Why have children if you don’t plan on being a mommy?

It’s sad because how do those children feel?

You’re doing fine. Just be sure to have an hour or so to yourself every day, and see if you can have like 2-3 hours every Friday or Saturday evening to yourself so you can go out with your husband or your friends.

Who the hell drinks wine after a power-yoga class in the middle of the day anyways??? I’d want to go get a light lunch and a glass of water or tea!

REALMOM September 27, 2010, 1:56 PM

lol Rita, I’m with you on the mom guilt thing, but i don’t think it’s guilt. it’s gut or intuition. You have a feeling that you should be getting home with your family when your “you”time is up. It’s important to have some self time and sorry older mom but once you’ve had kids you are not you. You are mommy forever and dare i say it, wife forever. Those are the choices you’ve made. You will always have the feeling that your kids need you even though it’s not to bottle or breast feed them, But a need no doubt. Yes they get older but that’s not the end. Your feelings are normal. Your fine.

.. September 28, 2010, 8:55 AM

My daughter is now three months and I went out about a week ago with my friends for some drinks and a good night. Even though my daughter was with her Daddy something inside me was like `why am I here when I could be with them`I don`t believe it is guilt I believe it is just LOVE.. we have too much love for our babies and we just want to be with them because they are not always going to be little..

AND rita I agree with you!!

Don’t leave your kids with Nannies spend time with them!! love them like you are supposed to!

Paula September 28, 2010, 3:16 PM

am 41 and mother of a 4 year old girl

Titta September 28, 2010, 3:25 PM

I am 41 and mother of a 4 year old girl and I truly agree with what OLDER MOM says.I love being a mom, but it doesnt make sense to stop living your life and dedicate yourself 100% to your kid. We need to breathe and to live our life as well in order to be able to be better moms,I think its quite healthy to go out with a friend, or even on your own (I love to go to the movies or shopping alone)and I do not believe in moms who say they do not need that.

Titta September 28, 2010, 3:46 PM

i cant post anymore lol

Cosmo Girl October 24, 2010, 1:43 PM

I know! I know this one mom who literally has no life outside of her kid. She does everything and even started a FT job as a teacher this year, on top of everything else she does. She jokes about needing RX drugs, but seeing how she just goes and goes, I don’t think she’s joking. It’s great to be involved in your community, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

I just want to tell her to sit down and breathe, the world won’t end, her child won’t die, our community won’t suffer because she sat down for an hour. lol

Sheri January 27, 2011, 8:36 AM

I agree with Rita too. My EVERYTHING revolves around my two children. I have always been the one to take the children to school and pick them up, care for them when their sick. Even when I have to work, I choose a schedule so I work every other weekend vs during the week so I can be available for my school aged children. I want to be the one responsible for them, and the one they remember from their childhood, not babysitters or daycare. I know that this means alot to my children, and honestly its such an honor being a parent, I’m so happy to do it.
Some parents think that when their children are teenagers, they can work more. Not me, I know thats when they need me home the most.
They say, about children growing up, “to be careful, it goes by fast”…

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