Passionate About Central New York
and the Moms Who Live Here

Mom Guilt…The Struggle Is Real

Recently, as the end of winter break was creeping up on her, a friend of mine, posted on Facebook about how much she had left to do before school started again. She is a teacher, a mother of two girls and a wife. She wondered if she could have done more if she had not enjoyed as much time with her family. Of course, her friends commented and reassured her.

Why? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? We cannot be perfect. We cannot take care of everyone and try to be everything to each person in our lives. And then, when…when do we think to take care of us?

We don’t…and that is the big problem.

We, as women, are designed to take care of others.

It is in our DNA. Actually, I am guessing on that, but I am figuring it might be in there along with all of our other “womanly traits.”

Mom Guilt…Wife Guilt…Daughter Guilt…most of us are guilty of it. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

  • Are our kids alright? Are they eating enough? Eating too much? Sleeping enough? Sleeping too much? Too much screen time? Too little technology? Will they fit in? Will they find their way as they grow up? Will they remember every single thing we have told them as they were growing up? (By the way, just threw that in to see if you are paying attention—of course not for that one!)
  • Is our partner happy? Are we together enough? Are we together too much? Do I nag too much? Is our union as exciting as it once was? Are they bored? Will they look for someone else? Someone younger? Someone prettier? Someone more exciting who likes to do things and not complain?
  • Are our parents okay? What will happen if they cannot take care of themselves? Should I spend more time with my parents? Are they eating enough? Eating too much? Are they getting out enough? When they couldn’t remember the name of the neighbor from thirty years ago, was it nothing, or a sign of things to come?

I could go on and write about job guilt, as well, but I won’t since I am sure that you all could fill in the blanks yourself. And with all this worrying about all these topics, we get lost and forgotten.

When is the last time, you, as a woman, did something you wanted to do? Read a book, listen to a song and sing, go for a walk, learn an instrument, or binge watch a show of your choosing.  I guess some people probably do get excited to scrub the toilet, bathtub and wash the never-ending supply of dirty dishes, but I think most of us do it for the cleanliness of it, not the excitement of the soap scum being gone.

Personally, I have a lot of clutter. It is a small house and lots of things in it. The papers pile up and then go I through the pile to see what I can get rid of, but there are some things I need around which make it look messy. Plus, with a child who has many toys, dolls, stuffed animals, etc. things tend to pile up. All the main parts are clean, of course, the bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, and clothes but there are lots of things that are out on counters and tables.

I think that if I had lots of money and a bigger house, I would have places for everything. Maybe. If this writing takes off and I find myself in that position, I will let you know. But for now, if you come to my house for a visit, I will move my stacks around, or hide my pile of papers in the cabinet. They will still be there after you leave. I would rather spend my time visiting and sharing friendship, then worrying about if there is a speck of dust on the shelves. By the way, there is!

So, can we, as women, think of ourselves? I know it sounds selfish. Can we pursue our hobbies, our passions, in between shuttling our kids to activities, making dinner, doing laundry, and taking care of our spouses and parents? I, for one, am going to try. That is a part of contributing to this blog. I love to write but there is not often time to sit and just let those thoughts come to mind.

And for my friend, spending the time with the family, trumps cleaning, organizing and anything else that you are behind on. In the grand scheme of things, who cares about the other things, unless it is a bill that needs to be paid, because you do not want to mess that up, especially the mortgage!

As the years go by…and they seem to be flying by…those kids will grow up, and start their own adult lives, our parents will grow older, and it will not matter about cleaning out the garage or organizing the Christmas decorations, but that extra snuggle time, or sitting on the couch watching a holiday movie, or just sitting and visiting with your parents? That is what you need to grab a hold of, those precious moments and organize them in your memories. Those “ordinary” moments are not so ordinary after all.

So, what about you? Do you fit your own hobbies and passions into your busy life? If you haven’t in the past, will you think about it now? Even carving out 5-10 minutes for yourself can make a difference. And no, scrolling through Facebook is not the same thing.

Comment below and tell us how you have managed to do it or maybe that you are going to start to try.

 

 

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7 Responses to Mom Guilt…The Struggle Is Real

  1. Avatar
    Gio January 8, 2019 at 9:57 am #

    I have a none year old daughter and a newborn son, work full-time at a University Library and my hours sometimes vary a bit. My daughter has a ton of extra-curricular activities…Now with the baby, I feel myself getting more and more anxious, especially about my relationship with my SO. I have so little time for him now. I also worry that I am not giving my daughter enough one on one time. That leaves me last- I don’t have a hobby. I used to belong to a running club, I should start that again- I have been saying that for 2 years now! Great piece!

    • Susan
      Susan January 8, 2019 at 6:21 pm #

      Thank you. It’s hard for women to think of themselves. We put everyone first. But then where does it leave us. I’m just beginning to try to find time for me also. It’s hard. And you have a newborn who needs all the attention too. Maybe in the spring you’ll get to running. Or get a jogging stroller and bring the baby with you. Good luck!

  2. Avatar
    Nan January 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm #

    The struggle is real but it gets a little better as kids grow older and are out of the house. You still worry but there is less “stuff” you feel you have to do to please and mother everyone. The guilt of not having enough time with your parents also causes stress, but take that time, once they are gone you will gain a whole in your heart, and the time you spent with them will be back.

    • Susan
      Susan January 9, 2019 at 9:44 am #

      Thank you, Nan! I know it changes as they age. If we are aware, we enjoy it as it happens.

  3. Avatar
    Melissa January 8, 2019 at 4:36 pm #

    Thank you so much for writing this! I have several books I’ve been meaning to read… I’ve started almost all of them and made it only a few pages in. I am going to try to be better at dedicating time for this. Even if it’s 10 minutes. It’s a start. And I think, now that more and more of my friend and acquaintances are “coming out” saying their homes are as messy as mine, maybe I won’t shy away so much when my kids ask to have friends over. I’ve always been soooo ashamed but then feel bad when I say no to my kids having a friend over. I want them to have strong friendships. And maybe I can even have coffee with an adult while the kids play! Or maybe we can all take turns watching each other’s kids so we can take an hour to pamper ourselves. Even if it’s to sit in your car for an hour in silence! Lol!

  4. Susan
    Susan January 8, 2019 at 6:24 pm #

    Thank you, Melissa. Your kids’ friends will not care what your house looks like. I didn’t read a book for years and I used to read a lot of books. I started getting back to doing it a few years ago. Just got one out of the library last week actually and started it today. I’ll probably end up racking up late charges before I return it, but whatever!

  5. Avatar
    Elizabeth January 8, 2019 at 9:34 pm #

    Does sneaking off to the casino count as a hobby?😂😜

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