Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mommy Guilt

If "mommy guilt" were a definition in Webster's dictionary, you would see a picture of me. My husband thinks I'm insane that I feel I have to keep my 5 year old entertained constantly, but I can't help but feel guilty when I have to keep telling him "mommy can't play with you right now" about a million times today. Today is Sunday, and I need to do a ton of things that don't involve my son. One is having to shop for some clothes at the mall, another is having to pack for my business trip tomorrow, and a third is trying to get some cleaning done around here. Part of it is that I feel guilty because I spent Tues-Thurs in Michigan on business and I'm going back tomorrow-Tues, but another part of it is the fact that he has never been good at entertaining himself, and it can be very tiring. We unfortunately don't live in a nice, suburban cul-de-sac with kids his age running around for him to play with, and the only kid in the neighborhood moved to London, England a month ago. We had an exhausting non-stop weekend last weekend with my mom in town and with his birthday, and next week he has his eye surgery, so I guess I just needed a quiet weekend now to catch up. Is it so wrong for me to expect that maybe I don't have to be his in-house entertainment 24/7? I am literally consumed with guilt over this all the time, and like I said, my husband thinks I'm crazy for feeling guilty all the time. Does anyone else feel this way? Like, I'm trying to post this, and he's right down on the floor next to me constantly asking me questions about miscellaneous stuff here in the basement. I'm saying to him, "Mommy can't answer you right now because I need to type something." And his response is "Why?" I know he's only 5, so I hope no one is going to beat me up for saying all this, but it just gets hard sometimes. I guess I need to find a way to shake the mommy guilt, because even my own mom says to me that he picks up on it and works it to his advantage. It just seems like one of those things that's much easier said than done. He acts out sometimes in retaliation to me not playing with him, which then upsets me even more than before because then I feel like someday he's going to turn into one of those rotten kids on "Supernanny" and that I've completely scarred him for life. He's just been one of those high-maintenance kids since birth. And now I can see his baby brother following suit, because you can't leave a 5 foot radius around him without him screaming about it. What do I do?


Blogger Kathy McC said...

Don't have any advice on this, but just wanted to tell you that you're SO not alone. I feel this guilt every day...

2:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guilt is a horrible thing. Guilt should be banned from our state of being. That being said, I try hard to get over the guilt on a regular basis.
Your child will always want more of you no matter how much you give. You need to have a balance in your life.

Remember Supernanny/nanny911 are tv shows and I am sure grossly overstate the bad, while understating the good.

8:38 PM

Blogger jim said...


I have this discussion/argument all the time with male friends as well. I get the I can't watch the game or go to the game with you, I have to spend time or play with my kids. Did your parents play with you all the time? Mine sure didn't. An ocassional baseball catch or a game at night here or there but not on the daily basis I see parents doing it today. Yes, we owe our children a lot of attention, especially when they are young. But we do not need to be at their beck and call. One of the big things children need to learn is you can't always get want you want. Judging from the 18-24 yr old set nowadays, its something their Mommies and Daddies were taught, but never wanted to pass on. My point, I don't need to be in your house to know that you spend plenty of time with your kids, and the fact that they have two parents around means they are getting at least double the dose.

7:44 AM

Blogger Christina said...

I understand how tough it can be, and the guilt can be overwhelming. I used to feel the need to cater to Cordy's every whim, but then I realized that if she didn't learn to be independent, she wasn't going to be very useful later in life.

It is hard to tell them to go play and leave you alone. I've been feeling some of that guilt the past two weeks from being so tired and having to plop Cordy in front of the TV so I can rest on the couch. But I think we need to teach them that we have needs and feelings, too.

Kids today get more time with their parents than previous generations. My grandmother said that as a baby she was left on the bed all day to entertain herself, and as a child she was expected to play by herself or with her siblings and leave her mother alone.

12:56 PM

Blogger Kate said...

Isn't it interesting how different it was in past generations? So what's up with that? Why are we made to feel so guilty about everything? You guys are right -- I don't OWE my son a daily agenda, but I guess the problem lies that I FEEL like I do and I ned to get over that. Thanks for advice everyone! I feel a lot better.

3:15 PM

Blogger Christina said...

I'm currently reading the book "Perfect Madness" and I highly recommend it to you. It deals with precisely this topic.

Hell, you're in town, so you could borrow my copy when I'm done with it, if you like.

10:48 AM

Blogger Kate said...

Thanks, Christina, I may take you up on that!!

11:31 AM

Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

I think everyone feels this kind of guilt. I know I do all the time.

7:13 PM


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