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Go Ask Mom

Kianey Carter: The worry of mommy guilt

Posted January 27, 2015

Kianey Carter, WRAL-TV morning news producer, Go Ask Mom blogger

New year. New goals. New mommy guilt.

I am sure that every mother has mommy guilt for one thing or another. Whether it's breastfeeding or bottle feeding, working or staying at home, giving in to tantrums or letting your child cry it out.

As a parent, there are so many decisions you have to make and so many choices. We exhaustively weigh each choice to determine which is the right one for our family, child, situation, time and so on and so forth. No matter which we choose, there's always a little bit of guilt in it.

My first experience with mommy guilt was at bedtime. After reading books, researching online parenting websites and talking with friends and our pediatrician, my husband and I decided the "cry it out" method was what we would use to get our son to go to sleep on his own.

The first, second and third nights I HATED hearing my son cry himself to sleep. Each night I would feel so guilty and question my decision. Eventually the crying stopped and our son got used to the bedtime routine and slept through the night. Today, I have no guilt in using that method at all. It worked for our family and our son sleeps like a champ. But, at first, mommy guilt was all I had.

My new instance of mommy guilt has come with daycare. My work schedule has changed and after 14 months of taking care of my son at home, he now goes to daycare. My husband and I searched all over the Triangle for the right daycare center for us. Our long and exhaustive search led us to a center we absolutely love and more importantly that our son loves.

Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any easier dropping him off or picking him up. Every day as I drive to work after dropping him off, I feel so guilty. Like I am letting him or my family down in some way. Rationally, I know I am not. I know that by going into work, I am fulfilling my own needs and goals and in turn fulfilling my family's.

Come on, if mama's not happy, no one is happy! My career fulfills one of the goals, needs, desires and passions in my life. But mommy guilt is anything but rational. So, in the 10-minute drive to the station, all of my irrational thoughts creep in. I'm not going to list them but I am sure you can guess at what they are.

I have no intentions of quitting my job so I have to get rid of the mommy guilt. But how do I do it? It's only been a few weeks and I know at some point it will subside, but right now, it's fresh.

Will it ever go away? Will I feel like this up until my now 16-month-old son goes to kindergarten? How do you deal with mommy guilt?

Kianey is the mom of one and a WRAL-TV morning news producer. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.


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  • nativeNCgrl Jan 29, 2015

    I firmly believe that because you care and worry and feel guilt, you are an excellent mother. Bad parents are the ones that don't care. I come from a family of two working parents and I have an wonderful relationship with them and never felt neglected in my childhood years. Similarly both my husband and I work long hours. In the evenings and weekends I try to make the limited time I have with my kids quality time. Sure I feel guilty and stressed out that i can't juggle it all and be the mother I should be. But in the end I feel like they will know how much I love them even if I can't be with them all the time.

  • KLW Jan 28, 2015

    I totally hear you. My daughter will be 3 next month and it has not gotten any easier than it was when she started at the preschool at 6 weeks old. I just try to make the most of EVERY moment that I have with her in the evenings and on weekends. That is OUR time.

  • robijjjjjj Jan 28, 2015

    I have to tell you that each year brings about a new guilt. My son is 8 years old and from the time he started Kindergarten I also carry the guilt of not being as available as I wish I could be during school activities. I wish I could attend every event, pop in on an occasional lunch, but that is not the case because the big guilt sets in, I work 40 minutes from school, so many times if he is sick it is my mom who can quickly get to the school to get him, while I pray my boss will be okay with me leaving for today. So what you are feeling, is absolutely normal! We all understand and feel your pain! Good luck!!

  • Beth Miller Jan 28, 2015
    user avatar

    I 100% understand this. I deal with this still to this day with my soon to be 9 year old. My work hours can be crazy, example, I pulled a 62 hour last week, and I have so much guilt about having to work so much. I drop her off at daycare at 650 in the morning and most nights her grandfather picks her up for me. Its hard enough to be way from her, not being able to have the QT with her, and not being home to help with her home work esp when she is having a hard time with the new things she is learning in school. But she also doesn't like the daycare she's at. But because of where we live, our choices in daycares are limited to our needs. We can only hope that we are doing things right, and that they will see that hard work pays off. I dislike all the time I don't get to spend with her, but in the end, bills have to be paid and we have to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellys. The joys of being a parent.

  • busyb97 Jan 28, 2015

    And to not listen to outside criticism. No matter what choices you/we make, someone will be there to criticize and "offer" their opinion. Just by writing this article, I'm sure someone is reading it and judging. WHO CARES!
    Do what works for your family. There is no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to raising kids.

  • happygirl14 Jan 28, 2015

    I can totally sympathize with you. My 19 month old daughter stays with her nana 4 days a week and I feel so guilty leaving her in the mornings. I thought it would get easier, but it's still difficult. I have to work full time, but I make sure I spend a lot of time with her on the evenings and weekends. They may not understand now, but they will later on. They know we love them and want to be with them every minute of every day, but we can't. Just take it day by day. Some days are better than others. You just have to keep in mind, your doing what's best for your family. Even if you don't feel it in your heart.