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Saying no to mommy guilt

Posted July 6, 2014

Susan Orenstein is a Cary-based psychologist and relationships expert. But that doesn't mean this mom of two doesn't know a thing or two about mom guilt - those constant questions about whether you're doing right by your kids. 

But Orenstein, who will be a scheduled speaker at the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat in Durham later this month, says mom guilt isn't doing any of us any favors.

"The good news is we know it's super super important to pay attention to our babies and our children," she said. "The bad news is we haven't figure out that balance." 

The retreat is organized by North Carolina-based moms who have written about their own children's special needs. They include Adrienne Ehlert Bashista, the co-editor and contributor to "Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories" and Penny Williams, a freelance writer who has written about her son's ADHD diagnosis. 

The conference and retreat, scheduled for July 25 to July 27 at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, is designed for moms with children with "invisible" special needs. The weekend includes speakers on wellness, self-care and overcoming mom guilt, along with activities such as yoga and Zumba.

Orenstein of Orenstein Solutions will take on the topic of mom guilt at this month's retreat. And she'll be talking about it here on Go Ask Mom for the next few weeks as well. 

While the focus of the retreat is moms of children with special needs, Orenstein said mom guilt is something we all need to tackle. It can be a kind of smoke signal that something is really troubling us, she said.

"They feel bad," she said. "They can't really attend to their kids. ... It's important to check and see what's going on." 

Watch the video interview to hear more from Orenstein and check back on Wednesday for more.

Go Ask Mom features local moms and what they're doing every Monday.



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  • SaveEnergyMan Jul 8, 2014

    It's about managing expectations. First, there is no perfect childhood or parenthood. Good parenting is providing the necessities, some (but not all) of the wants, and demanding they respect themselves and others.

    Guilt only leads to more poor decisions. You have learn from the past, rather than trying to make up for it. Kids are pretty resilient and will adjust to most anything, so long as you love them.

  • Wheelman Jul 7, 2014

    All this attention and pandering to the "needs of children" has gotten a society where too many kids think they are entitled and parents who have no control over their kids. Maybe we'd all be better off if we worked a little more from the old adage that "Children are to be seen and not heard." I don't ever remember my mother talking about having felt guilty that she loved me, fed me, cared for me and spanked my backside when I misbehaved. She might have felt guilty that she should have spanked me more. Come on! Our kids matter and we love them, but stop letting them own your life. If you love them and provide a decent life for them, then there's nothing to feel guilty about. Most parent would like to be able to "do more" for their kids, but that's no reason to feel guilty if you can't. Do you expect your parents to feel guilty about how they raised you?

  • 50s Child Jul 7, 2014

    "mom guilt mom guilt mom guilt mom guilt mom guilt mom guilt."

    Cutesy! Catchy! Sexist!