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Conquering the Mommy Guilt and Losing the Stuff

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Man, I wish I could go running tonight after work. But the kids! I haven't seen the kids today.

So, yeah, the girls are going out for dinner on Saturday night, but I should probably stay home. I haven't spent much time with the kids this week. Work and all, you know.

I know this 6:00 pm meeting is important, but my kids are in bed by 8:00 pm and I've been in the office since 7:00 am! I haven't even SEEN THEM TODAY.

Ah, yes. The Mommy Guilt is at it again. A nasty little hobgoblin, that one.

Before I had kids, "mommy guilt" was not something I was able to empathize with. It was something pretty foreign to me, as real as the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, and I leant it about that same merit.

Now that I have kids and I'm a working mom, Mommy Guilt is what owns me a lot of the time. Mommy Guilt drives a lot of my decision making when it comes to time management, and also when it comes to budget. Mommy Guilt is a pretty nasty little devil in my ear.

It's not at all uncommon that I see my kids maybe two or three hours a day during the week, and that's it. Some days, I don't even get that time. But it's how I provide for my family. So even as it eats away at me, I find ways to soothe that savage beast. Toys! Toys will fix that! How about more clothes for the boys! I'll buy them all this STUFF and they'll feel complete again.

I am notorious for doing this. It's true. It's a lot easier for me to throw a toy/book/game/snack/something into my cart while running through Target for weekly groceries than it is for me to listen to that nagging Mommy Guilt in my ear. It hushes the Guilt pretty significantly.

I ran into a guy some time ago who had four kids in private school. I glibly wished that I wish I could send MY kids to that school, and he said that they sacrifice in other areas to make it work.

He said, "We don't buy them STUFF. We buy them education and experiences."

This conversation happened a mere week before Alabama was ravaged by tornadoes in April of 2011. And as we picked up the pieces of our lives, his words seemed clearer. Don't replace STUFF. Give them memories. Give them experiences. Give them new air to breathe.

The week following the tornadoes, we were without power. Instead of sitting in the dark and morbidly listening to the news, we decided to drive an hour or two north and spend a weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We hadn't taken the boys to the many, many things to do there. We decided that - especially for THAT weekend - spending the money on experiences rather than stuff was the right decision.

We visited Rock City and the Tennessee Aquarium. We walked along downtown and the river and stopped in at all the shops, even if we bought nothing the entire day. We took tons of pictures.

The boys STILL talk about that weekend. They don't talk about the tornadoes or the fear or the despair or anything surrounding the tornadoes - they remember petting an owl at Rock City's Wild Bird Exhibit. They remember having pillow fights in the hotel. They remember petting sting rays at the aquarium. They remember the road trip.

With that in mind, we made big decisions. We now take monthly excursions - never far, never more than three hours away - for just a weekend. Maybe two nights in a hotel, sometimes just one night. We see the local educational attractions and we eat at locally-owned restaraunts. I am SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED that we're visiting Atlanta in two weeks so that all of us - all four of us, ages 4 to 40 - will do a 5K called The Color Run. I can't wait to see what memories that makes.

I've stopped allowing Mommy Guilt to own me. I've stopped encouraging it to make me feel inadequate as a mother. I'm allowing myself to find time for me now.

Because one weekend a month, we all hop in the car and I give them a lifetime of experiences.

What makes your Mommy Guilt cry the loudest? How can you silence it? (Or at least quiet it down a bit?)

by on Mar. 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
momkaribg
by on Mar. 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Quoting dusky_rose:

Thank you! :-)

Quoting momkaribg:

 Well said.

Quoting dusky_rose:

I think that mommy guilt only comes if you haven't come to terms with your situation. But the giving experiences to your child is a really good idea! Stuff just ends up on the floor in your child's room, but experiences they will talk about for much of their lives.

 


 Your welcome

LOswald0314
by on Mar. 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM

 We are wokring on giving them experiences rather than stuff also.

alliesmom112
by on Mar. 19, 2012 at 1:19 PM

My dd is still too young to really guilt me

alliesmom112
by on Mar. 19, 2012 at 1:20 PM

I agree

Quoting dusky_rose:

I think that mommy guilt only comes if you haven't come to terms with your situation. But the giving experiences to your child is a really good idea! Stuff just ends up on the floor in your child's room, but experiences they will talk about for much of their lives.


Reina13
by Bronze Member on Mar. 19, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Oh I do have mommy guilt, but I working on it.

I love the idea of giving them experiences rather than stuff. I want to incorporate that into our lives.The world is such a large place that is just waiting to be explored by young eyes and minds.

mommythree0508
by Member on Mar. 19, 2012 at 2:19 PM


Quoting MamaBear2cubs:

Ny kids don't give me much mommy guilt thankfully.

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slw123
by on Mar. 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM

I guess I'm really lucky that I don't really feel Mommy Guilt.  I'm a SAHM, I volunteer in the classrooms, anything that I do for ME is done while the kids are in school.  After school it's all about the kids, homework, playing, sports practices, etc.  The weekends are for the family.  So on the rare occassion that I want to do something that isn't about the kids, I don't feel bad because I know they get most of my attention most of the time.

Jerichos_Mommy
by Member on Mar. 19, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Mine comes from doing for myself first.


MamaBear2cubs
by Bronze Member on Mar. 19, 2012 at 11:00 PM

We are working on it as well.

Quoting LOswald0314:

 We are wokring on giving them experiences rather than stuff also.


sunshine5705
by on Mar. 19, 2012 at 11:29 PM

I was a SAHM up until about 18 months ago.. I did a small in home daycare to make ends meet but it wasnt as demanding as a job outside the home. When my husband and I seperated I was fortunate enough to find a job quickly and one that paid enough money for me to support my kids, the downside was that it is at a preschool. So I have lesson plans and things to prepare at home for work.. so I feel most guilty about dedicating so much of my time at home to the needs of other children and their education.

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