Vent Sesh: Bad Mom Syndrome

January 8, 2013

Bad Mom Syndrome

Welcome to the first Vent Sesh of the New Year!

The following topic has weighed on me for oh, three years (yes, the age of my daughter). I know, this is probably ridiculous but I find myself on a weekly basis saying or feeling like I’m a “bad mom.”

Should this be known as “working mom syndrome?” I’ve spoken with other working moms who can relate. A large part of me feels proud that I’m showing my daughter that I work — and when she is old enough to understand it, that I own my own business, two in fact (this blog included). Yet, with that comes time away or feeling stressed about work, errands and life for the limited time we have together each day.  

I’ve missed moments many of my stay-at-home mom friends have, or at least that I think they have, because I’m working. Seeing firsts, experiencing play dates, kid’s events, endless smiles and giggles. Last year I took off nearly one morning each week to take my daughter to ballet, and then in another session, gymnastics. I loved seeing her face light up and felt so proud that as a business owner that I created this time for us. But I was often stressed, checking my phone for work email coming in. And, it’s time away I can’t manage this year…. despite the fact that she twirls through the house and somersaults on our bed, asking when she can take classes again. {bad mom rings in my head!}. And deep in my gut I think I’d be a miserable stay-at-home-mom and be miserable at it… I’m so impatient {more bad mom ringing in my head}.

Then there’s other things I feel guilty about… wanting her to so badly to go to sleep for the night even though I’ve only seen her an hour, feeling a short fuse when she pushes me (the girl is a boss like her mom!), running out of her body wash or her string cheese or tissues or whatever, hoping dad will hear first first at night so I can sleep (he’s the lightest sleeper), feeling ecstatic to go on a blog-related trip or sometimes thinking I could be writing a blog post or reply to a client email when I’m cuddling on the couch, and wanting to skip a page here or there while reading at 8:30 pm because all I want is a moment to myself.

I know in my heart I’m a great mom. I care for my daughter, I show her she’s loved and smart and beautiful and kind and funny and so much more. We provide her a nice home, take care of her, send her to a good school where we are confident they love and nurture her, go interesting and fun places (the zoo, Disney, etc) so she can experience new things, and yet, I’m still have bad mom syndrome. In my head it’s never enough.

Now, you should know I also have a guilty {woman} complex. Are you like this? You feel guilty over too much? Making plans even though you’re exhausted? Forgetting something at the store? Anything! I do it constantly and my husband reminds me I’m being ridiculous.

There’s no way I can change overnight but I’m vowing in 2013 to work on myself when it comes to this, recognizing that in the things that matter, I’m a damn good mom. I do as much as I can considering what I have on my plate (and though I hate to admit it, some of my health issues and corresponding medications wipe the crap out of me, especially at 3 am!). I’m sure if I was home with her full-time I’d have the same guilty syndrome, just with another set of issues. This is not fair to me, and to our family.  I have to do better, remember I’m only human and running out of string cheese doesn’t make me a bad mom. It’s like calling yourself fat when you’re fully not. Can’t do that to ourselves. If you’re a mama who can relate, are you with me?

read more vent sesh topics here.
{image: south mooth photography at downtown at the gardens}

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  • Melanie

    I can TOTALLY relate! As a working mother of three boys, I feel guilty about the exact same things. I look forward to short business trips and view them as a time to regroup myself…where I don’t feel like I’m being pulled in five different directions consistently…and come back home refreshed (hopefully more patient too)! Time to ourselves is important too and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it! We need to stop being so hard on ourselves!

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Melanie: wow, three boys! And I thought I had my hands full. :) It is so nice to have time to be ourselves as adults and women, and not just as moms. Glad you have the opportunity to take business trips to recharge!

  • Brittany Landers

    I completely feel the same way…I always feel “bad” about something: I didn’t do enough, I did too much, I didn’t do it perfectly, I didn’t do it how everyone wanted it done, etc. It’s our motherly guilt; will never go away! Haha. I have to remind myself just to try my best, and that’s it.
    -Brittany of @suburbchicblog

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Exactly; I always say “it is what it is” in business and I need to translate to my personal life. I am not a super woman and maybe if I gave myself a bit let guilt I can enjoy the other moments more! Thank you for stopping by, Brittany!

  • Susie Gilden

    Great post, Alison! I completely feel the same way but I know that I couldn’t do it any better than I try to do it now nor could I stay at home. By Monday morning, I am usually sprinting out the door to the office. Thanks for sharing!

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Ha, totally sprinting out the door on Monday! I definitely know I wouldn’t be better as a stay at home mom. Yes, more time would be great but teaching our children that we can be successful is so important. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Susie! Hope all is well.

  • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    Oh my God, can you read my mind? I was totally feeling this the past two days after Emerson’s birthday. Am I making her a brat letting her wear costumes all the time and to her party? Am I a bad parent because she’s not 100% potty trained yet and the only letter she can write is an E? Her friend spelled his whole long name in her birthday card, I’m a bad mom. She still wears pull-ups for naps and bedtime, I am a bad mom. I didn’t give her a bath the other night because I was too exhausted, I am a bad mom. I didn’t have a fancy Pin-able theme for her party, I am a bad mom. And yes, the wanting her to go to bed even though I only saw her for an hour and most of that time I was pressing her to eat her vegetables and being “mean;” I am a bad mom. Thanks for this vent sesh, it’s nice to know I am not alone. :)

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      OMG, Yes! I swear Pinterest must be the source of all motherly guilt. Haha. I have the same issues with baths, with great recipes for a girls night, for not doing her laundry as often as I should, that I haven’t had time to put things away, or that her “new” big girl room is four months in and there’s so much to be done. I TOTALLY get it, and am so appreciative/comforted to read how other women, yourself included, feel the same. We need to give ourselves a little break. I mean we both have two jobs and have adorable little girls. Not much more we can ask for, right?

  • Janine BakeGlueandTrend

    Great post, you are not a bad Mum or woman, you are just HONEST! Thank you so much for writing this!

    Janine xx


    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Thank you for taking the time to say so, Janine!

  • Guest

    It will get easier as she grows older because you see the benefit of forcing independence on them earlier than moms who hover. My kids are 8,6&3 now and I still work (albeit part-time- but the three days a week I work, I’m gone before they wake and back after they are in bed). My kids are successful at school, total leaders and do their own thing and I’m proud of how independent they are. That being said, I was up alllll night last night with my 6 year old last night who was crazy sick with the flu and wanted to stab myself for going to work today, but my husband was able to stay home and he (my son) was muuucchhh better by this morning, but i still had total and complete mommy guilt this morning even though he was happily playing at home feeling so much better, so I get it.

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      I completely agree! I wouldn’t be a better stay at home mom than what she can get at school. Yes a few more hours in the day, or a little less work, is always ideal however the reality is I (and sounds like you!), have wonderful thriving children who love their mamas so much. It’s all we can ask for!

  • Anonymous

    O.M.G. YESSSSSS I don’t know a single mom working or not that doesn’t torture herself consistently for not “doing” enough. I worked for the first two years and now stay at home full time, so I sort of know both sides of the coin….I concur with all that you said and as a stay at homer I am constantly wondering why I can’t keep up with making homemade chemical free organic soap OR creating sensory stations that make a mess in the clean house that took mega effort to clean OR tending to an organic vegetable garden in the backyard OR sewing clothes OR DIY’ing the latest greatest craft from Pinterest….it’s exhausting! There is so much “noise” coming from tv, twitter, facebook, radio, etc. bombarding us poor mommies and filling our heads with all of the things we “should” be doing. We all have different paths to follow and struggles to endure, different tears to shed and different triumphs to celebrate. But we should all allow ourselves to quiet the noise, stop judging whether we are doing an adequate job and just enjoy the motherhood ride more :)

    PS Thanks for keeping it real, so appreciate your honesty!!!! Awesome BLOG :)

    • ashleigh

      homemade chemical free organic soap? Jeez. that’s why they have Etsy! LOL.

      • Anonymous

        Truth!!! :)

        • The Avg Girl Guide

          LOL, for real! Pinterest, as I just mentioned to Allie below, is the source of all evil and mom guilt! I LOVE it but I never do what I pin and then I just see all of the stuff I’m not doing and some mom out there is. I totally agree that we need to stop judging and just enjoy it… I’m working hard on that, and glad to see I’m not alone!! Appreciate you taking the time to comment (and apologies for the delay in replying!).

  • ashleigh

    Oh, girl. Don’t feel bad. We all feel the same way. My daughter is 7 and my son is 5. I work 55 hours a week and for two of these years as a single Mom with only my Mom and MIL for support.
    You ARE a good Mom. And you have a GREAT KID. Cuddle her to sleep and then remember the soft smell of her hair when you’re stressed, or her big smile when you swing her up high in the air.
    Plus, if Mama ain’t happy ain’t NOBODY happy, so you have to have that 5 minutes alone girl. She’ll appreciate it when she’s older.

  • SamiJ

    You make the best choices you can. There is no point in regretting the past. You can only change the future. Why is it so hard to let go of yesterday’s choices, and why do we double-think them when we can’t change them? So accept that you were the best mom you could be yesterday, and that you are the best mom you can be today, and tomorrow you will be the best mom you will be. And remember, you are modeling what being a mom, what being an adult is to your kids — insecure and self-doubt is not the image you want to give them. Sure we all feel like we can do better — but keep that as a motivation for learning and growing in the present/future, not as a stick to beat yourself for yesterday.

  • GLR

    Every woman I know feels guilty about something. Stay-at-home moms sometimes feel like they should be working and financially independent from their husbands to show their kids women are also strong in the workplace. Women without kids feel bad about not making enough time for their significant other, for their friends or family. Others feel guilty about not eating well or working out or devoting enough time to their carrers

    It’s fear of missing out! But as long as you are fully present wherever you are, keep time for yourself and do things from the heart, you’ll be alright. No one can do everything. Just make sure you do whatever you want and have a blast with it, doing your best with what you chose your life to be

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