Mommy Guilt

The first time I felt “Mother Guilt” was shortly after Ellie was born. I think it was that night, when, in desperation to get some sleep, I sent her off to the nursery. I remember thinking “what have I done? How could I send that baby off like that? She’s so little.”

I still believe that they chased her around with monster puppets in there and told her there wasn’t a Santa Claus.

I think, overall, I have kept the majority of my “Mother Guilt” in check during these past 16 months. Yes, I have my moments where I want to kick myself for not being Super Mom but really, I don’t want to be Super Mom.

I just want to be a good mom.

As I near the birth of my second child, all of my guilt, my fears, my feelings of inadequacy keep popping up. How can I deal with two? Why would I go and have a second baby so close after the first? Ellie is going to hate me, grow up and write a tell all book titled “Why My Mom Sucks.”

Then she’ll dedicate it to her therapist.

I already feel guilty because my child is bored. Yes, I know she’s bored. I can tell she’s bored. But hey! Guess what? So am I! Most of the “kid-friendly” activities in town involve payment to join a class. She’s too young for the library and besides, I wouldn’t bring her anyway because she’s been sick for over a month now and I’m not that mom that brings a sick kid in to contaminate all of the other children just in time for Christmas Card photos.

The park? Well, her idea of fun at the park is climbing on all the equipment and trying to kill herself by making death-defying jumps. My gut is currently not wanting to play that game so really, I can’t go to the park without an escort that is willing to climb on all the big jungle gym things to make sure I don’t have a child in a neck brace.

But! I did let her throw all the books off my bookshelf this morning! Think of all the fun she had with that one!

I feel guilt because my kitchen and bedroom are disaster areas. I keep meaning to clean them up but then I find myself needing to take a nap instead. So, I nap and the house stays a mess and its only a short amount of time before someone calls the authorities because it is not possible to have that many dirty dishcloths lying on one’s counter.

Speaking of the kitchen, does anyone really need to eat anything besides a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Because, if you do, you better not come to my house! Ha!

I can deal with the guilt; I know it comes and goes and there are certain days where I’m proud that I didn’t try to give my child to the Salvation Army guy ringing the bell at the store because man, sometimes that’s the only option I feel like I have.

I really just feel ill-prepared. I mean, Miss E was a “surprise” but Little Jizzy wasn’t. Surprise to The Hubs, perhaps, who still can’t believe that my body just wants to spit out babies until the cows come home. But not to me. I was “planning” on him.

I feel ill-prepared for the birth. I’m all about Hypnobirthing but can’t um, afford the classes. So I read my book and listen to the accompanying CD but is that enough? Aren’t I supposed to sit in a room with other pregnant hussies and harness my chee?

I can’t harness my chee alone!

I do not fear birth. I know that it will end. I know that I need to go into it with a positive attitude and outlook and really give it my all. But, at the same time, I feel like I’m wandering around in Hypnobirthing land aimlessly. I mean, should I actually be in a “trance” when listening to the CD? Am I in a trance when I keep shuffling around on my bed because I can’t get comfortable?

Can I harness my chee if I’m not in the trance? Perhaps I should find an old Indian Shaman to come and chant at my bedside. If I can’t make it to a class, I should at least do something.

Today, while standing in line at the local fabric store, Miss E decided to have a breakdown. Not any breakdown. The type of breakdown where she is screaming, slapping me, pulling out clumps of my hair and pretty much not having anything to do with the things I offered her.

I sat her on the ground and held her by the hand while she threw herself down, screaming at the top of her lungs. The lady in front of me, the one taking FOREVER to check out, wouldn’t make eye contact. I keep looking at her, sending “hurry the hell up” vibes, while my child wearing one shoe continues to shriek in what sounded like an alien language.

The lady behind me starts talking to me and somehow the fact that hi, I’m heavily pregnant comes into play.

“Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking. Actually. I thought she was cute and I got pregnant before she could walk.”

“I bet you’re thinking a lot about that now because I don’t know what you were thinking.”

At that moment, I felt like lying down on the ground next to my toddler and crying. Perhaps I should stop thinking. Perhaps I should think more.

I think, for Christmas, I will ask for a Life Organizer. You know, the people that come in and tell you what you’re doing wrong and make all the decisions for you? Hopefully she knows how to cook. Or give back massages.

At the least, she can think for me because I’m getting to the point where my thoughts make no sense at all.

35 Responses to “Mommy Guilt”

  1. kelllie
    December 7th, 2005 20:54

    it will be hard. probably really, but then it will get a bit easier. E will want to play with him and bring him toys that he could choke on. then in six months they will play more together.

    I totally get the public tantrums and how horrible they are. sorry that happened today.

  2. SJtheMom
    December 7th, 2005 21:31

    The guilt lasts only until the second one becomes mobile. Then not only do you not care if the cookie hits the ground, your hands aren’t washed or the older child sneezes on the younger one, you actually look the other way and laugh when they lick the counter at McDonald’s. The guilt turns into true insanity. From the lack of sleep. Or rest. Or relaxation of any kind. Hang in there–there’s so much more to look forward to.

  3. Karen Rani
    December 7th, 2005 21:37

    Another mom blogger posted today about a woman being rude to her while her child was throwing a tantrum. I’ll tell you what I told her. When someone is mean to me like that, I say, “WOW, that was RUDE.” It usually shuts them up, and sometimes gets an apology. I had to say it once to one of my MIL’s friends because she remarked on my size at the end of my 2nd pregnancy. What I really wanted to say was “What’s your excuse?”

    Anyway - I’m sorry that happened. Just realize there are women out there who help prop up fellow women…support each other whether they are friends or strangers. The ones that knock you out while your down deserve to be told. I don’t know about you, but Karma is a bitch!
    Take care!

  4. wordgirl
    December 7th, 2005 22:04

    Here’s the thing: That woman in the fabric store? Everyone she knows is onto what a bitchy/know-it-all/Gladys Kravitz she is. You were her most recent victim, and she hit you when you were feeling shitty and low, and for that, she needs a good flogging.

    The good news is YOU PROBABLY DON’T EVER HAVE TO SEE HER COUNTRY ASS AGAIN. Ever. But her friends and family and neighbors? They have to put up with her all the time. She and her unsolicited advice that is hurtful and judgemental get to spread their ugly poison wherever her cankly feet happen to tread.

    She doesn’t know you or your life. She’s ignorant because it’s convenient for her. Just wave your hands and say, “Whatever, bitch”. We know what it’s like and no one’s judging. That compassionless skank needs a good drive-by ass-whipping. Let’s one of us make a nice voo-doo doll and start searching for some hat pins.

  5. Rachel
    December 7th, 2005 22:17

    The first 9 months or so will be hard but afte that they will play together and and you can sit alone as much as you want! Mine are now 3 and 5 and I can go an hour or more without seeing them, of course I can hear them but its so nice!

  6. danelle
    December 7th, 2005 22:22

    My second and third are 17 months apart, plus I already had a 4 year old. It was a few years of sheer insanity but we made it and we’re all still alive. Now they are 24, 20 and 18 and they’re all very close. They are self sufficient and healthy, and that’s the best I could have asked for.

    Take lots of pictures, make tape recordings of their voices, hang their pictures on the fridge and revel in it. It will be over before you know it. *sniff.

  7. Bente
    December 7th, 2005 22:24

    I hear you on the bored toddler, no money, and being too tired to clean properly and entertain the toddler from being pregnant again. One of the free things I took my Elli to do was also the park and that’s gone out the window for me because they don’t have a toddler swing so I have to be the harness and just run back and forth to swing her. Yeah, fun times.

  8. Crazy MomCat
    December 8th, 2005 00:11

    What a witch that woman was! You know, I really hate our sex sometimes. I know that as we get older, we forget what having a toddler was like, but is it really necessary to punish though who do?

    I have no doubts you’ll be fine. It won’t be easy, but you also will have two close in age who will play together because of that too. There will be positives you see from having them so close, I am sure! And, as for letting your daughter explore the bookshelf, I have to admit that today I let my daugther explore as her form of play too. I’m not pregnant, but I was just plain tired! You’re too hard on yourself! Everyone does that sometimes and I’m sure I’d be doing that every day if I was about to have another child!

    Hang in there!

  9. gorillabuns
    December 8th, 2005 00:33

    so living it and sorta surviving it. as for the tantrums in public places, nothing prepares you for those. laughing hysterically usually gets people to at least move out of your way.

  10. Autumn
    December 8th, 2005 01:05

    It’s scary. I know what you are feeling.

    Ok - yeah, it will be hard at first, nursing a baby day and night and tending to Ellie. I once nursed Jonathan while sitting on the bathroom floor while I washed his big sister’s hair while she sat in the bathtub.

    And it sucked.

    You will have these moments, and then you will realize that you can’t do it all and you will bathe Ellie and let your baby boy cry for 5-10 minutes while he has to wait to be fed by your boobs.

    The best thing I learned to do, having two kids 15 months apart, is I learned that those two kids needed to understand something called pecking order.

    You’ll learn pecking order. It will come. It’s natural.

    And then when your little boy gets a teeny bit older, he will be entertained by Ellie’s antics in the living room and you will be able to sit down and do something for yourself.

    And later on, they will play together and not be bored.

    They will enjoy each other’s company right before she pushes him over and he cries.

    But then you will tell them to hug and make up.

    And then they will continue to play together some more.

    And you will smile.

    And you will realize that you did the right thing having to two kids so close together.

    And that’s all there is to that.

  11. robyn
    December 8th, 2005 01:10

    My oldest learned how to play and entertain himself for extended periods of time because of my recent pregnancy. That skill has also come in very handy for the demanding days of his baby brother’s infanthood. And now as the youngest is just getting old enough to think about this “play” thing and what it might mean, they’re actually starting to enjoy each other’s company. The oldest blows the youngest kisses and said his name out loud for the first time last week — he says it all the time now. He brings him toys and tries to share his snacks. Just wait until your mommy heart flutters from that — all this guilt will be washed away.

    And my husband and I are firm believers that the nurses in the hospital don’t give you a full night’s sleep by taking the baby when you *need* it most. What they really should do is give new parents a pass at discharge good for 1-2 nights’ sleep, to use at their discretion in the first 2-3 weeks of the baby’s life. Once all that stored-up sleep pre-baby has worn off and you’ve been pulling all-nighters and chasing a toddler during the day for several days in a row… THEN you need someone to take them for the night! Then you should be able to take them back to the hospital at 11 p.m. and say “see ya’ at 7!”

  12. Lori
    December 8th, 2005 01:35

    So I’m going to the gynie tomorrow morning to discuss the curious lack of an ‘LJ’ in my own uterus given the lack of birth control for … oh, say … five years. Posts like this make me think, “Oh shit. What if they fix me?” I’m sorta kidding and sorta serious. I mean, I respect you for telling the truth about motherhood and its ups and downs, but posts like this scare the hell out of girls like me. GAH!

  13. John
    December 8th, 2005 04:11

    Listen. This is from person to person. You don’t even have to consider the ‘Mom’ thing. If someone is rude to you in public, and I mean RUDE [like this ass] you turn around, stand up, and say the following.

    ‘Did you just say to me?!’ Say this loudly and with a feeling of insult, yet indignation. ‘Well listen. You can suck it dry’ and then just turn your back on them. Regardless of how much you want to see their face, or how much you want to smile or laugh, DON’T!

    Then…and ONLY then…shall you be the ONLY Highlander.

    oh wait…wrong story…

  14. John
    December 8th, 2005 04:12

    i tried to insert what (whatever they said) between SAY and TO ME…but it messed up cuz I tried to use the little sideways hats…but you get the drift!

  15. lawbrat
    December 8th, 2005 08:36

    I feel for you. There was 4 years between mine, on purpose. My first was just a horrid infant and it took me that long to get over it. I thought…why do people do this to themselves ON. PURPOSE?

    It was so much easier after the second ones birth because I was so anxious about it and worried so much….
    I wish you a good delivery and a baby that sleeps.

  16. Dawn
    December 8th, 2005 09:07

    Repeat after me:

    “Suck it, Bitch”

    Or, you could just fall down and cry “If only Daddy would have let me have that abortion…….”

    That should kill the woman ahead of you.

  17. TomMom
    December 8th, 2005 09:38

    Aww, you poor thing! I had a hard time reacting to people like that too, because I always wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt that it was just a really bad joke. Then I started saying exactly that. “Was that a really bad joke? Or are you just THAT mean?”

    I’ve never posted before, but this is the second day in a row you’ve written something hitting very close to home. I, too, have pink coffee cup pajamas … and the blue tracksuit? Yeah, I was wearing it when I read your post. And I only have one kid, and I’m not pregnant, so hey! Now you can count yourself as being more accomplished than SOMEONE out there in blogland!

    Hang in there. Best wishes.

  18. WDC
    December 8th, 2005 10:19

    What a bitch. I can’t believe she said that to you. I recently had my little one out with me, he was sleeping and someone lady asked how old he was and I told her (2 months) and she said “Thank God mine are grown, I wouldn’t want to do THAT again” WTF? Are you kidding me? I wanted to belt her with the bolt of fabric I was holding. People are rude.
    Having 2 will be tough for a little bit but everyone will adjust and in the years to come you’ll be so happy you have 2 kids close in age. At least that is what I am told! I am counting on you for the truth, my husband is trying to talk me into a 2nd one already. Doesn’t he realize the stitches from the 3rd degree tear are STILL healing?!
    I think you rock, hang in there.

  19. coolbeans
    December 8th, 2005 10:42

    Did you see that one picture of your family standing in front of the “Cream & Eggs”? Did ya? That was hilarious. Do you know how awesome it will be for your kids to grow up with smart and funny parents? SO awesome.

    WDC said it first, but I will repeat: You rock. Your kids are going to know someday that their mom rocked. And if they don’t, I’ll give ‘em the beat down they deserve.

  20. Corrie
    December 8th, 2005 10:43

    It’s going to be okay, I promise…but if you want to come wallow in misery, come to my house, I am currently feeling VERY low…

  21. Beth
    December 8th, 2005 10:56

    The thoughts you are having are going to come and go not only through out your pregnancy but through out the lives of both of your children. Just remember to take time out to breath. Hang in there.

  22. Lillith
    December 8th, 2005 11:07

    I have a six year old and haven’t recovered enough from the horrors of her toddlerhood to procreate so you’re braver than I am. It is really hard to find stuff to do that doesn’t cost money. Have you looked into mom sponsored playgroups in your area? You could check Yahoo groups and see if there are any active in your area. The one I found here saved my sanity…in fact some of us “veterans” in the group formed a mommy group after our kids were to old for playgroup just so we wouldn’t lose contact with each other. If you don’t find one and are up to starting one of your own, feel free to email me if you need suggestions…good luck!

  23. Torrie
    December 8th, 2005 12:33

    Take a DEEP breath.


  24. Veronica
    December 8th, 2005 13:43

    I can’t believe that bitch in the fabric store!! We get a lot of stares, mostly, because my son can be very loud and he likes to look up little girls’ dresses in stores. My husband always says “What the hell are you staring at, you cu_t?” We’ve learned to be evil right back.

    About those dirty dishcloths. . . You should congratulate yourself on not being a “clean freak”. That would be very damaging for you child.

    I LOVE your blog, by the way!

  25. halloweenlover
    December 8th, 2005 14:27

    What a bitch. I would take Karen Rani’s suggestion and just turn around and say “wow, that was rude”. That would be a fantastic response! But I always think of plenty of responses later instead of at that moment, unfortunately. GRRRR.

    SJ, from where I’m standing, you’re doing pretty well. You are keeping it together with a beautiful baby, even when she has been sick for a month, and you are very pregnant. I think you are a great mom and although it might be tough, I think you’ll be fantastic with two also.

  26. Laura
    December 8th, 2005 16:08


  27. becca
    December 8th, 2005 16:16

    i’m a work at home mom and i feel like crap when i send mt son off to preschool and even worse when he stays a little overtime at aftercare. oh dear, don’t let that happen lest i run into the street screaming for a truck to run me over. i really do feel your pain on that one. i won’t (thank God) feel your pain on the second kid thing; i made my husband have a nice friendly visit to the urologist and that takes care of that one. i just knew there was no way in hell i could do it again seeing as my son is a special ed student. it’s hard enough with a typical kid, much less a special one. argh!! don’t feel bad about the nursery school thing. you need YOU time. no one is built to entertain someone 24/7. NO ONE.

  28. Diane
    December 8th, 2005 16:23

    Gosh what great comments. I am going to bookmark this post so I can read it after my toddler’s next public meltdown. I hope you are feeling better after reading all of them, I know I sure feel the love. I just can’t help but think, why would you feel bad? Could you imagine ever being that woman in the fabric store? How miserable must your life be to act like such a b*tch? I hope I am never like that.
    I have 2 that are 2 years apart, my 2nd is now 10 months old and I have to agree with everyone else, life will be hard at first, but next year, it will be magically beautiful. I know from real recent experience. I was a mess for a while there.
    Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my recent activities to conquer boredom (though she’s a little younger and it may not work as well):
    1. try making those paper snowflakes. my oldest can’t use scissors yet, but just loves watching me try.
    2. bake cookies with Ellie. let her pour in the pre-measured ingredients.
    3. when I was sewing once, the oldest kept bugging me, so I took a scrap of fabric, sewed 3 sides, put on a handle and voila! a purse. He was thrilled and carried it around putting all his little toys in it. Daddy was not all that happy with it, but whatever. I also made hats and stuffed animals.
    4. dress up worked real well at that age.
    5. when my oldest was that age, he loved to help out - folding laundry, loading the dryer, wiping things up, etc.

  29. Eulallia
    December 8th, 2005 17:01

    Just another plug to get you to move to Seattle where we can at least be bored together. :)

  30. Susan
    December 8th, 2005 17:11

    Right before Charlie was born, I started to have these crazy dreams where I lost Henry. I just LOST him! Sometimes I knew more or less where I had lost him, and sometimes I had no idea. And, more disturbingly, sometimes I cared and sometimes I didn’t

    Three and half years later and I haven’t lost–or killed–anyone. Although I did cry at the pediatric dentist’s office the other day. And I felt guilty about it later. Fun, this Mommy thing!

  31. Anne Glamore
    December 8th, 2005 17:40

    It DOES get better. Mine are 7 (twins) and 10 all boys and while some people miss the baby days, I think they might be forgetting the days like you had today! Hang in there.. soon the days of complete sentences and more rationality and assigned chores will come your way!

  32. mrtl
    December 9th, 2005 01:57

    I stopped watching “Starting Over” a while ago, but would totally start watching again if you checked in.

  33. elb
    December 9th, 2005 16:51

    Lurker here in Southern WPL (Inner Loop H-town). It might be kind of a drive for you guys, but the Children’s Museum is absolutely great and might be a good option for both-Ellie now and LJ when he’s about 6-7 months. They have age-specific areas from itty-bitty to about 10. The entry is free to under 2 and $3 for everyone else…but, their annual membership is only $30-50 (I foget which). It is so worth it and maybe grandma or “Santa” could get for Christmas? Sorry for the assvice, but the Children’s Museum is so great…we love it! Thanks for the blog, it is such a funny read.

  34. honey bunny
    December 9th, 2005 21:10

    my mom had my sister when i was ellie’s age. believe it or not, i didn’t get jealous or mad until my mom had my BROTHER. i was 5 so i was aware of another person coming into the house. with my sister, i don’t remember her birth at all. i remember my brother’s though, and man, i was PISSED!

  35. Devra
    December 22nd, 2005 23:13

    I remember the advice my best friend gave me after I had my second child. She told me “you will get home and freak out. But it will only last until you find your groove. Sure you will think to yourself that you just made a huge mistake and cannot yell ‘do over’, but honestly, you haven’t made a mistake, you are overwhelmed and over hormoned. This too shall pass. It will takes a few weeks, but it will get better.” And you know what? It did. Aviva was right. But when you are in the throes of the Mommy Guilt, you just don’t always recognize what’s going on and you freak out! Normal! but if you ever get to feeling like you are worried or others express they are worried about you, ask for, seek out or drag yourself and get some help! Just talkin’ with other moms can be a huge relief effort for Mommy Guilt! We’ve got all kinds of stuff in our book and on our blog about Mommy Guilt. Please come visit us at Parentopia!

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