Mommy Guilt


Ben used to pride himself on naming my blog. “I thought of the name, so mommy wouldn’t even have a website without me,” he would taunt his siblings with. And, it’s true, kind of. The name came from a time when he was two and afraid of everything: His room, his class, his car seat, his dinner… and me. The moment he uttered the phrase “Scary Mommy,” I knew that my blog-to-be had a name and the rest is history.

Lately, though, his attitude towards what I do has changed. While his siblings love the attention, he shies away from it. He gets weepy when I’m not at home for bedtime and last week, as I told him I needed to leave for a few days, his eyes welled with tears. “I wish I’d never said the name Scary Mommy,” he whimpered. “Because if I hadn’t, you wouldn’t need to go.”

Hello, Mommy Guilt. I’m quite sure a knife in the gut would have been less painful.

These last few weeks have been the most exciting time in my life. Book launch party! Fancy hotels! Talk shows! New York Times List! I’m still pinching myself over all of it. But, as amazing as the experience has been, I can’t help feeling that I belong at home, in my yoga pants and carpool line. You know, with the kids who inspired the whole thing to begin with.

I always offer a question and answer session at the end of my readings and one of the most common questions is about balance — how have I found it? what’s my secret? — and the question never ceases to make me laugh. Me? Balance? That’s the last thing I’ve found. I’m bored when I’m not active enough and when I am, I feel like my family suffers. I want to keep all of the excitement, but pace it out in small doses so I can actually appreciate it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the way it works. Or, so I’m told.

So, I write this in tears on my way to New York where I’ll be for the next four days. I’m spending Jeff’s 35th birthday out of town and skipping out on baseball and a school performance. Sure, I get a king sized bed to myself, but it comes at a steep cost. Sadly, I don’t sleep all that well when I can’t hear them breathing.

I come home Saturday and this Mother’s Day, for the first time since Lily was a baby, I don’t want the day off. Turns out too little of my kids is even harder than too much.


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  1. Codie says

    This post had me in tears…this is how I feel after being able to stay home with my 3 boys for 6 months after giving birth, and now its time for me to go back to work. :( sometimes its not about the success or stability that comes with it, kids would just rather have more mommy time than all the expensive stuff WE want for them…stay strong and thanks for posting this!

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  2. Making It Work Mom says

    Oh I get this. Whenever I am away from my “babies” (12, 10, 5) I feel like everything has lost its luster. I can’t really fully enjoy anything because I am thinking about what THEY are doing.

    Sometimes you can’t fully appreciate perfect until you are removed from it.

    Hoping you have the best Mother’s Day ever full of screams, fights, tears, sloppy kisses, sticky fingers, and all the unconditional love you can handle.

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  3. Mercy says

    Four days alone – I could use that right about now. But then my son would probably find a way to make me feel guilty about leaving him. I might make it through one day and then be too concerned about them to not stay in touch.

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  4. Loukia says

    Oh Jill. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Except I don’t hdve a best seller! ;) Seriously, though – I left Mom 2.0 on Saturday, skipping out on the Versace psrty. All so I could be at home at midnight, to kiss the cheeks of my sleeping boys. Sigh. It’s so hard! xoxo

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  5. Amy I. Bloom says

    It’s a fine line we walk. We dream of having time to ourselves, and then we feel guilty, or even more strange, lonely, when we do. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

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  6. Kathy V. says

    You’re a good mommy. You know what helps mommy guilt? Champagne and long bubble baths. Just not at the same time, or you might drown. Relaxing and rejuvenating yourself is a gift to the little ones as well!

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