Mom Guilt

Mom Guilt

How much is “my best” as a mom?

Am I really momming as hard as I possibly can 24/7? Is what I am doing only the best I can do? Why am I crying right now? Why do I feel so damn guilty?

I am an over worked stay at home mom. It’s only been six months since I quit my full-time job. I still work. I work all the time. I struggle to find balance. I sometimes break routine with my kids in favor of getting things done, far more often than to pay more attention to them. I suck.

I have stubborn kids. You probably would disagree. They listen fairly well in public and say “yes, Mommy” when prompted. But when Mommy is sitting at her desk writing, trying to make enough money to justify even being at home to raise them is, of course, when they need my undivided attention.

I do my best to structure the day around them and their needs. They eat and nap and go to school on time. We play and learn together. They go outside and enjoy whatever season it is that day. They know mommy loves them and they smile and are happy. Their needs are met.

But the times when I turn my back to them to face my computer is when I make the choice to fail as a mom (this is a crass view point. I am super hard on myself and all people see is my determination, when in actuality, it’s my fear of failure… even as a mom).

So, when the doors are close, I hyper-perform. I am crazy productive and when it is time to stop working, I go into mom-overdrive. I stop everything and eat meals with them at the dinner table. I teach them how to do new chores and make it fun to be mommy’s helper. I do arts and crafts, sing and dance, read and tell stories, and I make sure that they are well rounded people.

But the GUILT I carry, ignoring them to work when I could be smiling and drawing with them. Saying “uh-huh. That’s great honey, but Mommy is busy right now.” Seems like such a damn cop-out to actually being present. I’d almost rather be back at work so that I am not physically ignoring my children while making a living.

I know that this is something that I will let go of. I know that there has to be balance, and they will learn to be self-soothing and independent little people who are happy that mommy is also happy. I know there will be a day when they are in school all day and I will miss them and maybe even regret (crying again) turning back to my computer. But I also know that this investment in my education and writing will give me the freedom to spend more time with them down the road.

And while we’re here, let’s talk about “being too hard on yourself.”

First of all, you’re welcome. Hard on Herself Dacia is the one that is on time. That makes promises and follows through. That is nice and honest for the sole purpose of being able to fall asleep at night. Hard on Herself Dacia will be a best-seller, award winner, a team player, a mentor, a teacher, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent to. Hard on Herself Dacia is the one that shows up and organizes when no one else does.

I do allow myself some grace, but not much. It is hard to do the right thing sometimes, but cutting corners bothers me. Cutting corners doesn’t make me the best writer, 3.9 GPA student, the “got her shit together” mom, the “runs the household” wife. I set goals and I reach them. Not because you expect me to, but because what is the point in all of this if failing is an option. If I fail it’s because I didn’t try hard enough, or never started to begin with (for my fitness friends, Monday is always the day, and then oops, wait til NEXT Monday lol). I lost 20 pounds for crying out loud. But these last 10, well… apparently they are fond of me.

ANYWAY. I definitely don’t feel like the best mom. It’s not something I can just schedule into my day like the rest of the things. It’s the variable that keeps me on my toes and the constant thing that gives me the drive to try so damn hard at everything else. Maybe it is as hard as I can, because momming is pretty damn hard to begin with.



Dacia Arnold is an author that struggles to find a balance of work, motherhood, marriage, writing, and the occasional craft. Her first full length novel, Apparent Power, is in the works to be released December 2018. Dacia served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and deployed twice to Iraq and often incorporates these experiences into her writings both fiction and non-fiction. She currently lives in Denver, Co with her husband, two children, and a fat beagle named Watson.

Reader Comments

  1. You are amazing Dacia!! Thank you for your honesty and being so open with your feelings!! I’m also too hard on myself, especially as a mom!! I’ll have to explain more one day!

  2. Hi, Dacia. At last, I’m finding the time (see above post, lol) to get to my online friends, at lest a little bit. I’m a good bit older than you are (my oldest grandchild is 19) and I’d like to share two lessons I have learned in the process of living, and failing, and starting again, and failing again, etc. Failure is the stepping stone to success. Every successful person has had their share of failures. It motivates us, encourages, and strengthens us. It is a teaching tool in the process of learning to “get it right.”

    The second thing I learned is found in Proverbs 31. Now, if you read the list of what a virtuous woman does without reading to the end, it is daunting and seems impossible. And I believe most preachers (Baptists especially, of which I am one) don’t put it in its proper context. But it’s the verse that says, “And her children rise up and call her blessed” that keeps me praying, even as a grandmother, “Lord, help me today to show my kids and grandkids that I love them, and that You love them too.” There is no such thing as a perfect parent because there are no perfect people. But you obviously do spend time with your kids, do fun things with them. One day they will rise up and call you blessed.

  3. I know at least one of my daughters suffers from “mom guilt”, she never thinks she does enough. I’ll say the same as I did to her – “As long as you put yourself first, and ensure you are okay, then you will be enough. If you neglect yourself, then how can you be the best you can be for your children?”. You are enough. Write in in lipstick on your mirror – “I am enough”. We always are….

  4. I thoroughly loved this read. It was beautifully written. From my raw and honest opinion, you sound like the mom of the year. THEE perfect mom. Regardless to whether you’re able to give your children the time that you know they deserve, you’re making and investment in them by you sitting at the computer everyday with them in mind, to give them the life they deserve. “Hard on herself Dacia” deserves a round of a applause and 30 days of paid leave. If anything, you should ask your children how good of a mommy you are, and I bet you there answer will light a fire under you and give you confirmation that you are in fact doing the right thing. I enjoyed this read and I felt you through every word. Thank you for posting.

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