Anyone else plagued by mummy guilt?

Family life
mummy guilt

I’m sat at home writing this while Cardiff Daddy has taken all three of our children out for the morning. I’m in the middle of doing some other much more important work, but this is on my mind and if I don’t get it written down, it’ll keep bubbling away.

I feel guilty because instead of having a lovely family day out and about, I am sat at home working. Last night I felt guilty because instead of spending some quality time with my husband, I was working.

However, if my children were at nursery, as my eldest two used to be for a day a week, I’d feel guilty they were there when being self-employed means I could do my work in the evenings and spend my days with them.

I always seem to feel guilty about something these days.

In fact, for the last almost six years since my eldest child was born, I seem to feel guilty about some aspect of mothering or other.

I feel guilty that because I’ve scaled back my work to spend as much time as I can with them, they don’t get the same luxuries as their friends do. I feel guilty when they ask when they’re going to go on an aeroplane. Or when it’ll be their turn to go to Legoland, for example.

I feel guilty towards the people paying me that when I’m working for them, part of me would rather be playing with my children.

And then there are days when I think I’d much rather be at work because my children are playing up – and I feel guilty for thinking that too.

Last week I felt guilty because the house was such a tip because I’d taken my two boys to the park after dropping their big sister to school. A couple of days before that, I’d felt guilty for letting my two youngest watch TV for half the morning while I tried to tackle the house work.

I feel guilty that we had frozen pizza for tea twice last week because I didn’t have the energy or time to cook.

I feel guilty when I shout at my children, even though they’ve ignored me asking them to do something a million times.

I feel guilty that because I had three children so close together, they get such little one-to-one time with me.

Am I messing them up, I wonder.

I feel guilty if they ask why I’m staying at home to work while they all go out. I feel guilty when they want me to come too.

I feel guilty that some days I am willing Cardiff Daddy to come home from work so I can have just two minutes of absolute silence on my own where no one needs anything from me.

But then I hear them upstairs playing and laughing uncontrollable and I feel guilty I’m not there.

There’s always something I feel guilty about.


I know I’m not alone, because my friends use that word a lot too.

Mummy guilt

One mum I know feels guilty that her child is in full-time nursery because they need both salaries to survive.

Another feels guilty because her child goes to nursery a day a week even though she doesn’t work.

One mummy friend feels guilty because she loves her career and continues working more than she probably needs to, while her children are with the childminder.

Another tells me she feels guilty she puts her children in front of the TV more than she should because she’s knackered from early morning wakings, and can’t bear their fighting and whining.

I’ve yet to meet a mum who doesn’t feel guilty about something. Or everything.

Do dads feel guilty too? It’s a genuine question. I never hear them talking about it in the same way that mums do. But then most men don’t show their feelings in the same way as women do anyway.

What are we supposed to do about this mummy guilt? I googled it and there are thousands upon thousands of pages on the internet devoted to mummy guilt. There are even books about how to manage it.

It’s real. It’s actually a ‘thing’.

I have days when I feel guilty about feeling guilty because I know I’m an over-emotional person who overthinks things, rather than shaking it all off.

If I didn’t feel guilty, would it mean I had come to a natural acceptance that that’s just how things are?

Or would it mean I’d stopped caring and stopped seeking out the best for my family?

I love that famous quote: Behind every great kid is a mum who’s pretty sure she’s screwing things up.

But am I actually guilty if screwing them up?

I like to think I feel guilty because I care and because I’m always striving for the best for us.

But maybe it’s just a mum thing. Or maybe it’s just me.

What do you think? Are you plagued by mummy guilt? Or daddy guilt? Or do you refuse to feel guilty about circumstances you can’t change? I’d love to hear your thoughts either in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, or you can tweet me @cardiffmummy


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16 Comments to Anyone else plagued by mummy guilt?

  1. I had to work, yes I felt guilty but I had no choice. You can’t do it all. So don’t worry about housework, ok you need to do some but don’t try to have a perfect house, or perfect children or perfect meals. They don’t exist, they’re paint shopped! Just try to find a little time to have fun with your children, they grow up so quickly and when they do you can spend time making a show home. Enjoy that time because before you know it you’ll have grandchildren……they’re great!

  2. Yeah of course. I hate guilt…such a wasted emotion. I spend my life feeling guilty. Guilty because i want alone time, guilty that I’m not giving 100% at work because my child is constantly sick, guilty that I’m not making them home cooked food everyday, guilty that i don’t pick my boy up from school and that he goes to an after school club….constant. and then in bed at night before i go to sleep…guilty that i spoke to the kids in a certain way when i was cross, guilty that i haven’t cleaned kitchen/done washing/spent time with husband. It’s endless. WHERE IS THE CURE??????????????????????

  3. Ha! You’ve read my mind as I’ve just written about it too! It’s good to read your take on it. I suspected I wasn’t alone but it’s always reassuring to read someone else’s account. Here’s mine if you’d like to swap stories…

  4. Oh dear lord, add them all up, then probably add some more! Its like a monster that sits on my shoulder, eating away at my brain. Guilt I’d the cookie monster! Haha x

  5. It is so hard not to feel guilty as a mum, I feel guilty because I’m blogging instead of doing house work, so I stop blogging and do housework, then I feel guilty because I’m behind on blogging. I can’t blog during the day when I’m looking after Aria because I feel guilty about not paying her enough attention.
    Men just go to work and come home expecting things to be done, no guilt or worry whatsoever, they really do have it easy!

  6. You and I share a blogging brain sometimes, am sure of it! I’ve just written a bit of a soppy post to publish tomorrow based on my experiences of finding out my daughter had to stay off nursery today and be looked after by her dad, because by the time she spewed in nursery at 8am, I was just stepping off a plane in Glasgow. I have felt awful all day, for being at work, for her dad having to miss a day of work, and for her not having me there. Mums I was with shrugged and said ‘it’s life, you can’t help it when your kids are ill’, but this was the first time for us that it had to be this way, and the guilt really blindsided me. You are most certainly not alone about the guilt!

  7. Kelly Allen

    Urgh I feel the same, and so do the other mothers I talk to… from shouting to wishing it was bedtime, or spending time with one and not the other.. I felt bad this week because my little girl was star of the day but I hardly said anything to her about it because my son had fallen in school and hit his face and I was so consumed by him being okay that my little girl was left without much in the way of praise… thing is, when they hold us tight and tell us they love us, when they do things we have instilled into them (saying thank you, being kind) the guilt washes away… we are all doing the best job we can and for that we should feel proud xxx

  8. I hate mummy guilt but I guess we all have it at some point. Unfortunately we all have to my sacrifices which we always do for the best for our children. They’ll understand when they are older what it’s like. As long as we love them and support them that’s all that matters. Stupid mum guilt!!!!! X

  9. Yes, very familiar. I think it probably is just a consequence of caring so much – because they are the most important things, the things you really want to get right, you always feel anxious and guilty. #brilliantblogposts

  10. Totally get this. Its constant and sometimes so tiring! I do think most of us are in this together though. If someone could find a cure they would make millions! I do try to catch myself out when I get those thoughts, but its not always easy to turn them around is it #BrillBlogPost

  11. Morgan Prince

    Mummy guilt is one of those things I think we’ll never escape. It’s part of who we are. I imagine, even when the boys are grown up with their own families, I will still feel guilty for some reason or another. Great post 🙂

  12. I think you hit the nail on the head with having mummy guilt as long as you care. The two go hand in hand which is why there is no real solution/get-out. After wrestling with mummy guilt for so long I now try and see it a bit like how an actor can use inevitable nerves to feed their performance: we can use the inevitable mummy guilt to remind us that actually we rock the mummy thing because we care so bloody much!x

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