Am I Maternal Enough? My Struggle with Mom Guilt

Almost every little girl dreams of becoming a Mommy. They dress their dolls up and rock them to sleep. They “feed” them bottles and cookies and burp them. It is basically a right of passage for tiny humans.

I don’t really feel like I did that too much. 

Don’t get me wrong, I had the Cabbage Patch doll and Barbies {it was the 80s after all}, but I don’t remember being overly loving and motherly towards them. What I do remember was cutting my Barbies’ hair and drawing makeup on their faces. I remember being the no-fun babysitter of the kids next door who spent forever going over the “rules.” I remember being asked to babysit a legitimate baby in middle school and praying that he wouldn’t wake up because I had NO IDEA what to do if he cried. And was certainly terrified of having to change a diaper.

I didn’t even plan to have kids.

One of the things that my husband and I agreed on when we started dating was that we didn’t want kids. Our plan was to get married, move to LA, live in a crappy studio apartment, and work on our art – my acting and his writing. Then fate {and Mother Nature} dealt us a tiny baby. 

Our wedding plans shifted from the formal affair at the venue my mother had dreamed of since I was a baby to a semi-low key event at the clubhouse in my grandparent’s community. We planned the wedding in a QUICK 2 months and {while nice} it was far from the dream wedding I wanted. Our “honeymoon” was basically a weekend trip out of town that included a pre-natal appointment, fancy dinner where I couldn’t drink the wine, and a movie…that I fell asleep during. Ten years later we still haven’t gone away for more than one night because finding a babysitter for three kids is hard and vacations are expensive.

Am I Maternal Enough?That Darn Mom Guilt

For the past 9+ years I have struggled with Mom Guilt for so many things. For example:

  • Bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding
  • Disposable diapers instead of cloth
  • Using a stroller instead of baby wearing
  • Feeding my kids processed food
  • Screen time
  • Not doing flashcards and learning games with my kids
  • Sending my kids on the bus
  • Sending my kids to daycare when I had the day off
  • Sending my kids to daycare at all
  • Being a SAHM
  • Being a WAHM
  • Being a working mom
  • Not loading them down with extracurricular activities
  • Hating every second of being pregnant
  • Not crying on the first day of school
  • Not walking my kids to class the first day of school
  • Liking my alone time
  • And so much more

The feeling of mom guilt surfaces not less than once a day. To be fair, it is usually self inflicted but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with or silence. For the past few weeks it has been rearing it’s ugly head many times a day which has forced me to reevaluate what is the cause of all of this guilt. 

Is it anxiety? 

Is it because I miss MY mom

Is it just who I am and I need to suck it up and deal with it?

I just don’t think that I got that maternal gene.

Now don’t get it twisted, I LOVE MY KIDS. I snuggle with each of them daily. They are VERY MUCH aware that I love them. They see me running around school doing my PTA thing almost daily. I pack lunches that they like. I listen to all of their crazy stories about Minecraft, Zelda, and Sonic the Hedgehog. We dress up our American Girl doll. We bake cookies together. I take them out for ice cream, Italian ice, and random trips to the movies. I help with homework. Offer book suggestions. Take them on play dates and to the pool.

I have stopped doubting that I am a good mother. I just have to work SO HARD at it because I do not feel terribly maternal and I am loaded down with mom guilt.

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9 Responses to Am I Maternal Enough? My Struggle with Mom Guilt

  1. Joyce Brewer August 28, 2017 at 6:55 am #

    Between the guilt we inflict on ourselves and every new research study on kids, mom guilt is pervasive.
    We all have it.

  2. Malini August 28, 2017 at 8:18 am #

    This is awesome. I totally relate.

  3. Echo August 28, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    I suffer from lack of maternal feelings and mom guilt over those feelings as well! I often wonder if I am “Mom” enough which turns into “Am I good enough?”. It’s a vicious cycle.

  4. Shaffi August 28, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    I know it’s kinda hard to do the upbringing of young kids especially when you have kida at such a young age. I mean you have your life to live as well but than they are your blood and tou love them heaven and beyond. So i guess it doesnt really matter because all the kids must realize the amount of effort and time their moms are spending on them.

  5. Jill Robbins August 28, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    There are times when I don’t feel very maternal. I remember someone once comparing me to a mom who gushed over every baby that passed by and it stung. I really try very hard not to burden myself with any guilt, mom or otherwise, though. We have enough people out there tearing us down to do it to ourselves.

  6. Kristen Hewitt August 28, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    We all feel mom guilt – we just have to do our best and remember to take care of ourselves. LOVED this piece.

  7. Kristin @littlemamajama August 28, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Mom guilt is one of those inescapable realities of motherhood, I think. I never thought I’d have kids, and I often don’t feel maternal or adequate in my role. But we keep moving forward and loving on them hard because they’re our kids! Much love to you as you work through the guilt.

  8. J. Ivy Boyter August 28, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    I’m struggling with this motherhood thing right now myself (and currently in the works preparing post about it) … I wanted 4 kids and I can hardly handle the 2 I have. I have totally changed my tune about kids (certainly not planning to have 2 more) and deal with guilt about the many things involved in motherhood. I suppose it’s natural.

  9. Kori August 28, 2017 at 7:07 pm #

    You are definitely not alone in this thought process! It’s such a vicious cycle that we put ourselves in.

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