I received a lot of advice when I was pregnant with my first child, but one thing that no one talked enough about was the mom guilt you feel when you do literally anything. It is such a weird thing for me to experience because I’m that parent that firmly believes that as long as your child’s basic needs are being met, you should parent the way you feel is best.
Yet, here I am stressing over how much attention I am giving my daughter, what type of baby food I am giving her, and why other kids, younger than her, are eating all these foods that I am too scared to try with her.
Do dads even understand this feeling? Are there couples out there where both parents have this guilt or is it always the primary parent?
To say I am feeling some mom guilt is definitely an understatement.
I feel like there is this belief in society that “for generations before us, women have done it all; taken care of the house, the kids and their partners” so why are we complaining?
What they don’t realize is that back then life catered to the “Stay at Home Mom”. Nowadays, the cost of school can be a lot of money and the majority of us are still in debt well into our thirties. Rent cost more than what you make at your job per month so having a roommate is ideal to share the expenses, not so ideal to raise a child. My husband and I are just about to move into a two-bedroom apartment with our daughter and he cannot afford to pay rent on his own so I don’t have the option to stay home.
On top of all of this, I made a complete career change so that I could follow my passion. To say I am feeling some mom guilt is definitely an understatement. I am always thinking about if this was the right time or if I am selfish for choosing now to do this. Would I feel this way if I was not a mother?
To be honest, it feels frustrating at times in that it seems as though the primary parent gives up so much of themselves because it is expected by society. I spent so much time thinking that I missed out on a career that I love and that there was no way as a parent, I could go after that dream.
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I think it’s time we said goodbye to mom guilt, it is pointless. It’s just another thing to stress us out for absolutely no good reason. Whatever career choice we make as moms is the right choice because it works for us and makes us happy. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for wanting to go after what we have always dreamed of doing.
In fact, studies show that kids benefit from having a working mother. “There are very few things, that we know of, that have such a clear effect on gender inequality as being raised by a working mother,” says Kathleen L. McGinn, the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, who conducted the study with Mayra Ruiz Castro, a researcher at HBS, and Elizabeth Long Lingo, an embedded practitioner at Mt. Holyoke College.
I understand that this isn’t as simple as it sounds but a good place to start is to give yourself a break. Do not let mom guilt take over your life. No one should have to choose between being a parent and having a career, you are allowed to have both!
Jessica Kemp is an up and coming children’s author with her first book set to release fall 2020. She was born and raised in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario before moving to Toronto in 2012. A graduate of the Child and Youth Care program at Ryerson University, she worked many years in child care before pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. Most recently, she created her brand “The Jessi K Adventures” in which she discusses her upcoming book, as well as her life as mom and wife. Every children’s book that Jessica releases will have a portion of the profits going towards a charity/organization.