Mother’s Guilt…

I recently searched “mothers guilt” to see what other moms are worrying about these days. I wasn’t too surprised when Google came back with over 15 million results. So yeah, it looks like a common thread, it’s real, and I have it. It’s one theme that is on a constant loop in my head these days and you may remember that I have  blogged about it before.

Our baby Evelyn is really the happiest baby I have ever met. She goes with the flow. She lets her older sister take charge, as Mabel is a take-charge kind of girl. You just have to make eye contact with this sweet baby; she crinkles her nose and smiles. And I just fall in love with her over and over again. And that’s when my guilt plows right through me.

I wasn’t too surprised when Google came back with over 15 million results...

Evelyn is loved and well cared for but I feel she gets the short end of the stick. She doesn’t get the kind of one on one time Mabel did. She doesn’t get to co-sleep like Mabel did. She doesn’t get to soothe herself on my breast at any time of the day or night. And she sure doesn’t get all my undivided attention. And what gets me is that Evelyn looks at me like I’m the bees knees and yet I know she’s missed out on so much mommy time. And she will never know the difference and it breaks my heart.

I know the reality of the situation and I do my best to divvy up my time between the girls. But the guilt still plagues me. I am trying not to be so doom and gloom about it as I actually welcome my guilt trips. It makes me take a better look at the areas I might need to be paying more attention to.

What’s your guilt trip? And why are we so hard on ourselves?


From my home to yours,

Emma xx

mommy guilt

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Rosetta Patafie says:

Hi Emma! Great post! Listen don’t feel guilty – when they are babies – it’s when they are older you have to divide your time because they will understand like mabel does. Evelyn will not remember right now. It’s when they start talking is when you will be busy and divide your time. But you have 2 girls so when mabel is 4 she will be in school and you and evelyn will be hanging out together more, you’ll see it will all work out. 🙂 xo

Emma Heming Willis says:

Ugh you mean it only gets worse?! But you’re right I should take it a little easier on myself but… xx

Kelly Brake says:

Great blog! I think my middle name is guilt. Much like you, the first born had me one-on-one. My second was so content and happy being number two. I constantly felt I owed this wonderful baby girl so much more. Years passed and the oldest developed some mental health issues which demanded so much of my time and energy. Again, number two, took the lack of attention in her stride. I constantly worried about her, the guilt was intense. It still is. I’d lay in bed stressing over how she must feel and all I felt I owed her. Then baby three came when number two was 9. This little boy was a lovely surprise, shall we say. My guilt increased ten-fold. Now I’d made her a middle child! I love my children equally and uniquely. I know this in my heart and head but the guilt made me constantly question whether I’m doing the best I can for each of them. My children are 26, 23 and 14 now. They are all happy and healthy; my two girls are close friends; my surprise boy has three ‘moms’; they are there for one another no matter what. My middle, guilt baby, works with special needs children…she gives of herself constantly to family and friends. She supports her older sister through her mental illness and helps to raise her ‘little’ brother (he’s 6’1″ now!). She is my rock as I navigate life as a single mom working three jobs. Perhaps god knew what he was doing when he placed my number two in this family…maybe I did not need to stress so much with the guilt! Honestly though, the guilt never goes away its just part of motherhood.

Emma Heming Willis says:

Thank you for sharing your story. Your 2nd baby sounds lovely and she turned out just fine. There’s hope!! 🙂

Julie says:

I’ve been recently feeling this too, except the opposite! I had 3 children in 28 months, then waited 4 years for my 4th. When i had the first 3 boys I grew them up so quickly as there was a younger sibling who needed to be the “baby” now my 23 month old has so much undivided attention while his brothers are in school, I feel terrible that the others never had this too! But, as moms we do our best – and in the end, it’ll all work out I’m sure! Evelyn sounds like a sweet girl! 🙂

Emma Heming Willis says:

All I think is thank God Evelyn came second. She’s very easy going when Mabel really needs me. She just waits her turn. She’s a special girl.
Wow and three children in 28 months!? I’m sure you were running around like a mad woman. But I understand what your guilt must be like now. But it’s the way it was meant to be. Thanks for sharing x

Carli Wootton says:

I feel fuilty every simgle day, i go to work and i sit there feeling terrible because ive rushed around the house getting my son ready for nursery amd then at wke ds i feel bad because i need to go food shopping and do i leave him with his dad, where he wont get my attention or shall i take him to a boring food shop and end up losing my temper because i get stressed.
i wish i didnt have to work so i could get thimgs in order and do jobs when my son is at nursery then my time is there for him.
guilt is a terrible thing… x

Emma Heming Willis says:

I get it. Mabel is at a tough age. I’d love to take her to run errands with me but when I do I wish I hadn’t. She’s a strong willed kid. So I know you get what I mean. Thank you for sharing x

Carli Wootton says:

Sorry my last comment was typed whilst my little one was climbing all over me so sorry about the spelling xx

Audrey says:

Guilt… Thomas (16) had ALL of my time. The guilt still plagues you. It wasnt about giving him time but is he getting what he needs. Am I teaching him enough about life and how and why to behave. As moms if we dont have guilt of some type are we doing our jobs. Guilt is a reflection of wanting to be better at everything…eating that cake (not the whole thing 😉 not getting the laundry straight out of the dryer, maybe I should have given Thomas or Maisie one more hug before school (just incase). I think this is normal… but when we can’t function or place our thoughts elsewhere then it’s not healthy for us. I often ask my kids are you getting what you need…not what you want but need? Keeping the communication open (which I do with my husband as well) helps with my guilt. Now, My kids are older but if I had been blessed with 2 small children at once I would relish every moment x2. From what I read Emma you’re one heck of a mom. Somethings are just out of our control and the things that aren’t we can figure them out and not be too hard on ourselfs. That’s why we have each other here and my husband is the best at calling out my strong points when I feel guilty.
One day in the very distant future our children will *if weve raised them right 🙂 be asking the same question. What answer will you give them?

Emma Heming Willis says:

Lovely post. Thank you! It’s what I needed to hear. Communication is key. I’m looking forward to the days when I can really ask what their needs are and if they are being met. But really we are all doing the best we can xxx

Judit Havasi says:

I had the privilege to be a stay-at-home mom for 2 whole years. In these years I gave birth twice. We are living in abroad far from family, from friends. Even, I never wanted to get the help of anyone because I felt guilty I would leave my kids alone for 30 minutes. I never trusted anyone. Not even in my parents or in-laws. After I stopped breastfeeding my 2nd child everything turned better. I know now if I am relaxed and happy, they will be happy too. My 1st is 3 and the 2nd is 19 months old. They are at a kindergarten 5 times a week, in the mornings. Then I can work, go to gym, have some “me time”… and I love myself better.

Emma Heming Willis says:

I know that feeling of not wanting to leave them with anyone. I have those same feelings of guilt too. Of its endless!! Thanks for sharing.

Julia-Selina says:

Dear Emma,

you need to feel you NOT guilty. You love your two girls alike. Mabel and Evelyn, thank you, with every smile, every laugh, every kiss and every hug with.

Kiss and Hugs Julia

Michelle says:

It’s funny, but I was just talking to my husband about Mummy guilt today. I have just one child, so while you feel guilty about giving attention to both children, I get guilty that I only had one child and therefore my daughter doesn’t have a sibling. My daughter doesn’t even want a sibling so it’s purely my problem not hers, but still! I just don’t think we can win sometimes. If I’d had two, I’d have guilt over exactly what you are guilting about too!

I remember reading a book about parenting, and it made out that mothers who let their child watch a cartoon while they have a cup of tea, should feel guilty about being a neglectful mother! I don’t know about you but I sometimes need that cup of tea and a sit down, just to remain sane! Obviously things are slightly different now that my daughter is older and plays on her own, but when she was teeny I needed a break sometimes, and would feel guilty about that. I think the thing is, we can’t win whatever we do. We will always feel guilty, and that just goes with the job. We just need to lighten up on ourselves more. We’re not perfect, we’re not Mary Poppins, but we know deep down that we are good mums, and that really is the most important thing. Keep smiling!

Gertrude Kelson says:

Do not feel guilty about it, instead make the most of your available time to let her feel that she is also loved. Motherhood is very difficult, especially if your attention needs to be divided by other things. In your case, you just need to give equal attention to both of your children. Let them feel that you both love them equally. If you let the other feel that you cared for her, you also let the other feel the same way so that they will not question their stand in the family.

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