Mom Guilt

We can’t catch a break.  Molly is sick.  AGAIN.  Strep this time.  The other four are coughing, have stomach aches, and the general yuckies.  This time, even the husband got sick and I’m still coughing (though I wouldn’t be if I could remember to take that darn allergy medicine.)

I had to call into work again, for two days.  Depending on what the doctor says about the other four kids tomorrow, I may have to call in for more.  I feel terrible about it.

I’ve missed A LOT of work this year.  Every time I call in, my stomach does these little flip-flops.  I just know they think I’m lying.  After all, whose kids get sick every other week?

Mine, obviously.  With five of them in the house, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s all the same illness from October, just slowly making the rounds.  Once it grounds one, it moves on to the next, and so on and so forth.  We are the revolving door of bacteria.

revolving door

It’s times like these when I miss staying home with my kids the most.  When I was home, if a kid was sick it wasn’t a big deal.  They stayed in bed, I took them to the doctor, to the McDonald’s (the compensation for the poking and prodding at the doctor’s office) and back home again.  Zero guilt.  Now, I have to make the dreaded phone call to work.  It’s stressful.  As if it’s not stressful enough having a sick kid.

Then I think about those mothers who have more important jobs than me.  Not that feeding children in a school cafeteria isn’t important, but let’s face it.  Anybody can do my job and there is a list of substitutes who’d love the work.  What about those people who are the only ones who can do their jobs?  The ones who, if they miss a day, cause other people to not be able to do their jobs?

I’m guessing a lot of sick children are given some ibuprofen and sent on their (un)merry way to infect other children (like mine.)  I’m not blaming them.  I’ve done it myself, on occasion.  But I don’t like it.

In fact, I hate it.

sick toddler pulling on her earsWhen my kids are crying because they have a headache, or their ears hurt, and they have a temperature, I can’t  stand the idea of making them go to school because I “can’t” miss work.  It’s not fair to them or me.  They’re my kids.  I want to take care of them.  They deserve to be taken care of.

Childhood lasts but an instant and the days when I can tend to their every need are numbered.  They are precious.

I don’t know what the solution is.  What I do know, is that every mom has to make the decision to work or not, according to what’s best for their family.  I know that we, as mothers, need to keep in mind that we all want what’s best for our children before we condemn others for the decisions they, as mothers, make.

I also know that when we make that decision, no matter how much or how long we weighed the options, we always feel guilty about that decision at one time or another.

Guilty for calling off work.  Guilty for working at all.  Guilty for not working.  Guilty for sending kids to daycare.  Guilty for sending sick kids to school. Guilty for not contributing money to the household.  Guilty for the time we get to spend with our kids.  Guilty for the time we don’t.  Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.

Guilt sucks.

“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.” ~Erma Bombeck



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19 thoughts on “Mom Guilt

  1. I’m sure it’s natural to feel guilty, but I wouldn’t let it weigh on you too much. The kids will get fed in the cafeteria even if someone else has to pick up the slack. (And really they should thank you because if your kids stay home a bunch of other kids aren’t going to get sick). My husband works in a hospital and brought home a bug that slammed me much harder than him. After the initial sickness I’ve still been coughing for days. I don’t know why either of us didn’t think of him opening his bag of copious meds til last night but mucinex and benzonatate later, I feel much better despite that I still have a bit of a cough. Hope everyone in the household feels better soon 🙂

  2. Used to be kids went outside and played and got away from each other for a while
    Sort of interrupted the Food Chain for the “little buggers” giving them all that grief
    And Moms, Well they think to clean the bathroom, they get the saopy dish water and clean =clean the counter tops tables and stove. . .
    But lets not forget the THOUSANDS of other things they touch in a day, the refrigerator door the remote control the chairs the couches, the hand held games they fight over daily
    If ya tool a fire hose armed with disinfectant you might be able to hose it all down But Really,
    Unless you make them all “clorox wipes” mittens,ya can’t get it all

    Give them all hugs from Granma tell ’em I hope they get well soon ~

  3. Guilt sucks. I hate it. I’m sorry your brood is sick, and hope you’re all feeling better soon. My husband and I have to miss the middle school play tonight, because we both have new shows that we don’t have subs for yet. The girls haven’t made the connection that should they ever decide to pursue theater as a job, they’ll be in the same exact situation with their kids at some point. All they understand is that we’re not coming to their opening night. Or their closing night. Guilt sucks. I hate it.

    • I feel your pain. In the kids’ minds, it’s essentially like you’re saying OUR plays are more important than YOURS. At the same time, it’s a valuable lesson for them–Sacrifices, responsibility, disappointments, that pursuing your passion doesn’t mean you won’t have the same demands on your time as every other job on the planet. The show must go on, so to speak. Doesn’t make you feel any less guilty, though, does it?

      Guilt really sucks.

      • I wasn’t trying to make you feel worse, by the way. Just empathizing. Great. Now I feel guilty about possibly making you feel guilty. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • I am tired, Harry. But not just nights. All the time. That might have something to do with my inability to sleep in addition to the job and everything else. I probably should try some Malatonin. It works for the kids.

  4. Mom guilt. I don’t think there are any good answers. Just take it one day at a time and do the best you can. That’s what we all do. Hope all your kiddos feel better soon and get on a healthy streak. Lots and lots of vitamins. My kids always hate when I load them up on Vitamin C or that Emergen-C drink, but I think it works, at least it works in my mind. 😉

  5. That is the reason for many years we lived in serious poverty. I stayed home. I worked for a bit and we had more problems so I stayed home again. I totally get where you are coming from. I feel your pain. Thankfully, we are past that stage in our life. I will pray God give you peace for this time in your life, and that he will guide you to a place of rest and give you inspired ideas for creating an income and a life. 😀

      • They are. One word of encouragement. Remember the scripture that says, “when your father and mother forsake you, the Lord will take you up?” I used to pray that as a teen (I thought I had things so bad! hahah!), but as my children grew up and I began to struggle with guilt of what I hadn’t done here and hadn’t done there — God brought that scripture back up to me. Not in condemnation, but as a word of encouragement–he would always cover my mistakes and my slack. I know you are giving everything you have–and it is GOOD enough–even when it falls short of how you feel it should be! 😀

  6. I always wonder why it’s moms who harbor all the guilt and not the dads?
    I don’t work outside the home, so I can’t relate to that part. But I still have plenty of my own guilt.

    I only have three kids, cannot imagine five. We also pass one illness around continuously. Ugh.


    • Thanks, darkjade. I’d love to enter but I don’t have the time to create worlds. I’m too busy trying to make this one work. 🙂 I bet you gets some good stuff and I’ll check out the winners. Best of luck to everyone!

  7. Guilt is our middle name as mommies! I feel guilty every other second of the day for something. If I work overtime to get more money to pay the extra bills that come in May- July, I feel so guilty that I am not home more with my baby. Bryan says they turn down the street to come home in the afternoon and Noah says, “Mommy work?.” Of course, I am at work. I always work. Again, GUILT!

    • It sucks, doesn’t it? Billy has told me so many times to get fired this year. It’s the first time in his life that I’ve had a job and he does not like it. Neither do I.

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