So much of my days are spent going, going, going. I wake up, lace up my Nike’s and my day starts. Often times I don’t sit down until long after daycare kids have left, which makes it time to fire up the lap top and put some words on the blog. Many times my days end with a long list of things left undone and my house only marginally clean. Some days I feel like I’m on fire and could do a million more things. Other days I barely hold my head above water.

On the weekends we like to go, go, go outside of the house (one of the casualties of working from home). We love getting out and exploring, attending events around the city, trying out fab restaurants, and giving our reviews on the blog. This winter we made a family promise to relax more and spend less weekends running around like crazy. So that’s what we’ve done. More days around home playing games, making meals, taking on the little projects that are on the back-back-back burner of our lives.

I sleep in a little, take naps, watch a movie or two on Netflix, take a walk around the neighborhood. We enjoy our little family day and not a lot gets done. Yet, at the end of the day, as I tuck my minis into their beds in their still messy rooms that I didn’t make them clean, I feel happy, well rested, and guilt. Guilt???

Yes, guilt. That funny feeling that sneaks up the best of us for the silliest of reasons. As much as the day of relaxing and rest was rejuvenating, I feel guilty for all of the things I could have, possibly even should have, done. If I hadn’t decided to sleep in an extra hour in the morning proceeded by snuggling on the couch with the minis while we watched a movie, I could have gotten sooooo much done. The laundry would have actually gotten put away, bedrooms actually cleaned and not just half assed picked up, and my kitchen counters may actually be usable rather than remnants of breakfast on them.

This guilt that I feel is kind of like mom guilt, but more of a societal guilt. Society says the house should be cleaned, well organized, and decorated. I can easily say my house doesn’t attract mice and bugs but it’s not the cleanest house you’ll step foot in. My three kids take care of that with no problem. My house is far from organized. The boy’s room contains clothes that are a size too small for them. Going through their drawers and sorting the clothes into piles will take the better part of a day. It’s not high on my To Do List. My house is decorated. With toys. I could work on these things. Society says I should work on these things. And there’s where the guilt sets in. It’s something I should do, but not something I make a priority.

All of these little things aren’t a priority to the big things. I KNOW this. I believe this. Yet I still feel guilt. There’s nothing I dislike more than feeling guilty for something silly. I could make a plan to get things done next Sunday when we’ll likely have another relaxing day at home….but it’s my birthday. So I’ll just plan on the impending guilt that will hit Sunday night.

This post was originally featured on Ashlen’s blog, Kidsperts. Featured image via. 

‘Mom Guilt’…it’s something I battle every day.

My most frequently asked questions are: Am I doing enough for them? Am I doing too much for them? Am I doing what’s best for them…or what’s best for me? Am I permanently scarring my children by making the wrong decisions? Will they grow up to need therapy if I don’t do what all the other moms are doing?

But one of the main purposes for starting this blog was to free myself from the expectation of perfection. To learn from the feedback of my readers that maybe I’m NOT the only one who feels this way.

So here goes…These are 10 Things I Refuse to feel ‘Mom Guilt’ about:

10.) Not throwing big birthday parties for my kids.

This isn’t to say we don’t acknowledge birthdays here. We do streamers, cake, singing, and always a fun family activity. (This year we surprised our 8 year old with tickets to the monster truck rally!)

I just despise the politics involved in ‘friend party’ planning. (who to invite/not invite, contacting parents who are complete strangers, and do my kids really need 20 more presents to leave laying around the house open?) And lets not even THINK about how much $$$ big parties can cost!

For everyone freaking out that I’m turning my kids into social outcasts…I promise to re-think my position as they get older. But that’s a whole other blog post for another day.

9.) Not volunteering for every opportunity for their classrooms.

I make a concerted effort to spend SOME time volunteering in each of my children’s classrooms. (And I enjoy it!) But I’ve seen moms get roped into helping out with every single activity day that exists. Teacher’s are sneaky like that. I know…for I used to do the same thing when I was a teacher.

8.) Throwing away their artwork and schoolwork.

I know how hard they work on all those masterpieces. But the amount of papers and projects that come through these doors during any given week is mind boggling. So (of course) the most meaningful pieces get filed away into memory boxes. Fun artwork gets displayed their bedroom door. Old pieces come down as new pieces go up.

Then after the kids are asleep I quietly sneak downstairs and rid my counter tops of 48,392 school papers by joyfully solemnly tossing them in the trash. If they happen to find them there the next day I’ll say, “Now how did THAT get in there?” and take it out…that is, until they’re out the door and on the bus.

7.) Admitting that I need a break.

Ok, so I still do feel guilty about this one. Admitting that I need a break can feel like admitting weakness. But I’ve learned that not admitting that I need a break can lead to a nervous breakdown. And I’ve also learned that if I feel like I need a break from my family….chances are my family needs a break from me too.

6.) Some weekends we stay in our pajamas till noon.

Lazy? Yes. Fun and rejuvenating too? Yes. So what if your neighbor comes to the door at 10:30 in the morning and you’re still sporting bed head and pajama pants? (*true story) What I learned from that experience was that she wished she was at home doing the same thing. She told me so! We get so few lazy weekends where we don’t have to run around…why not embrace them?

5.) Letting my daughter play princess.

So “they” tell me I’m not supposed to encourage the princess mentality in my daughter. To “them” I say, “I had to wait patiently through 2 boys to get my girl! And haven’t you seen how cute she looks playing dress up???”

Apparently Cinderella is teaching my daughter that being pretty is the only thing that matters in life. But I bet Cinderella didn’t have 2 big brothers at home to teach her how to wrestle and rough house.

My little girl is quite capable of putting a dude in his place…I’ve witnessed it.

This is also another blog post for another day.

4.) Letting my husband do the cooking on the weekends.

Hey! If he offers… (Wouldn’t you?)

3.) Not having a dog!

My husband has this magical childhood Christmas memory of opening a big box under the tree…and what was inside? An adorable St. Bernard puppy, of course!

I love that, I really do. And I know he can’t wait to have a moment like that with our own kids. But let’s be real here. We all know who ends up doing the work whenever a family gets a dog.

We’ll either have to wait until the kids are old enough to do the job, or the husband travels less for work so he can do it all. I just finished potty training 3 kids…I’m not in any hurry to start again with a peeing and pooping pooch.

2.) Using TV as a babysitter now and then.

I won’t feel guilty about this because EVERY parent does it. Don’t try and deny it…you know you do. And it’s not like I set them down in front of Jersey Shore…so cut me some slack!

1.) Taking a vacation away from my kids/husband just for fun.

Funny thing…that’s just what I’m getting ready to do this Friday! Well, kind of. I’m going on a girls only vacation to sunny Palm Springs, California.

OK, yes I will have my 3 year old with me. But I’ll also be spending quality time with my Mom, Sister-in-law, Niece, and Cousins! What’s the occasion, you ask? Just for fun! It will involve sleeping late, pools, cabanas, sunscreen, board games, most likely some wine, and LOTS of laughter.

One thing I’m absolutely certain it won’t involve: MOM GUILT! (Bring on the cocktails and cabana boys!)

This post was originally featured on Marie’s blog, Make Your Own Damn Dinner. Photo via

“But I still feel guilty,” I said over the phone to my older sister, who is also a mother of young children.

“I’ll never forget what our pediatrician once told me,” she replied. “She said to never feel bad about doing what you want to do.”

That simple advice resonated with me. What was it in my nature that was making me feel guilty about spending one afternoon a week doing something just for me? What is it in so many of us that pulls at our hearts when our logical side knows perfectly well that we all need time to pursue our own goals, interests, passions?

When we become mothers, we take a long, complex– perhaps never-ending– journey to reposition ourselves and our place in the world. We are no longer single, independent units. We are tethered to little people who depend on us for their very survival. It begins at birth. Or really, in the womb. We nurture our children physically and emotionally from the moment they are conceived. That’s just the first great feat we face.

While it seems our baby’s incredible dependence, and our overwhelming sense of responsibility, should eventually lessen as our children grow, I’m finding there are certain spheres of obligation and worry that will never fully vanish.

When my son was four, and my daughter was two, I was in my thirties. Countless aspects of my pre-motherhood life had simply disappeared. Some of these changes, like the luxury of sleeping late and leaving the house without having to check with anyone, I mourned, even resented. Still, as I settled into my role as caregiver, I hardly remembered other aspects of my pre-baby self that had been quietly stifled. I had all but forgotten the little joys from my independent days, like strolling a stationary store on a Sunday afternoon, having no one to cook for but myself, or pursuing a hobby just for the fun of it.

I realized one day, a few years into that new chapter of my life, that though my kids were still young, they weren’t the needy babies they once were. I was no longer pregnant; I was no longer nursing a constantly starving baby. No one truly needed me every minute of the day. My spouse could easily care for our children for a couple of hours a week while I retraced the steps of a dream I had as a girl.

Yet I questioned my intent. Was I too old to get back in the saddle, literally, as it was horse riding that was my interest? Would I look foolish as a grown-up, trying something new, and surely failing at times? Most pressing was this: Who am I to spend time and money on myself, when I have a family to care for?

Still, I followed my gut and pushed through the self-doubt to eventually find a stable I liked. Quickly, I was having the time of my life there each Saturday afternoon. The pulls and tugs of emotional baggage and the needs of young children were forgotten while I focused on riding, if only for a brief thirty-minute period. When I was riding, I didn’t feel old and tired. I didn’t feel bored or stressed. I felt active, excited, happy.

Often, this optimism extended to life outside of my lessons. I was the mom I wanted to be for my children, and the wife I hoped to be for my husband. I was the woman I had dreamed of being for myself.

After a few weeks, I had that conversation with my sister about the unshakable guilt that nagged at me when I found myself driving to the stable each week. I confided that despite the void my new hobby was filling in me, I still felt that uncomfortable, familiar pull home. That soul-crushing guilt.

“Never feel bad about doing what you want to do,” she reminded me.

Those words have helped me every single time I begin to fall within guilt’s grasp, and in turn, I am a happier person because of them.

Photo via

We moms talk about guilt. Every single mother I know suffers or has suffered from it. In one form or another. Whether they had a single episode or have experienced chronic guilt. It happens to us all. It’s pretty much an epidemic. I mean, seriously. Every time a bout of it flares up, we should be quarantined.

We feed off of each other. “Oh my god, little Johnny wet his bed last night. It’s totally my fault. I yelled at him two Wednesday’s ago because he tried to feed his goldfish the meatball sandwich I was saving for my husband’s late night snack. I scarred him for life. I’m the worst mother EVER!”

“Oh, don’t feel bad, let me tell you what I did…” As if it’s a competition. My guilt is worse than your guilt. And the winner is…umm, I hate to break it to you, but we’re all winners.

READ MORE: She Said ‘You Are A Failure’

I have the habit of labeling my forehead with a big “L” as in LOSER with my forefinger and thumb. Like I’m twelve or stuck in 1985 or something. “I’m such a loser mom. I’m totally getting Mother of the Year.” I mean, how many of these damn awards are there? How can we ALL be recipients of the most prestigious award known to mothers? Apparently, it’s possible.

Mother guilt causes sleepless nights, crying jags, severe regret. We take away their phones, tell them they can’t go to a party they’ve been dying to go to, ground them for a month, take the car away, send them to their rooms without supper, put their favorite doll up on a shelf. All because they broke a rule.

But they broke the rule. Not us. So, why do we have to suffer? Why do we feel bad?

READ MORE: My Kid Has Learned To Lay On The Guilt. F*CK.

Remember when our parents would punish us and they would say, “this hurts me more than it hurts you?” And we would give them the stink eye because we couldn’t believe they totally just said that. I mean, if that’s the truth, then just don’t punish us, right?

And then we would get punished for giving them the stink eye. But I digress.

Well, now the torch has been passed. And we finally, finally, finally get it. They were telling the truth. It does hurt us more than it hurts them. Because they freaking get over it. For us, it lingers. Like when you eat enough garlic to raise the dead. Seeping out of your every pore. Except sometimes way longer.

We feel bad because we love them unconditionally. We love our little crotch fruit with every fiber of our being. Let’s face it, the feeling isn’t likewise. Sure they love us. That goes without saying. But when we die, they will get over it. Eventually. That’s the way it should be. Dang, I’m digressing again. Sorry.

So, should we stop the Mother Guilt? Yes, we should. Will we? No, we won’t. Because we can’t dammit. We just can’t. Like I said, it’s an epidemic. It can’t be stopped. And our children will always do something to piss us off. It’s a vicious circle. With no way off. So, enjoy the ride. And I’ll be sure to pass along my crown to you.

This post was originally featured on Maureen’s blog, Momfeld

As a woman, I wear several costumes every second of the day. There’s the wife uniform, the mother outfit, the student garb, the writer, the foodie, the friend, the sister-daughter-family member, the cook, the doctor, and the list goes on and on. Being a semi-accomplished woman means I’ve also got some killer shoes to fill. Since I’ve never been too excited about fashion, all this dress-up makes me dizzy.

The challenge, lately, is trying to decode exactly who I am when I am not acting as the wife of an active duty United States Marine, when I am not mothering my teenage sons (which surprisingly they want less and less of), and when I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but my own.

Wow. My own happiness. Am I even allowed to say that?

Well, I just did.

I often think about who I will be in ten years, and if that woman will feel like this woman had her back. I hope future-me is really happy with herself. All of it: the fleshy folds, the graying hair, the not-so-fine lines that took place of the current crinkles.

I worry that maybe I am not honoring future-me the way I should, and maybe she will be pissed at me for not slowing down and smelling the melons. (Roses are so cliché.)

And just when I reach the peak of high-hoping, I get hit with a massive smack of mommy-wife-guilt. I see the hours of writing, reading, classes, food-discovery, and realize I’ve been doing things now that make me happy without my family. I’ve denied them large chunks of my time due to my higher aspirations.

What a bad woman I am. Bad woman! Bad!

So of course I start reprioritizing everything. Maybe if I slack a bit in the studies and put off a deadline, I can spend more time with the kids. Or even if I am exhausted from pulling a twelve hour day at school, and want to collapse in a heap on the bed, I can give my husband a back massage to thank him for picking up my slack twice a week and sometimes more. I’m saddled with guilt and yet nearly jumping out of my skin for the chance to be the future me I can see so clearly.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m selfish or if this is the plight of every woman who wants to be more than a wife and a mother. As a woman am I allowed to work towards another identity, one that doesn’t involve anyone but me? Then I wonder why this is even a question. I don’t know what it means to be a man, but I don’t often read articles where they are defending their right to have a career while being fathers and husbands.

I guess I don’t have it all worked out in my head – but I hope that my family knows how dear they are to me. I hope I’ve shown them that even when I am working on future-me, they are an integral part of my existence.

Without them, who would I complain about?