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What’s up with all this Mom guilt?

September 17, 2018

I used to be an elementary school teacher and ed-tech consultant; now I'm a mom of twins and aspiring children's book author.

This blog is a place for me to write about personal life experiences, gleanings from books I've recently read, past and current DIY projects, and reflective thoughts that need a home outside my heart. Here at HeartEyes, I am opening my heart and eyes to yet another new chapter of my life, and my hope is that by joining me here, your heart and eyes would be opened to a more thoughtful and intentional life.

Hi, i'm tiff!

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I used to scoff at other moms who said they felt guilty whenever they left their child to do something else, whether it be to work, to travel, or even to go shopping alone.

I couldn’t understand why they would feel that way, but I knew I would never be like that.

What I didn’t know, however, was that my Mom guilt would manifest itself in other ways.

Scenario #1: My son screaming one foot away from me because he wants a handful of blueberries on his tray rather than a couple.

Scenario #2: My daughter screaming at nap-time/bedtime because of who knows why.

Both of these scenarios were sure-fire ways for my heart-palpitating anxiety to rear its ugly head. Both of these scenarios made me want to punch my kid(s) or die myself. Both of these scenarios also made me hate being a mom and being at home; I just wished I could either turn back time or run away forever.

From the very beginning, my husband would tell me to just put earplugs in to decrease the loudness of the screaming and/or crying. I joked about putting on headphones and blasting music to drown out the unbearable noise, but I could never bring myself to do either of these things…

…until I spoke to my therapist.

She, also a mother of 2, told me that many mothers think they need to be 100% in the moment at every moment with their child, whether it is good or bad. There is something innate in mothers that causes them to react and feel with their entire being in relation to their child, but it doesn’t mean they need to be 100% in it if they don’t need to be.

I can’t remember if my therapist suggested putting on headphones and playing music or if I asked if that would be appropriate, but the conclusion was that I should do it whenever the twins’ screaming was becoming unbearable. She explained that the moment would eventually pass, and I needed to do something to help me get through it rather than getting so worked up by being submerged in it.

As I processed why I was hesitant to use earplugs or headphones before, I discovered that the feeling that was preventing me from doing either of the aforementioned was the dreaded thing I swore I would never feel – Mom guilt.

I felt guilty for feeling what I thought at the time was anger whenever either of the twins screamed.

I felt guilty for hating them in those moments, especially since everyone I knew adored their children and couldn’t imagine not loving them.

I felt guilty for wishing I didn’t have children when I have friends who have been trying to have them for quite some time.

I felt guilty for wanting to escape from this torturous life when everyone felt so blessed to have children.

I felt guilty for wanting to block them out with earplugs or headphones, and I felt ashamed that I wasn’t able to calmly deal with them in the midst of their screaming bouts.

All of this guilt already made me feel like a bad mom, and I subconsciously felt that if I used earplugs or headphones, I would just be altogether a terrible mother for not being okay in the unbearable moments.

My therapist shared something with me that allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief. She said,

“It is okay, possible, and normal to feel more than one feeling at a time.”

I can love my children and hate them at the same time. I can be overjoyed with them and annoyed at them at the same time. I can feel numerous positive and negative feelings toward them all at the same time. This was news to me.

I’m not sure why, but I thought that if I was having feelings of anger toward the twins (which I now know were actually anxiety attacks), it meant I didn’t love them. The negative feelings were so intense that it didn’t seem possible there could be any room for love.

However, I realized that I do love the twins (shocker), and that my love for them doesn’t transform into hate in difficult moments. There are just some temporary negative feelings on top of the underlying love I have for them.

Becoming aware of all of this has helped me SO much. I’m able to feel freely, I’m able to pop on headphones to get through difficult moments, and I’m able to walk away from any screaming for some time to regain my composure. Most importantly, I’m able to do it all without any Mom guilt. I’m still working on the anxiety thing, but at least the Mom guilt is done and over with, at least for now.

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  1. csirp says:

    Lady… Even though your therapy appointments are for you and your situation… When you post, it feels like they meet my need too. Thank you for doing this and sharing it all..

  2. Erin Richards says:

    I absolutely love this. As a woman who has chosen not to have children, I suffer from non-Mom guilt. *guilt that my parents won’t be grandparents *guilt over being “selfish” *guilt because “you’ll regret it” *guilt because let don’t get it and I don’t want to explain *guilt because everything you said about headphones and being away from your kidsand all the “mom guilt” is a big part of my decision to not have any.
    And I’m going to battle that. Thanks for being a voice to moms AND non moms.

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Pondering thoughts, personal life experiences, things I love, mental health, marriage life, and everything in between.



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Everything from my birth story to postpartum anxiety and depression, from c-section recovery to mom guilt and judgment. Prepare for raw and emotional posts!


Books + Podcasts

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Gleanings from books I've read and podcasts I've been impressed with, with the occasional children's book recommendations!


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DIY project tutorials from six years of projects in my home! Very much a work in progress, migrating tutorials from my Instagram page to my blog!


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