Being A Mother Is One Big Guilt Trip!

Lounge By cakesrock Updated 25 Jun 2010 , 12:15am by cabecakes

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cakesrock Posted 21 May 2010 , 3:34am
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I have a 4 yr old boy and a 2 yr old girl (almost 5 and 3) . My son is acting up a lot lately and I am at my wits end. He will not listen, tantrums etc.... This happens almost every day after I bring them home from daycare. I cannot get him to stop - it is like he has to burn himself out. We cannot figure out what is going on, if anything. Or is this normal for that age? But if it is not him, then it is her or they are fighting. I start off handling it well, but it goes on and on and I get so frustrated and just end up yelling. I work all day then I have to come home and work this 2nd stressful shift. My husband gets home later as he works through supper time.

Then to top it all off, I constantly feel guilty about the way I deal with my kids. And more guilt about working (even though I have to), not disciplining right, getting too upset, losing patience, not spending enough time/paying enough attention (I cut down on caking because of that).
I realize intuitively, that none of us are perfect, but I feel that I am really far from being the mother I want to be, esp when dealing with my chidrens behavior challenges. But most importantly, I dont know how to get to a point where I dont harbour all this guilt. My husband does not appear to be plagued by this guilt thing like I am (he has small bouts). Mine is constant!
Anyone have some sage motherly advice? I could use it about now...

22 replies
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dalis4joe Posted 21 May 2010 , 3:50am
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Oh My!!!! You are just NOT ALONE! I feel the same way ALL THE TIME.... I don't know if it's just me being too hard on myself or what... but I always feel guilty... if I discipline them.... I feel guilty....if I don't... I also feel bad... if I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.. I feel bad... it's like everything makes me feel like I am not a good mother... I pray about it all the time... and DH tells me that I am a good mother... but I just don't get it.... if they want something... I buy it for them and DH thinks I get them too many things... that I am trying to "buy" their love... but if they asked me for something and I don't get it for them, I feel guilty... it's a constant battle in my head.... I am glad I am not alone in this...


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JanH Posted 21 May 2010 , 4:10am
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50 Easy Ways to be a Fantastic Parent:

How to be a Better Parent:

Child & Family Web Guide:

Growth & Development:

How To Behave so your children will, too!
A collection of entertaining stories and practical ideas gathered from real parents.


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casme Posted 21 May 2010 , 4:54am
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Someone once told me you have to love your children enough to discipline them and be firm. My pediatrician told me all parents want to kill (not literally) their kids at one time or another. The thing is never crossing that line. The only thing I can tell you is guilt is part of being a parent. We all have it. Just do the best you can.

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hvanaalst Posted 21 May 2010 , 5:11am
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Mine are 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 and my 4 year old sounds very similar to yours....and i have 3 close friends with 4 year olds that all say the same thing. Unfortunately I think it is a normal phase. I think they are at an age where they want to test all the boundaries, but also are maybe getting bored with things that up until now have interested them. I try to keep him challenged and not bored as much as possible.

Some days the two of them are just at each other from the time they get up until they go to bed. Days like this I do my best to get them some time away from each other, it is tough but seems to help.

I too find myself yelling out of frustration. I know it doesn't do any good but you just get to a point where you just need to get their attention I think. Good luck and try not to be so hard on yourself. Being a mom is the hardest job anyone can do.

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redpanda Posted 21 May 2010 , 6:42am
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I remember when my son (now 17) was 4, and his pediatrician referred to that age as the first adolescence. One thing that may be going on with your son is that he is using up his energy behaving at school, so when he gets home--where it's safe to do so, he falls apart. That is very common with kids who are high-energy and/or sensitive.

If that is what is going on, it means that he knows you love him unconditionally and that he can release all of his pent up energy and frustration. It means you're a good mom, even if it doesn't feel that way.

My son often needed some decompression time when he got home--quiet time to himself, with nobody allowed to intrude for that time. He could go into his room and listen to music or play with his duplos. To this day, when he comes home from school, he will often decompress for 15 or so minutes before his is able to cope with any other demands. Then again, I would be like that, too, if I could.

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dldbrou Posted 21 May 2010 , 11:32am
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I don't know if this will help, but think about how they work with them at daycare. They do not let them get away with everything, they engage them in activities constantly. There is a plan for every minute of their day. What you may need is a plan to keep him/her feeling like there is a schedule.

If you have a small child's table that you could put in your kitchen or the area where you need to be it helps.

Get home- sit and have a snack at table.

Give the child an art activity--color, paint, playdough, blocks, etc. for 1/2 hr.

Next, restroom break, then maybe outside for a 1/2 hr.

Watching a child's show could be used as a reward for good behavior for a short time.

Next, find a challenge for him/her to do at the table. Build something, or trace something on paper using smaller crayons. This works with their motor skills. Also cutting up scraps following lines that you draw. Just make sure to observe them so that they do not cut hair, or clothes, etc. This could keep them busy for 1/2 hr.

What I am saying is that you might have a child that just needs your attention and structure for a little while until they get tired.

Big reward is playing in bathtub and then bed.

Good Luck.

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dalis4joe Posted 21 May 2010 , 12:04pm
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very good advice... will read Jan's posts for sure...

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cakesbycathy Posted 22 May 2010 , 5:38pm
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How is your child behaving at day care? If there are no behavior problems there then it might be he needs a little decompression time as soon as he gets home. It is very common in school age kids - they spend all day "being good" at school that by the time they get home all that energy is pent up and they need to release it.

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juststarted Posted 22 May 2010 , 8:06pm
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Oh... Tell me about the guilt trips... I guess that's what at least proves that even if we're not the best mothers, we're at least trying. thumbs_up.gif

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Karema Posted 24 May 2010 , 6:12pm
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I'm right there with you sister. I feel so guilty about starting a business because my kids are so young. I have three children 5, 3, and 10 months. My 3 yr old is a handful and needs constant attention and needs to be kept busy at all times or he gets into all kinds of trouble. I beat myself up all the time. I think that I don't spend enough time with them, I don't plan enough activities, they watch way too much tv, sometimes they have to wear the same pair of pants twice, I don't take them to the park enough, I don't cook every meal every day and sometimes stop by McDonalalds or make grilled cheese, the list goes on and on.

I felt horrible the day I put my baby in the playpen while I worked and only picked him up every 1/2 hour. There is so much that I think I'm doing wrong but then my mom calls and sings my praises and tells me how I'm such a great mother. She reminds me that I feed them, clothe them, and take them to school and I make sure they always go to their dr appts. then I realize I am a good mom even if I don't feel like it all the time. I am doing the best for them that I can offer and there isn't anyone else out there that loves them more than me. In order for me to take care of them and provide my husband and I have to make money or we will be homeless but our kids will have more of us? Doesn't make since does it?

There is someone else out there that is worse than you so just do the best that you can. If you can make small changes to make things easier than do that but stop beating yourself up bc your children love you and they wouldn't trade you for a million bucks!

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cakesrock Posted 25 May 2010 , 1:35pm
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Thanks so much for your advice and support, everyone! It really does help to know that other mothers feel the same way I do!

My husband gave me some really good advice this weekend: He thinks I let them get under my skin too much and to remember I am the parent and a teacher. And I should focus on that to guide me. I thought it was good advice. I lose sight of that and let frustration take over sometimes....I guess we can just keep trying to do our best!

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Adevag Posted 25 May 2010 , 2:06pm
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So much great advice here. I don't think you could be a mother without feeling guilt. It comes with motherhood. So instead of feeling guilty for feeling guilty ( icon_smile.gif ) try to accept it.
I also have young children (5, 3 and 2) and many days get used up by solving fights, tantrums etc.
If you think you know why he behaves this way, then that could help you decide what to do. But then again, it could just be part of his age as well. If it is only during the transition from day care to home, it could have to do with adjusting to the environment. Is it different during the weekends?
All children seek stability and consistent rules and they tend to test ( a LOT) to see how strongly we stay with what we say/mean.
I also believe children seek power and in a way try to find their place in the family. They will test our boundaries and see how much power they have over us. If they can make us freak out, scream or change behavior (not saying you do) it gives them great power. This helps me to motivate myself to really think/care about how I react to their behaviors.
My five year old is still the most challenging for me. I'm wondering when it's going to slow down... icon_rolleyes.gif

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SunshineSally Posted 25 May 2010 , 3:46pm
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I have 3 kids, ages 2, 4, and 6. I always feel guilty about something. I just think it's part of motherhood. My husband never feels guilty about doing something for himself but I always do.
My 2 year old had a liver transplant when she was 6 months old and I basically lived in another city, 3 hours from our home, with her while she had the transplant and recovered. I was gone for almost an entire year. My husband would bring the kids to see us on the weekends. We did what was necessary and I would do it all over again but the guilt of being away from my other 2 during that time will never go away. They panic every time I have to take her for a checkup because they don't know if I'll be back home that night and I can't ever tell them that I will because she can be and has been admitted to the hospital if her labs are not right.
We have been told that our oldest 2 are the most well behaved children at school. They are anything but well behaved at home! They fight, they throw tantrums and do almost anything to push the limits with us. I think school just wears them out but I feel better knowing they behave for others anyway.

Yes, motherhood is one BIG guilt trip! You aren't alone!!!

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indydebi Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:28pm
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Originally Posted by Karema

I felt horrible the day I put my baby in the playpen while I worked and only picked him up every 1/2 hour.

icon_surprised.gif Are you kidding? You felt GUILTY because you only held him every 1/2 hour? Did someone tell you that once a child is born, he/she is suppose to be super glued to your hip 24/7?

I must be the "old" mom on here. I honestly cannot recall feeling "guilt" over how I raised my kids. There were things I wish I could have done differently. I wish I didn't have to move into my parents house with them after I got divorced where the 3 of us pretty much lived in one room. Guilty? Heck no! I was doing what had to be done to make sure they had a roof over their head and food to eat. Lots of nights I had to work late and didn't get home until 7 or 8. Guilty? No way .... not when that overtime money was the only way I could afford those new shoes for them.

Children need to learn to be on their own. They need to learn how to entertain themselves. This is how they develop their imagination. This is how they learn to explore. This is how they learn. The children are being short-changed if they are not given the opportunity to develop these skills.

My daughter, who god luv her is a great mom, was one who dropped everything when her oldest wanted. Kid wanted a story? mom dropped it all and ran to read her a story. Kid wante to play a game? mom dropped it all and played a game. What happened is my granddaughter "learned" that she was the center of the universe and everything DID revolve around her .... a phenomenon they are playing hell to correct right now. My daughter never saw what she was doing ..... until the 2nd child was born and suddenly she didn't have the time to placate to the eldest kid's tantrums and whims.

Being a mom has nothing to do with "guilt" and whoever planted that idea in moms' heads should be shot! Sometimes doing the right thing is hard but there should never be any guilt about teaching your child and doing the right thing for their development.

Yeah .... I'm the "old" mom, here.

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cheatize Posted 27 May 2010 , 6:14am
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If it helps, I used to toss books behind the couch.

I can only read the cow goes, "moo" in the appropriate voice so many times in one day.

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vonnie222 Posted 27 May 2010 , 8:41am
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None of you have any reason the feel guilty. I don't understand why you do. All a child needs, beside love, is food, clothing and shelter. A parent does what needs to be done to provide those things.

Throw the kid in the floor or playpen, give it some toys, and get on with life. They aren't glued to your hip and they don't need your constant attention. They need to learn that the universe doesn't revolve around them. They need to play by themselves to develp their imaginations. To learn by doing, and yes, by making mistakes also. A two year old should be able to amuse themselves for a couple of hours. A four year old for a few hours. They don't need every minute of the day spent on activities either. Unstructered time is just as important as structured time. They aren't going to be irrevocably damaged if you don't sit under them or cater to their every whim. You are the parent, get tough, set the rules and enforce them however you need to.

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margaretb Posted 31 May 2010 , 4:08am
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My mom just recently said that the biggest thing she remembered about being a parent was the constant feeling of guilt. And I have it too. I do some stuff well, but I'm pretty crappy about others, but then some stuff that I do that other people would think is bad parenting I actually think is good for my kids. And I SO GET the frustration of dealing with a screaming kid. My 5YO is having a thing now where if the 2YO does something mean to him (gets in his way, grabs his toy), he just sits there and does this high pitched, LONG scream. AND I CAN'T STAND IT! Yeah, I get the yelling out of frustration thing. However, as fas as I can tell, everyone does stuff that they feel guilty about, and if you talk to the really cool honest parents who've been around the block once or twice, no matter what you say happened, they'll tell you, "That's happened to everybody."

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margaretb Posted 31 May 2010 , 4:36am
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And I forgot to mention a little incident that happened today. My son was in playschool this year, and the parents have to go in and be parent helpers. One lady I know had a child who was only about 8 months old at the start of the year, and my youngest turned two before Christmas. Anyway, you can't bring siblings when you are the parent helper, so I told her that I would trade babysitting with her. As it turned out, the first time I was the helper, she couldn't watch my kid because her daughter had a doctor appointment, and the next time I got my mom to do it, and then due to very grave personal reasons, the teacher ended up missing a LOT of school, and I volunteered to sub for her, which was supposed to be 3 days but ended up around 15 by the end (they only have class twice a week), so I didn't have to do anymore parent helping, and I also told them that I would have to bring my youngest with me because I didn't have anywhere I could leave him for a whole day, and since it was that or not have any class, he got to come with me. The point is, I babysat for her every time, but she never had to for me. Which is fine, because I've been there and I offered. So on the last day of playschool, she gave me a planter full of flowers as a thank you gift. I LOVED it, especially because I wasn't going to plant anything this year since it mostly ends up a disaster for me. Then yesterday it snowed and got below freezing, so I brought the planter into the house. When I went into the porch late this morning, I found all the flowers HACKED OFF! I WAS SO MAD! So there was a lot of yelling and some spanking and some more yelling.

As it turns out, it was the two year old. However, that little stinker lied lied lied. Who did it? "Joey". He said that a zillion times. Then I started saying it wasn't Joey, so he would say "Danny". Then I said it wasn't Danny or Joey, and he said "Mom". Even after I was sure, he still says it was Joey. However, at one point, I asked him where he got the knife (it was a kids knife, not dangerous), he pointed at the drawer and said "there". GOT YOU. However, it was something my 5 year old could have done, and he denied it as well. So I started asking how much of the cutting he had done. Zero. I asked again. Zero. Finally he said, holding out his hands, "Zero means none. How many apples do I have in my hand?" I said, "Zero" "That's how much of it I did!". It was pretty funny.

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SugarBoy Posted 3 Jun 2010 , 4:23am
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Originally Posted by vonnie222

None of you have any reason the feel guilty. I don't understand why you do. All a child needs, beside love, is food, clothing and shelter. A parent does what needs to be done to provide those things.

Amen, Sister!

Not that long ago I was talking with a bridal show promoter who has probably 15-20 years in the wedding industry. He told me something interesting about today's brides being more self-centered than before and wanting the world on a platter and instant gratification and 'why can't the sun set when I say'...well, you get the idea. His opinion, not mine, is that we spoil kids too much and now we are paying the price.

He might have a point; he might not, but I read the different posts here about the difficult customer - yep, some are brides. Maybe if we tallied up all the rotten customers, it wouldn't make up 1% of the business. It can be hard to talk about our wonderful customers. Maybe for fear of losing a good thing?

While I am not a professional cake decorator, I am in the wedding industry. Luckily, in my position, the brides who have gone bridezilla don't dare raise a voice to me...yet! (There might come a day.l..or a bride.)

I am not a perfect parent....far from it. But I was once on that slippery slope - and I have the "perfect excuse" - my boys are disabled. So I should be there to help them breathe.

But I took this course - "Love and Logic" and saw the errors of my ways. In a nutshell, this class teaches you to parent so that your kids will be ready for the real world, which means that life isn't fair and you don't get everything on a silver platter just 'cause you ask.

My husband also took the class and, like I said, it's still not perfect but we help each other out when we slip into our old ways.

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Franluvsfrosting Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 4:34am
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When my older girls were younger I think I threw more temper tantrums than they did. I didn't know how to parent and was really frustrated at myself because the same behavior from them could illicit completely different responses from me depending on my mood. I knew this wasn't good and was very frustrated by it. They never knew what to expect as the boundaries were always changing.

Fortunately, one day I realized what the problem was and asked my husband to help me. I made note of what the most common issues were with the kids (disrespect, not obeying when I told them to do something, that kind of stuff). Then while the kids were in bed and I was calm DH and I sat down and listed out consequences for each of those common behaviors. Now I had a kind of a chart to look at when someone smacked a sibling or whatever and they had the same consequence every single time. It helped me know where my boundaries were as well as letting them know what was expected of them every time.

I realize this may not be the approach for every family but for me it really helped me. I knew what to do in each instance or at least had some guideline to go by. It was kind of like training wheels for me since I really didn't know how to parent. We all have to learn somehow and this worked for me.

Those two are now 16 and 14 and while so many people I know are grumbling and complaining about the "teen years" I am enjoying them immensely. I no longer have a chart telling me how to parent but everyone knows what is expected and what the consequences will be if the standards aren't met.

I hope you figure out what works for you and hang in there. icon_smile.gif

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Adevag Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 7:46pm
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Originally Posted by SugarBoy

But I took this course - "Love and Logic" and saw the errors of my ways. In a nutshell, this class teaches you to parent so that your kids will be ready for the real world, which means that life isn't fair and you don't get everything on a silver platter just 'cause you ask.

My husband also took the class and, like I said, it's still not perfect but we help each other out when we slip into our old ways.

I really like the "Love and Logic" as well. I am just in the process of listening to their CD's and I have only gone through 2 out of 4. I have always believed in raising children with love and empathy (like they suggest) and logic consequences rather than threatening or spanking. But I have learned so many good ideas to improve my parenting skills on this love and logic. What I love so much about it is that is has such a respectful image of the child and they trust the child to learn from consequences instead of telling them what they did wrong and how to avoid it in the future. (I have even used the same method on my DH icon_lol.gif )

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cabecakes Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 12:15am
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Amen, Indydeb...I agree totally. How can a child learn independence if it is attached to its mother's hip 24/7. Children need food, shelter, structure, discipline,clothing and love. Not just love...some parents love their children into becoming juvenile delinquents. My grandmother told me when I was young (and of course not having children then I didn't understand what she raise good kids you gotta make them hate you just a little bit...Having now raised 5 children, I understand perfectly what she meant. My advice love your children, but give them space...discipline your children when they need it, but sit down and explain why they are being disciplined. Give the children activities to vent some of their pent up energy...and don't give up baking...teach them to bake. It was the greatest gift my mother ever gave me.

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