The day we became a Mama is the day that “thing” ALL the other Mamas out there warned us about and often talk about…
It’s the internal trigger and mindset that holds us back from or enjoying without reservation, ANYTHING that isn’t all about being 100% genuinely attentive and focused on our precious little ones. It’s the Mom version of actual “FOMO-fear of missing out” that we hold against ourselves when we attempt to do anything else outside of Mom life or even when we feel like we AREN’T doing Mom life “right”…ugh!
It’s called “Mom guilt”.
What about those Dads out there? Have we excluded them and sold them short of feeing the EXACT same way?
Don’t get me wrong, I know there is a unique, special and UNPARALLELED bond between Mama and baby. As well as being a Wife+Mom+SAH (or working Mom, work from home Mom or side Hustle Mom…you get the picture, ALL Moms!)+Women…I mean let’s face it, we ROCK and handle SO much!
It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done.
TRUST me, I’m utterly OBSESSED with my role(s) but I struggle with “Mom guilt” on the daily. However, for me and my house, I know that “Dad Guilt” is oh SOOOOO real for our guy too, NOT just me.
When I saw it first hand…
It wasn’t until my Husband had almost 2 weeks off work that I saw another side of what this “Dad Guilt” really looked like. Granted he has had longer lengths of time off before, in the past 2 years from when our Stella girl was born till now, but there was something SO different about the time we got to spend with him that made me realize that he struggles with the “guilt” too.
EVEN more so than I could have imagined.
After we had our now 2 year old (still crying over it), Stella girl, I was working full time about 50+ hour work weeks (including commute). I returned to work after an extended Maternity leave for roughly 5 months before I waved my FOMO “Mom Guilt” white flag. I had the bittersweet realization that this Mama needed to just be a Mama. I was willing to leave my professional identity behind to be 100% a SAHM…thank GOD my Husband supported me all the way through.
The reason I share this is because my Husband works upwards to 65-75 hour work weeks, at a hospital in and out of very stressful cases/surgeries and his time is limited to when/how he can connect with us to say in the loop with our daily life, without feeling completely excluded (Apple we LOVE you for FaceTime). Knowing almost EXACTLY how he feels when I was working and he is working even more with LESS flexibility and accessibility to stay connect I felt his Dad Guilt pour over into my Mom Guilt cup.
It was never, nor do I believe he would ever, entertain the option to wave his “Dad Guilt” flag and say he was done too. For that, I truly strive to cheer our guy on ESPECIALLY on days I know he is struggling BIG time in the “Dad Guilt” department.
This past week my Husband had time off to just be with us during our daily Mama and toddler life things.
Granted this time was supposed to be filled with MANY family outing and activities, as we typically do to make the MOST out of having our guy home, BUT we just bought our second home so plans changed and our time was spent with a lot more of prep and packing than fun and outings (although we snuck in a few moments here and there that were filled with LOTS of memories). It can’t be all work and no play, right?!
With ALL that said I saw first hand how much my Husband struggled with, what I now have deemed as “Dad Guilt”.
During this recent period of time off, he was in the thick and thin of ALL the daily activities, routines, schedules, and even a few Toddler 2 meltdowns. From morning routine-bedtime routine and EVERYTHING in between. NOT because he never has or wasn’t before but with his crazy hospital work schedule and LONG hours, we typically spend his days off doing outings and adventures. So he sometimes missing out on just the daily “normal” toddler life grind. This leaves the everyday, day-to-day grind to this SAH Mama’s right here. WHICH, might I add, I do with a grateful heart as does my Husband.
It’s true what they say “it’s the LITTLE things that count” and it was through the “little” every day, silly, “boring” things that I saw his GUILT first hand. Seeing and hearing from him about all the things he felt he was “missing out on” and the guilt of wanting/NEEDING to do ALL the things that weren’t right at home with our favorite girl.
It was, right there, in front of my eyes…
FULL on Dad guilt.
It was right then and THERE I felt like my Mom Guilt, was almost, put to shame.
I knew what it was like to have “working Mom” guilt outside of the inherited Mom guilt…which I can see the reverse in my Husbands eyes.
My heart seriously ached when I heard him say, during playtime with playdough and shapes…
I hate that I miss out on these little things like this while I work. I feel guilty I can’t be here more, to do more with her.
We are beyond blessed to have our guy. My Husband is by far the proudest and loving Father I’ve ever seen or meet and he would, does and strives to do and be EVERYTHING for Stella and I. I know he puts in the crazy long hours to provide and set the MOST amazing example for our family in a multitude of ways. But…
Dad GUILT is so REAL.
As a SAH Mama, although it’s SO tough even more than ANY job I’ve ever had.
When I want to feel SUPER bad for myself, alone and depressed.
When I want to let that NEGATIVE self-talk and “Mom guilt” set in. I remember this…
Dads feel like this too.
It might not “look” like the same guilt but I’m confidant to say it “FEELS” the same.
Listen, whether it’s Mom Guilt or Dad guilt…ALL guilt is created equal. Let’s just call it “Parent Guilt” and support, encourage one another to do what it takes to create and work hard for a life we can be proud of our family living. Even if that means a “self-care” day or a 65+ hour work week.