Towards a Guilt-Free Motherhood (Part 1)

Guilt-Free Motherhood

Before I have Little Edison, I had no idea that being a mother would involve carrying around a huge sack of guilt. A totally unnecessary sack of guilt, I should elaborate, but no matter how hard I try to avoid, it still creeps stealthily towards me.

Last week, I was watching a Korean drama at 10pm. I told Edison to sleep on his own as the drama will end at 11pm. It will be too late for him to wait until 11pm, and he’ll definitely have difficulty waking up the next morning, but he refused.

My six-year-old big boy is acting like a baby again. He wants me to cuddle him to sleep, but I’m dying to watch that drama. (A Gentleman’s Dignity on Channel U, are you watching it too?) The last time I watched a Korean drama was 8 years ago, and the very last time I watched a Korean drama by Jang Dong Gun was 12 years ago!

Why can’t I have just one hour for myself?


I was frustrated. I insisted that he should go to sleep on his own (in a VERY stern manner), and continue watching the TV. He walked to his room, feeling very disappointed.

Suddenly, I felt an internal battle going on inside of me.

“Emily, is the drama more important than your son? Are you insane? The boy has been waiting for you the whole day while you’re at work. You sure want to disappoint him this way?”

“Arrgh, just continue! It’s just a one-hour show. It doesn’t make any difference after all. It’s not like you’re watching it every night. You hardly spend more than 5 minutes a week on TV since the day he was born. That was pathetic, you know!”

Well, there are a lot of good factors that I can debate on. Firstly, he should be independent enough to sleep on his own. Secondly, I’ve spent the entire evening with him the moment I got back from work. I should get my own “me-time” too. When the drama is over, we’ll be back to our normal routine. It’s just 20 episodes anyway (not 200!).

But still, deep down I knew that I’ve disappointed my little baby. I felt so guilty. At the end, I switched off the TV and went to bed with him. That sack of guilt is always there.

I always question myself if I’m doing enough for him. Five years ago, when I saw him crying at the infant care centre, I questioned myself if I should quit my job and take care of him instead. Three years ago, he cried when I dropped him off at school, I again questioned myself if I should homeschool him instead.

When he tells me how much he misses me when I’m at work, I feel guilty again. It’s not an easy process, and I don’t think it ever will be. Although I’ve thrown a few things out of my ‘guilt sack’ from time to time, but there are other new things that get added along the way.

After five years, I’m still trying hard to find that equilibrium. No matter how heavy the sack is, I’m still trying my best to be a good mother to Little Edison. And I always will.

Do you have a ‘guilt sack’ too? 

To be continued…

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  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Dealing with that guilt is really hard indeed. I feel guilty ALL THE TIME, and no matter how hard we try, its always possible to do better which leads me to think, am I ruining my girl’s entire life by not giving her the absolute best environment to grow now. Dramatic, I know, but that’s part of being a mum.

    • Reply
      January 14, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      Hi Elaine,
      Thanks for sharing this, I do agree with you. I always questioned myself if I’ve done the best for my son, and I don’t want to mess-up his life in any aspect. Especially in the area of education, it’s extremely difficult to find a balance. If I push him too hard, I’ll spoil his childhood. If I’m too relaxed, he might suffer when he goes to former education in the years to come.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    I truely understand what you mean cause I have the same guilt all the time too. Sometime when I just want to check FB on my phone and my boy comes to me bugging to read a book I really felt torn. But most time I will give up on my “me” time and do what he likes. And now that I have 2 kids, its worst, cause I always feel that I didn’t spend enough time with my younger one since my boy always demand for my attention.

    So I’m waiting to read your next installment and find my way to guilt free motherhood too. 🙂

    • Reply
      January 14, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      Hi Jac,
      Okay, I’ll work hard to complete my Part Two. Haha! I know it’s even tougher when we have more than one kid. We need to strike a balance between all of them. I only have one now, I can’t imagine how to cope if I have two. My six-year-old is behaving like six months old whenever I’m home. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    my no.1 guilt trap , is being hot tempered whenever he doesn’t pay attention when i am teaching him his reading. i become short fused, then next raised voice, and the full works start. then guilty, restart and replay.

    • Reply
      January 16, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Dear SY,
      Yeah, I replayed that many times too. It gets better now, I can still control my temper when he doesn’t pay attention during study time. But being a VERY slow eater really irritates me more.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    I feel guilty when I know they really need me and I deny them. But I don’t feel guilty about things like taking time out to watch TV and my kids have learned to respect my me-time. My rationale is; if I don’t take care of my own well-being, then I won’t be in a good position to take care of my kids.

    • Reply
      January 16, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Hi Jean,
      You have a really good point here. Perhaps, it’s time for me to educate my son on how to respect my ‘me-time’. Hehehe! I agree with you that we have to take care of ourselves first, to be able to take care of our loved ones.

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