Towards a Guilt-Free Motherhood (Part 2)


It was 8pm on a Tuesday night. Little Edison was taking his own sweet time, munching on his apple, and watching the TV. I was anxious to return to our home from my PIL’s house, but the boy has not even taken his shower.

I was tired and my face was ‘black’, but he didn’t notice it. I packed up our things and I told him angrily to continue eating very slowly until 10pm, because I’ll be leaving without him. Then, I dumped our things into the car and pretended to start the engine.

He got a shock, and he dashed out of the house with his teary eyes. Then, he cried and said to me that he wants to go home with me too. I quickly showered him, and we drove home.

On our way home, he looked at me innocently, and muttered “I love you, Mama.”

At that instance, I was surrounded by guilt again – for raising my voice at him, for losing my temper, and for threatening to leave him behind.

“I’m such a terrible mother!” I repeated that to myself several times, and I apologized to him.

Things like this happen once in a while.

In my five years of motherhood, I’ve thrown a few things out of my ‘guilt sack’, but there are also new things that get added along the way. I’ll share some of them in this post.

Things I used to feel guilty about, but not anymore:

1. Being a working mom

I can still remember vividly the first day I sent him to the infant care centre, that was during the last week of my maternity leave. I sat on the bench, sobbing quietly and struggling with separation anxiety from my baby.

I blamed myself for not being able to take care of him 24/7. It’s not because I’m career-minded, but there are valid reasons why I need to maintain my financial-independence.

Now when I look back, I’m at peace with my choice of being a working mom. I can’t be with him all the time, but I’m with him most of the time when he needs me. And I’m always there for the important events in his life – his birthday, his parent-teacher meeting, his graduation concert, when he’s unwell, etc.

2. Feeding him with a less balanced meal

I don’t cook so often, and I used to be guilty about that, but not anymore. We eat home-cooked food at my mother-in-law’s house every weekday. So, on weekends, we usually eat-out at our favourite restaurants.

When we’re out the whole day, sometimes he missed his mealtimes and naptimes too. Out of convenience, we also feed him with burger and French fries. But again, I tell myself – one day without protein will not malnourish him, one day without afternoon nap will not make him tired or cranky.

Most importantly, we spend a meaningful and fun weekend together. It’s okay to bend the rules once in a while.

3. Stealing some ‘me-time’

I like to attend to him whenever he demands my attention. But I’m a human after all, and there are times when I really need some quiet times for myself.

So, I’ll plonk him down with his favourite iPad game or in front of the TV. I told him not to disturb me, and I disappear for ten minutes. Whether I’ll be enjoying my cup of coffee, taking my power nap or lose myself in a book, ten minutes are all I need to recharge and rediscover myself.

Guilt that I’m still working on removing:

1. Losing my patience

(as in one of the classic examples that I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this post)

I’m a person with a limited patience tank. Throughout my motherhood years, this tank has gradually grows too. Many times, I told myself to be patience and I succeeded. But again, when stress level builds up inside of me, sometimes I do lost control too.

I feel guilty whenever I raise my voice, scold him or give him a little whack on his bottom. I convince myself that all I’ve done is for his own good, and I should not feel guilty. But most of the time, I’ll end up blaming myself for not being the perfect mom who is always patience, caring and loving towards him.

Now, what is the biggest ‘guilt’ in your sack? I love to hear from you too! Leave me a comment! 🙂

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Regina January 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM

You know, I read all the things which you used to be guilty about? And I can identify! Even what you’re still working on.

I realise that even with limitations, we try to give them our best – and even if it means that we have to ‘recharge’ once in awhile, we’re only human, trying to be a worthy Mum. I also ‘go with the flow’ and don’t let routines prevent us from enjoying weekends as a family. What he will take away from the days he spends with his parents are good times, laughter and smiles. That’s the most important, don’t you think?

Even if it means that we have to compensate by teaching them ‘exceptions’ to the rule, and when it applies 🙂

Emily January 16, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Hi Regina,
I totally agree with you. The good and happy times that we spent together are more important, and I hope that they will always remember, even when they have grown up. 🙂

Homeschool@sg January 17, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Don’t think we will ever escape the mommy guilt. Even as a SAHM, I have tons of guilt & one of which is not spending enough time with my kids.. Whaaaat?? You say? ya lor, my point exactly, some of the mommy guilt is just plain ridiculous. But I guess it stems from us wanting to be the best moms we can be to our children. Then again, we are weak. So I read a parenting book & it said there isn’t perfect parent out there so don’t strive to be one- something like that. I think it’s true. I think once we acknowledge that there will be times we fail as a parent, we will feel less guilty about failing when we fail. The important thing is not the failure but learning from our mistakes and move forward- exactly what you are doing! 🙂

Emily January 20, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Dear Homeschool,
I agree that there is just no perfect parent in this world, and we shouldn’t strive to become one. Ultimately, what’s more important is that we learn from our mistake and do our best to provide for our children. Thanks for sharing your opinion. 🙂

Libby January 19, 2013 at 12:35 AM

I have no children, so I don’t know how it feels but I definitely can identify with you when I feels guilt in terms of “daughter-hood”, sometimes I feel guilty when I don’t spend enough time with my mother.

Emily January 20, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Hi Libby,
On the same note, I also feel bad for not spending enough time with my mom. She is in Malaysia, so we only met 2 or 3 times a year. 🙁


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