I’m feeling guilty. So what’s new?

Young Daddy heard something on the radio the other day that 96% of women feel guilty at least once a day. Once a day? That doesn’t even come close. I would say that guilt is an almost constant companion for me, and I suspect for a lot of parents desperately trying to find a fair balance in their lives. Already today, some of the things causing me guilt have been:

  • I haven’t done any of the work I should have done over the festive break.
  • I had a lie-in while Young Daddy got up with Ez and Fonz.
  • I ate three shortbread biscuits. Immediately after my breakfast.
  • I’m sat here writing a blog post while Young Daddy is doing DIY.

If I rationalise these feelings, I could say:

  • I haven’t had a break from working for six months. I needed some time out. Urgently.
  • I get up with Ez and Fonz pretty much every single morning and have given Young Daddy many lie-ins this holiday.
  • The diet starts tomorrow (or maybe next week). No point in wasting good food, eh?
  • I have been sorting, cleaning and doing washing non-stop since I got up this morning.

Unsurprisingly, these arguments don’t dent the guilt. And these are just the litle things I’ve been thinking about – they don’t even touch on the big issues that I’m constantly mulling over in my head.

I think it’s just the way I’m programmed. Is it a female prerogative? Possibly, but I do think women are probably just better at identifying and communicating these feelings. I just wish I could find a way to turn off the guilt for a little while. It gets tiring.

What makes you feel guilty?

17 comments to I’m feeling guilty. So what’s new?

  • loving the new look blog H!
    Hmmm. Guilt eh? I get all sorts of guilt pangs – normally when work is kicking off and going really well, I feel like a terrible mother who is neglecting her son. I also feel very guilty about the time my parents get to spend with L, especially as my in-laws help a lot with childcare, so L is a lot closer to them.

  • I think it is a woman thing. I constantly feel guilty about all sorts of things, usually connected to my choices as a mum/partner. I often think that I must just accept these bugbears as if it wasn’t them, it’d be something else.

    • Young Mummy

      I’m definitely programmed as a worrier, so if I wasn’t feeling guilty, I’d be stressing about something else. Really do wish I could just feel happy with the job I’m doing as a mum/partner etc.

  • I feel guilty all the time. So much of what I should be doing. So much beating myself up about not having done whatever. Mainly though I feel guilty every time I shout, and so often that is tied into stress about not having done something.

    The most irritating thing is I know I am setting unacceptably high standards against which I continue to measure myself… and then fail over and over again. Doesn’t seem to stop me from doing it though.

    • Young Mummy

      Oh yes, shouting always makes me feel SUPER guilty. If I shout and then see a little face crumble and the tears come, the guilt is horrendous! You’re right – it’s the high standards we set ourselves that cause us to feel guilty. We think we can do everything, and do everything perfectly and give ourselves a hard time when we (understandably) fail in our eyes. So hard to break out of that cycle of thinking.

  • Ooft, where to begin? I don’t have any kids, but this still struck a chord with me. I think that expressing the guilt sometimes helps – but then I feel guilty about needing reassurance and it all starts again…

    I don’t know what the answer is, and I don’t think it’s just us women that get it either, though perhaps we’re more likely to talk about it. I do know that all we can do is accept it as much as we can, and try to leave things that are in the past exactly there – certainly no point dragging them into a new year. Easier said than done – good luck to all of us!

    • Young Mummy

      We should definitely treat the new year as a fresh start and try to rid ourselves of guilt left over from 2010. I don’t have an answer, but I’ll definitely make an effort to accept it!

  • Guilt. I spent every waking minute and every dream feeling guilty. Its about blame as well. The latest episode to be tearing me up and making my head hurt with guilt is that after three weeks of absolutely no sleep I left the Boy to cry to see if he’ll settle himself. He didn’t and now I think I have given him some kind of damage. And then I have been thinking about whether I left Little P to cry too much and is she okay…SERIOUSLY. I am that irrational. I worry about everything and think that in some way It is my fault and if I had done it differently that worry wouldn’t be there and life would be perfect. Doughnut.

    • Young Mummy

      Oh I had exactly the same feelings about leaving mine to cry. I was so anxious about it, I couldn’t handle them crying at all. I read a book before they were born that TERRIFIED me. Eventually I calmed down about it, and realised that it was long periods of crying that I wanted to avoid, and that I could cope with five or ten minutes. I don’t envy you having to go through it all now, but you can tell what a little star Little P is so I’m sure you’re doing an incredible job. xx

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pants With Names, Heather Young. Heather Young said: Do women feel more guilt than men? New post on Young & Younger http://bit.ly/e5WvVF [...]

  • Everything! Letting the Nannies take the kids. Not using the Nannies to their full employment. Taking time to just read a book. Not having read anything in weeks. Eating. Not eating. Right on down to “finding time to use the toilet.” It’s part of parenthood.

  • I was told that guilt is the strongest emotions, so will always out itself. I am learning to not let it take hol, but it is hard

  • Hi love the new look BTW – shortbread is heathy :-) PS rip up that long list of things to do – its only going to make you feel more miserable and guilty. Be more selfish and put yourself first is what I recommend – maybe its because I’m the first born (but only by 3 minutes)

  • Put it this way Heather, my main NY resolution is to try and not feel so bloody guilty ALL THE TIME. I’m sooo with you on the lie-in thing too. I have pretty much got up with the girls every morning for the past 3 years. Every now and then I just don’t want to do it and I have to beg my husband with guilt induced pleas. The fact is he’s happy to do it, but why do I feel so guilty about asking him? Sadly we are just programmed to feel this way. It’s just life. Bollocks.

  • Hi!

    As a husband & a dad of twin babies, I can defintiely say from my experince that we men ‘deal’ with guilt a lot better – or just don;t have as much of it…

  • I rarely feel guilty. Should I start feeling guilty about not feeling guilty?!! It’s a hard adjustment going from an independant woman, to being mother who never has any time to think about herself. My husband happily pops to the pub for a sneaky drink on the way home from work to ‘unwind’. He doesn’t feel guilty about it, so why should I …. instead I just schedule some ‘time out’ for myself at the weekend! It’s a happy balance in our family, we share lie-ins at the weekend too. Happy mum, happy babies!!!

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