Have a laugh on me

We're not all in the same boat, some of us struggle to even get in the boat!

A mother’s guilt runs deep and is never ending


I’m battling to keep my shit together at the moment – so I’ll keep this brief (ish).

As a mother to three children who are very close in age, 3 born in 3.5 years, I have incredible mother’s guilt.

I mainly feel sorry for my third born, who really hasn’t been a baby and unfortunately at times is treated like his older siblings.

But then I also wonder if the reason my No.2 is extremely sensitive and cries all the time is because I’ve failed to manage to nurture his needs properly.

No.2 and I having a selfie moment

No.2 and I having a selfie moment

As for No.1, while she is my gem and quite easy at nearly 5, I wonder if she’s had to grow up quicker because I’ve had two babies to care for during her formative years.

Tears are welling as I write this because I know I can’t turn back time.

I suppose I just have to do my best from now on it, dig bloody deep and find some more patience and tolerance.

Here’s a few Things I Know (thanks Miss Cinders for the topic and link) that I feel guilty about:

1. That I work on a computer but also spend time on it when they are with me during the day, it might only be 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon but I feel bad.

2. I sometimes tell No.2 to stop crying all the time, which makes it worse for the poor wee fella.

3. No.3 hardly ever gets read books, the chance to do games or puzzles with me and gets told off when he tries to use the texters.

4. I don’t spend enough one-on-one time with each of them, this really eats me up.

5. We don’t go out and ride bikes/scooters enough because with 3 on my own it’s a bloody nightmare and it stresses me out too much.

6. No.3 doesn’t get the nice warm ‘don’t do that’ tone No.1 got as a toddler, he gets a short snappy “DON’T DO THAT”. Gulp, I’m such a shit head.

7. I often leave my kids to their own devices because I have run out of patience and don’t want to yell at them.

8. We don’t go to the park as much as we used to, No.3 barely knows what a swing is.

Rightio I’ve got to stop now I sound like the worst mum ever!

Apart from trying to fix all of the above mentioned, how else can I shift the mountain of guilt I carry on my shoulders?

My gorgeous daughter caught staring out the window

My gorgeous daughter caught staring out the window

I’m flogging my blog by Grace, linking with Miss Cinders for “Things I know” and flashing with Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye for Flash Blog Friday

Thank you for the links super bloggers πŸ™‚

Things I Know


Author: Have A Laugh On Me

I'm a mum to three, write from home and I rarely cook, craft or clean but admire those who do. I try to live by the mantra that there's no point in worrying about something that might not happen! Be warned this is not a fluffy, sweet mummy blog, rather a place where you can cringe, laugh and be shocked at my brutally honest take on my life.

50 thoughts on “A mother’s guilt runs deep and is never ending

  1. Awwww.. hugs πŸ™‚ We all feel mommy guilt. You aren’t alone. I spend too much time on the computer, work outside of the home and am not going to be giving my little one a sibling. But its obvious that you adore your kids, and that’s what they will remember most. Not how many times they went on the swing.
    P.S. as the youngest of 4, my mom never took me to a park or on excursions etc. but I turned out great and love her more than anything!

  2. I hear ya hun, I feel like I have run dry of energy and patience these days. The busy Xmas period is hard to recover from x

  3. Oh Emily – Mom’s guilt is the worst thing. OK – here’s the truth – I had this whole comment written before deleting it and starting again because really, I have nothing to say – I have one child who is 20 yrs old so I can only try to imagine what you are going through with 3 in 3.5 yrs.
    What I do know is that I regret waiting until she was in year 11 to spend time with her. I was always working full time (from when she was 4 weeks old) – she spent school holidays in vacation care mostly – and it was only when I was made redundant and spent time with her over the Christmas holidays teaching her how to drive and get up hr 100 hours of driving that I realised just how much I had missed out on. And, while I was upset and regretted missing those things – there was nothing I could do to bring them back. So I decided to accept where we were and move on from there – we often go shopping together or to the movies and, even though I didn’t go to all her concerts etc, I don’t think that it worries her now – she is happy doing things with me. I can’t change the past but I can change how I deal with the future.
    Have the best day that you can !
    #TIK visitor

    • You know you should have not have deleted what you had written, I would not have been offended, it takes a lot these days to upset me. But your words are wise and true, I plan to spend as much of my time with my children as I can now, because time does go so fast. I’m feeling pretty good now after a day where I pulled out all stops to enjoy my lot! πŸ™‚

  4. Oh sweety 😦 I can tell you that everything you are feeling is normal. My first three were born in the space of 3.5 years, and I can tell you I had a lot of moments like you are having now. We all do.

    Being a Mum is a tough gig, we have no-one to fall back on. We are on call 24/7. Sometimes something has to give, especially when they are all so young and “needy”.

    I always thought the park trip was going to be horrific before I left to go. But once we got there it really wasn’t. I found the key was finding a nice quiet shady park. And going with snacks and drinks that they normally wouldn’t get – “specials” is what my kids called them.

    Thinking of you hunny xxxx

  5. Oh I wish I had an answer that would help you but I don’t, all I can say is you’re not alone! Every time I leave my son to go to work I feel horrible and wish so badly I could be the one to take care of him all the time. And then of course when I’m with him and don’t spend every second playing with him or I get frustrated with him I get so mad at myself for not “savoring” every moment with him.

    I think mommy guilt is an inherent part of motherhood. Don’t be hard on yourself, you’ve taken on a big task and I’m sure your kids think you’re doing a fabulous job, even if it doesn’t always seem like it.

    • Yes mum guilt just seems to come with the territory and I knew we all feel it. You are right though, I tend to be hard on myself and am trying to learn to just roll with it more. I really appreciate the kind words πŸ™‚

  6. Oh, I hear ya!! I have terrible guilt. I only have two kids but they are 14.5 months apart. I feel guilty about all the things I haven’t done with my youngest that I did with my eldest, swimming lessons, gymbaroo, play group….. I feel guilty that my eldest didn’t get enough time being an only child, and being spoilt, the poor thing now gets extremely jealous and has from day one.

    We always spend so much time beating ourselves up over things; it is hard not too, but try and focus on what you do well. When my kids ask for kisses and cuddles, I must be doing something right (what that could possibly be I do not know, but it obviously something in their eyes).

    • Wow that is a close gap… must be very hard. The 2nd or 3rd don’t seem to get what the 1st does but then they benefit in other ways.
      You are right though, I am trying to focus on all the good I have to offer. Thanks for commenting Jodi! Emily

  7. Hugs and more hugs. Is it any consolation to know that if you had done all these things you wished you’d done, you’d still be feeling guilt about something else?

    Not really. But it’s true. We’re all feeling guilty about something most of the time.

    So back to the hugs and more hugs.

  8. I have two 19 months apart and can really relate. G is such an amazing kid when she gets my full attention, but she doesn’t because I have C to look after too and so she does ‘naughty’ things to get my attention back. I just tell myself that whilst they have to share me they also have each other, they’ll always have a friend to play with and I really hope that they grow up to be close xx

    • So true, and with three I hope that mine will always have someone to speak to, although I do intend to be there for that! I love your blog Catherine, and appreciate your visiting and commenting. Emily

  9. Oh sweetie! You are being so hard on yourself!
    We all feel guilt at some time or another, and yes, possibly at times we could do better. But it is what it is, and we are who we are. I get really annoyed with my kids A LOT, which is in part why I’ve started doing the 365 Days Of Grateful. I’m trying to be more present and enjoy the time I have with them instead of wishing it away.
    But I have no doubt that each of your children know exactly how much they are loved! And kids are so resilient, they they will forgive us for not being perfect πŸ™‚

    • I know I’m a shit at that, being hard on myself. I have tried to start a gratitude diary, eg writing nice things down every day! I don’t have time to take part in the 365 days, maybe next year. And you are right, I reckon my 3 gorgeous babies will be like me, eg resilient and love imperfections.
      Thanks for being you Tracey!

  10. I’m not a mummy yet but I’m sure you are doing a great job. Sending you many positive thoughts.

  11. I suffer from Mummy guilt as well and I’m a Dad. So work that out. I don’t think there is any way to get around it completely. It’s a prerequisite to being a decent parent. It means you love them and care about them and always have them in mind and heart. The thing is that kids are erratic, hormonal, spontaneous little creatures and they will give off all kinds of strange signals that make you think they are not as happy as they could be. They have a week of tired erratic behaviour and all of a sudden we’re thinking they’re severely emotionally delayed, or unloved, or not as much of a focus as their sibling and then the little doubts we have about the way we live rush in to fill in the gaps for us – ‘they are acting like this because I don’t do this, or I don’t do that etc’, and oh God it’s too late to change it now!’ Truth is they would still be erratic, hormonal, spontaneous little creatures no matter what we did. Take them to the park everyday, pull out the textas every day, go to the zoo, cuddle them for hours straight, buy the whole ‘trash pack’ set… they’ll still have tantrums and meltdowns, and periods of sooky behaviour. They’re kids!

    You’ve made a list to back up your feelings and it becomes a viscous cycle. I do the same thing but it generally just plays out in my head. You’re stressed and emotional and you think you’re doing a bad job and then you write down all the things that you think you could do better and just reinforce your ‘badness’ at a time when you probably just need to take a break and go easy on yourself. I bet you could make a much longer list about all the great things you do for your kids and how lucky your kids are to have you, and be where they are in the world.

    Plus there’s the ‘thirty year rule’ which I made up for myself. Let’s wait until our kids are thirty and see how they are functioning in the world and then make a decision on how we’ve done. I worked as a Youth Support Worker for ten years and I saw kids make a happy life for themselves out of some pretty ordinary early lives. So I’m guessing that your kids are going to become some pretty cool, well adjusted, happy adults who love their Mum.

    Until then, get past the testing times knowing that the erratic behaviour is there for no other reason than they’re kids. And kids are crazy! And they can drive us crazy. And the guilts will come again. And we just have to keep loving them and doing our best. And I thought I was just going to write a few sentences.

    • Hey there, what a thought provoking and awesome response to my wee pity party. But I really love your advice, thoughts and advice. You are such am awesome writer, I can just see it. Today after writing what I did, I made an effort to get over my pity party for one, I set up my babies with craft, texters and paints.
      I could then do a phone interview and then write the article without feeling guilty my children were being left in front of the TV.
      Nice to meet you and Mrs Reservoir!

  12. Having twins, it gets hard splitting that time equally. Especially when one has a dominating personality at the moment. We’re going to try and make a conscious effort to do more one on one time. It’s tough and we all feel guilty that we’re doing enough. But those are the moments when we have to pause, take a deep breath and quietly say, “I’m enough” Because you are.

    • Oh Grace, I must have it so easy compared to you, but at least it’s sooo hard right?!
      I love the “I’m enough” – and will practise that whenever I feel my head is about to explode.
      Thanks again for being you πŸ™‚

  13. You are being way too hard on yourself. Three kids in three and a half years is tough – bloody tough. Rather than dwelling on what you haven’t been able to do, think of all the fantastic things you do everyday. The fact that you have written this in the first place shows that you are a kind and caring Mum.

    • Thanks for acknowledging that it is a tough gig, I appreciate it, sometimes I wonder if I’m just a big fat moaner!!! And after I wrote what I did this morning, I went on to have a great day and it’s because I was able to get it out of my head and into words. After all as a wordsmith that is what I do best. I appreciate your kind words. Emily X

  14. I think that one of the defining things about our “generation” as parents is the level of self-awareness. The reality is you have three kids so close in age…I have two, three years apart, and yet I often do the things you do. We are human. And there’s only so much of us and time to go around. Like Mumabulous said, your reflection alone is a sign that you are a caring mum, and your kids are super lucky. They always say there are both advantages and disadvantages for having kids closer or further apart. One of the advantages of having them close, is that they will be close…they’ll all be at school together, and can hang out with each others friends…
    I would recommend reading Robin Grille’s “Heart 2 Heart” parenting. When I feel guilty, I read that and it always somehow makes me feel better.
    By the way, guilt isn’t to worst emotion either. It’s evolutionary purpose is so we can learn…and that’s exactly what having kids is all about. We learn every day.

    You’re doing a fantastic job. Love yourself and be kind to yourself, and this will be the best thing for your kids.


    • Zanni what a gorgeous comment, and you’ve really made me think. I will use my ‘guilt’ to my advantage and make sure I do the best I can do, while I can. I think I’ve always been hard on myself and that won’t be easy to change, but I just want to make sure my children grow up without the burdens of insecurities that I have. Maybe that’s why I feel guilty that I’m not there to instil confidence in them.
      I will work on loving and being kind to myself as this is the best thing for my kids to see and learn.

  15. I haven’t read the other comments because I don’t want to get distracted from what I want to say. However, I might be repeating what others have said. We ALL have those same guilty feelings. I know I did, I know my friends did etc. Mum’s are so hard on themselves. Being a mum is THE hardest job in the world and it is 24/7. We were not meant to be perfect. We just do the best we can. I had twins first up and when they were two, I had another baby. It was tough! I was not the perfect mother. I was not always at the park or thinking up creative activities. I did sometimes. I did when I had the energy or if it wasn’t too hot or whatever. I had cranky days when I hadn’t had enough sleep or I simply was desperate for some ME time. My kids are all older now – twins are 20 and my daughter is 17 but I never forget how exhausted I used to get when they were little and I know I was always riddled with guilt over one thing or another. I still do it to myself now but not quite as much. I think mums need to be kinder to themselves and not expect themselves to be perfect. Also to take more time for themselves so that they then have more energy and patience with the kids. Hope this helps ease that guilt of yours even just a little bit πŸ˜‰ xo

    • These words have made me stop and think about how I should stop trying to be perfect and just be. I do know I do need more ‘time out’ because on the rare chance that I do get a break I feel a million dollars afterwards! This year as well as working on patience I’m going to work on guilt. I really really appreciate these words of wisdom from someone whose been there and done that, Emily πŸ™‚

  16. When my kids were little I worked from home, I was very distracted. The eldest has mentioned how much she didn’t like the time I spent on the computer etc. However, they are about to turn 16 and 13 and they are great kids and I have a good relationship with each of them. In the end it’s not about one particular period of their childhood but the job you did in the long-haul. Overall, there were times I stuffed up, but there were also times I got it right and the occasional moment when I really rocked it as a mum. In the end they know they are loved, that I am in their corner and I’ll do whatever I can to help them. That is more important than anything.

    • This really makes sense to me, especially about it being how I do as a mum over the long haul. My children know I adore them so I suppose that’ll help during the times when I’m not so great at this mothering business. Great advice, thank you so much, Emily

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  18. Big hugs to you hun. I know we all have mummy guilt, no matter what our situation. I bet you are doing a wonderful job and your kids love you to bits. I have twins and I often have similar thoughts going through my mind. If they are both crying and want me, I can only physically pick up one at a time, so someone has to wait. GUILT. I can’t take them out to run around nearly as much as I would like, as I either need someone else with me or a completely fenced in park, as one goes one way and the other goes another. GUILT. I could go on, but, I also know that for the things they may miss out on they also get to experience so many wonderful things that singeltons don’t. And I bet there are things that your three get that many other kids miss out on too. Chin up sista, you’re doing great.

    • I always feel like such a moaner, especially to those who have twins, that must be a tough guilt for shizzle. And I think you are right, they will always have each other to support, play with and moan about me to each other if they need it! I appreciate the comments Ang, Have a great week! Emily πŸ™‚

  19. You are enough. You are all they need. They love you even at your worst. There is no other mum that is better for them, cause no other mum is their mum. You know what you need to do, and you are already doing it the best you can. No more is expected of you.

    • That is so well put Danya, just perfect and makes so much sense, I think it’s just moments of tiredness and PMS when I crumble and think the worst. I must remember that, especially that ‘I am enough’. Cheers for positiveness – Emily

  20. Oh Emily you poor thing. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses, to you lovely, I hope the self beating has stopped by now. You are a wonderful mum, the very fact that you are concerned about all the above testifies that. We are all far from perfect when it comes to our mothering skills but I am starting to think that is all part and parcel of the job.

    • Yes I have stoved the self beating up for now! And you are spot on, I think self doubt just comes with being responsible for 3 little souls, and considering I’ve always been hard on myself and not overly confident, I suppose it’s just normal. Thanks for the nice words Rhianna, they mean a lot πŸ™‚

  21. I so get this – I really do. I often feel the same and beat myself up daily. Just know that you are doing the best you can and as long as you are feeding and clothing and housing and loving them, you are doing enough. The worst thing you can do is focus on all the negatives as they will eat you up and make things so much worse.

    Now, I will go away tell myself the same thing and hope that it will make me feel better too… !

    • You are so right, I need to not get bogged down in negatives as my kids will pick up on this! And I do hope you take your own advice, it’s pretty awesome – have a great first week off work πŸ™‚

  22. It is hard. Even though my three aren’t as close together in age as yours, I do feel that I don’t give them enough one-on-one time, that the third doesn’t get as much attention, that the first and second miss out when I’m doing baby stuff, that I could be better.

    But, you know what? We do our best for our children and we love them unconditionally. While they might not get all the parent one-on-one time, they have each other and that is precious. Hang in there, it will get easier xx

    • I definitely agree with you about my 3 having each other, such a nice thing to have siblings…the best gift I can give them is my time. I appreciate the kind and smart works Francesca! Happy Monday – Emily

  23. Having read the comments, most Mums (and Dads) seem to relate to this. My two are 16 months apart (2 and 1), and I was teetering on being ‘crazy’ when my 2nd was a newborn. But my mother had three children within 18 months (my older sister and then twins), and I never knew anything but being loved, and having siblings my own age to play with. I’m sure your children will be the same, so go easy on yourself πŸ™‚

  24. I love hearing that all you ever knew was love, and I’m one of 3 kids and I never felt unloved etc, so you are right. I’m working on the ‘being nice to myself part’. Thanks for lovely comments, as usual. Emily πŸ™‚

  25. Oh honey, we’ve all been there … many times. I try not to dwell on guilt but it still happens. I just can’t get over it. Having guilt means you’re a great mum though, seriously, it does. It’s when you don’t have that there’s a problem! xx

  26. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Being a mother is hard. Being a mother to 3 under 3.5 is ridiculously hard! If you want things to change in someway, it might be good to reflect on and perhaps schedule some of the things you want to be doing with your children e.g. two mornings a week, first thing after breakfast while everyone is still in a good mood – an hour at the park, in the afternoon, twice a week grab number three and two little books and read them – if the others want to join you they can. Perhaps writing a ‘schedule’ of sorts that is realistic might help? And if all else fails remember kids are really very resilient – imagine if you had 6 or 10 or 14 as some mothers have – blah!

    • I appreciate the ideas…. I’m definitely starting a schedule when No.1 starts school. You know I don’t think I can change much about my darlings, just the way I deal with them, with more acceptance, patience and understanding. I am going to try and read more to No.3, he totally deserves it. Thanks Bree, I do appreciate your stopping by and comments. πŸ™‚

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