From the editor's desk: Mom guilt

By Sarah Nigbor
Posted 4/24/24

I have been suffering from something called “Mom guilt” lately, and honestly, I’ve had enough of it. I found the perfect quote to describe my feelings in a blog by Beth Berry. …

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From the editor's desk: Mom guilt


I have been suffering from something called “Mom guilt” lately, and honestly, I’ve had enough of it. I found the perfect quote to describe my feelings in a blog by Beth Berry.
“We’re only human, but we’re expected to behave as if we’re superhuman, all the while being treated as if we were subhuman.”


Mom guilt is also why the infamous quote from the “Barbie” movie resonated so strongly with me. Actress America Ferrera’s monologue as a woman working at Mattel while trying to raise a family hit me between the eyes and I felt it down to my toes. I cried in the movie theater while my daughter looked at me like I was insane. I won’t reprint the whole spiel here, but here’s a sample;

“You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It's too hard! It's too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.”

Being a woman this day and age is hard. Incredibly hard. I’m sure some men feel the same way, but I’m not a man so I don’t know. I feel like we’ve been set up to fail, because how can we possibly do everything we’re expected to do and do it well? Some days I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle, sliding back five steps and going forward three.

This is how I feel some days and maybe someone can relate:

I must be the best mother by helping them remember every single assignment, every single permission slip, every single meeting, every single practice, every single deadline, every single piece of clothing/uniform/homework. The schools want you to be engaged and involved in your child’s education, so make sure to help them with their homework and discuss every subject with them. Never, ever lose your patience or raise your voice, because someone will get upset. Every meal must be home-cooked and perfect to everyone’s liking, even if you’ve worked all day and been running kids to practices/games all night. Keep a spotless house and the pantry stocked, all while keeping a big garden in the summer and helping your husband with the yard work. Make sure everyone’s laundry is always done and that they have the bats, baseball/softball mitts and pants, batting gloves, sporting bags, water bottles, snacks and everything they need for every single game or it will be your fault if they don’t have something. Make sure to pay all the bills on time and to know where every single thing is in the house when hubby asks, even if you have no idea where someone else put it; you must know because you’re the mother and mothers know these things. Make sure everyone gets to church each Sunday and showers every day, even if that means you don’t get a shower that day (we have one shower for six people) because everyone else comes first. Get up the earliest so you can get in the bathroom first and make coffee and get everyone’s breakfasts, then go to bed last because you’re frantically trying to finish something for work that you didn’t have time to do before. Make sure to stop at your mother’s because she needs help with bills, her medication, appointments and a list a mile long because you’re the only child and it’s your job to help. Don’t forget to make out the 4-H agenda because you’re the club leader and it’s your job to organize the activities and keep everything straight. Oh, and don’t forget that you work at least 50 hours a week at one job and about 16-24 at the second that you have to have because things are so expensive these days (food for four teenagers; gas to drive said children all over the place; the never-ending stream of “opportunities” the kids MUST HAVE BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE’S PARENTS DO like going to Washington DC or overseas for International Club, a baseball tournament three hours away so you need a hotel, plus meals for children who are always hungry). This doesn’t even touch the fact that I never see my husband unless we’re in passing and I think I remember what he looks like but I’m not quite sure.

Was that last paragraph overwhelming? Of course it was and that’s my life. And the lives of so many other mothers/parents out there. How are families and marriages supposed to survive this chaos?

We have to be the best employee, the best mother, the best wife, the best daughter, the best caregiver, the best mentor, always putting everyone else first so they can thrive, but where does that leave time to recharge?

I love being a mother. I just don’t love the unrealistic expectations society puts on mothers and wives to do it all and be everything. To all the moms feeling the same way out there, I am here for you.

Mom guilt, parenting, From the editor's desk, Sarah Nigbor, column