What’s wrong with me that I don’t feel guilt about parenting?



That is all.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “What’s wrong with me that I don’t feel guilt about parenting?”

  1. crazy grad mama Says:

    Agreed! You’re just lucky, or possibly more sane than the rest of us.

    I appreciate you putting this message out there. Of all the things I feel guilty about, starting Little Boy in daycare wasn’t one of them. So of course I went through this phase of “am I supposed to feel bad about this?”

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You’re not! It’s only the patriarchy that thinks so.

      I think really what it is is that I come from a long line of amazing working women, so I don’t have the alternative in my family history.

      (This is the post I was referencing in your comments last week.)

      • crazy grad mama Says:

        Down with the patriarchy!

      • Leah Says:

        My parents both worked but did different shifts so we rarely needed daycare. So I sometimes feel a twinge of guilt from that. This is quickly outweighed by how much better a mother I am, most of the time, from not being with my kid every second.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I wonder if I would feel guilty if my kids didn’t go to daycare. Like, is it the doing something different than what one grew up with that causes the guilt or just the patriarchy more generally? (Or both!)

      • Rosa Says:

        Patriarchy generally. If you’re home with the kid you have to feel guilty about all the time you’re NOT parenting as excellently as possible. See?

        On the internet, I run into moms from places like France and the UK where they put kids in group care (creche, nursery school, whatever) because it’s good for the kid, even if mom is not working.

        Unlike here where people were aghast I put mine in daycare while I worked from home. Because the whole point of WFH is daycare, and obviously home is better, even if you’re sitting crying at the bottom of the stairs while mom is trying to accomplish work behind a closed office door.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I think I’ve mentioned here before that my grandparents took my mom to a child psychologist as a toddler and he prescribed preschool. (Nothing wrong with her, she was just bored!)

      • Rosa Says:

        Ha! That’s awesome.
        But the real key is, no matter what you do, someone wants you to think you’re doing it wrong.

  2. Jenny F Scientist Says:

    Grad school replaced my culturally inculcated patriarchy guilt/ women must be soothing/ niceness with a reflexive “F$&% YOU!” response.

  3. First Gen American Says:

    Maybe your kids aren’t old enough to make any really life changing bad mistakes yet so no guilt is required.

    I doubt the person who has a tragic thing happen to their child does not feel some kind of parenting guilt or at the very least reflects about what they could have done differently? (even if they otherwise did a good job parenting)

    I think about this a lot as there are often families (mine especially) who have those black sheep relatives that just can’t get it together when the other people in that generation end up doing just fine.

    Would different parenting make any difference at all? or are some people just wired so they need to learn their lessons the hard way? or are some people just lucky that the stupid decisions didn’t have lasting effects. I could have easily been that pregnant teen.

    I worry about raising that deadbeat mooching kid as there are many of those in my family.

    Maybe it’s the Catholic guilt thing, but having “easy” kids sometimes gives me a sense of foreboding thinking I’ll have to pay later in life with some tragic event that balances out all the goodness now. I realize this is delusional and an artifact from my rough childhood but I try to not have such thoughts impact the day to day.

    I still think we have great kids and am thankful every single day for how fortunate we are.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Given that no tragic things have happened to my kids (God forbid), my point stands. There is nothing wrong with me that I don’t feel guilt, but thanks for trying to make me feel guilty that my kids have been lucky. Maybe if I were feeling properly guilty about nothing, that would somehow be protective of other children.

    • Rosa Says:

      or maybe we need a system where whatever they can’t get together is made up for by help? Like mental illness, or being a teen parent – there are a lot of people who do just fine in places with better social safety nets than ours.

      One of the things we do really well in the US is have lots of points of entry for education, so a bad decision in your teens doesn’t put so many choices off the table. We could stand to reform our juvenile justice system to foster more chances.

  4. Jay Says:

    Yeah. I never really got that one, either. I have my own share of parental anxiety, although not usually about the things other parents worry about. And I sometimes second-guess decisions, because I sometimes second-guess *all* my decisions. It’s what I do. But I don’t feel guilty. When she was small, I had full-time daycare and I worked part-time and I felt just fine about that, thankyouverymuch. She ate hot lunch at school and I rejoiced because we didn’t have to pack lunches. I know I’m Jewish and guilt is supposed to ooze from my pores, or something, but – no.

  5. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    Rosa wrote “On the internet, I run into moms from places like France and the UK where they put kids in group care (creche, nursery school, whatever) because it’s good for the kid, even if mom is not working.” We did that—my wife was not working when our son was born (didn’t go back to work until he was in 7th grade, if I remember right), but we put him in day care at least part time starting at 18 months. It was mainly to give my wife some time for herself, but also to help socialize him by getting him more adults in his life.

  6. Revanche Says:

    I think we both suffer from a touch of coparenting guilt and that’s borne of being on our own with only daycare as “help” now, but it’s also more driven by “am I helping out partner enough? maybe I should do more?” and we’ve both learned to be good about pushing the other to go ahead and take time for themselves. I can do more for myself, I think, I just lack creativity. *shrug* Never mind, though, I’m not going to take on guilt for not feeling guilty or for not being more self-caring. I do what I need.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh, I occasionally feel guilt about not doing my share, but that keeps it from being a chronic thing so DH doesn’t collapse from exhaustion. Sometimes guilt is appropriate and spurs better behavior. Sometimes it is pointless.

  7. Ask the grumpies: kids learning stuff | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] Official Grumpy Rumblings Parenting Philosophy ™ is that people are going to want you to feel guilty whether you do or don’t have your kids do activity X (or indeed, any activities at […]

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