Your Kid Doesn’t Have to Love You: Mother Guilt


Just because you gave birth to a kid, it doesn’t mean that child owes you his or her lifelong pledge to love you.

Sure, your child probably loves you unconditionally, but like all relationships,what you put into your child, will be what he or she will give back to you.

I am a good mother. I mean, I am as good of a mother as I can be. I mess up, and I’m not a DIY-pinterest mom who handmakes her kids organic band-aids and churns her child’s butter with the milk from a grain-fed cow, but I do my best and measure in highly on all the choices I make for her.

That said, lately I wonder if my kid loves me.

Some days, I think no.

Not that I briefly think it, but I really feel like, “Well, maybe she just doesn’t love me anymore.”

I used to be a mostly stay-at-home mom who worked a few nights a week teaching, in addition to freelance work.

Because I am not filthy rich, I was beckoned to enter the workforce full-time, in addition to expanding my freelance load, and so I searched for a long nine months for work.

I looked locally, but alas, there wasn’t a damn job in sight.

The only offer I got was for a job 2 hours plus away from my home.

I took it. In this economy, how could I not?

Being a stripper was not in the cards for me. I’m too short, and don’t like platform heels.

I have to say, I enjoy being a person outside of the home but when I miss the majority of my child’s day only to see her for a few minutes, I have to ask, “Is the money worth it?”

A 2.5 year old gem, my daughter now asks her father for mostly everything, even when I am home.

Some days, I feel invisible. I know that today is the new day and age of the “stay-at-home” dad, but losing out on so much is just not what I want. Having a dad be the primary caregiver is fine for other folks I am positive, but for me, it is not. Not because her dad isn’t great, but because of how I see the role of motherhood from my perspective.

Now her father also works, but he gets to clock in more face time with her each day.

Suddenly, even when I get my alone time with her, she wants Daddy to join in, which gets to me because I need my time alone with my daughter.  When she cries for him, people tell me, “Oh it’s just the daddy stage. All girls have this,” but it feels like I am being stabbed in the heart.

Maybe I am alone in this, but if you’re a mother working 60+ hours a week, you crave the seconds you get with your kid.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just clocking in dinner, bath, breakfast, and bedtime routines…those things are priceless when you don’t get to be a part of them. Those moments, while not always 100% fun, are moments that your child retains.

Just think about it: which boyfriend or girlfriend did you remember the most from your past? The one who simply gave great head, or the one who did that, and took care of you while you were sick. Picked you up from a deserted road after you broke down.

The great moments of parenting might feel like parties, day trips, movies, and fudge sundaes, but the ones that hold out as the champ are daily-life activities.

Sure, we have our Saturdays alone, just us girls, and Saturday is now my favorite day of the week. Just me and my girl, and I do my best to make every Saturday count. Every second count. Like many working mothers, the guilt I feel is overwhelming.

Do you remember how you felt when you saw your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend for the last time? Do you remember what it felt like when the love started to die?

The agony is about 1 million times worse when you feel like a shadow in your child’s life.

When I went to an event at my daughter’s school recently, I realized how many of the other parents knew each other and the teachers because they’re there at drop-off and pick up.

I felt like shit.

When I spoke to another mom who works, it was like my pressure valve was released a bit. It’s not that any of the SAHM made me feel bad, but that just by knowing there are others who get to be with their kids more than I am, I feel less than.

Seeing all the homemade crafts or contributions these moms can make that I can’t…makes me feel as if I should get my uterus recalled.

I feel like a zero. A big fat fucking F.

The other working mom made me feel more like a C-.

Does my kid love me? Sure, she tells me she does and enjoys her time with me, but I sometimes wonder if I even matter anymore. How can I, when I am just part of the bedtime routine 3 weekdays a week, and only clock in “hours” over the weekend?

Maybe this sounds ridiculous to moms who work or to moms who don’t, but for me, I can’t help but feel as if I don’t matter.

If I am not doing what a mother should do, how can I be all that important?

My message to you career moms, people who want to reproduce: prioritize. If you can afford to work less, work less so you can enjoy the short window that is known as childhood.

Don’t get me wrong: I like having a career. Women, in my opinion, need a way to make a living on their own without relying on a man or woman to get them by. Some may disagree with me, but trust me…I have seen the devastation that can occur when a woman is left to fend for herself and kids with no employable skills. I enjoy work. I like eating my lunch in relative peace, and I believe women should choose to stay home or work based on what makes them happiest and a better mom.

When I started working part-time when my daughter was 3 months old, I felt very good about it. I felt like I needed to be out of the house and earning money, yet I liked that I knew I could clock in time with my kid. For some moms, working and getting away is the best way to be a good mom. I don’t doubt that considering I run a 60+ hour schedule, freelance for 3 different sites, have 2 blogs, and exercise 3-5 times a week.  I am fairly energetic.

Others might call it active.

But I implore women to really measure out how much involvement they want with their child’s daily life when it comes to a work-home balance. Being home is draining, but working means often losing. Losing at work, losing at home.

Be prepared for the path your carve out.

For me, mine was a surprise. This was not how I was planning to mother, and hopefully I can get some changes implemented. I just garnered one telecommute day a week, so that was a small victory.

I just hope my daughter knows how much she is loved, and that she doesn’t forget me.

Just because you’re a mom, it doesn’t mean you’re not forgettable. Make the moments count.

10 thoughts on “Your Kid Doesn’t Have to Love You: Mother Guilt

  1. OneCurvyBlogger says:

    I know you probably hear this a lot, but I wouldn’t worry. My Mom has worked since she had my little brother. She works in the medical field, so I only get to see her after she gets home from work at 5 for a few hours, then she picks my brother up from wrestling. I am 18, and my dad has always been around physically, but he’s never around emotionally. My brothers and I have a hard time feeling anything for him, and he’s ALWAYS around. I think in the long run, if you are always there emotionally to love and care for your daughter, you’ll be fine. Just the fact that she’s comfortable around you and knows that she can come to you for anything – well, I think that’s what matters most. My mom has never been able to afford being a SAHM, but I love her so much and we are very close.

  2. iammom says:

    all of your feelings are completely valid! The only thing I would say (and hope that it is of some encouragement) is that there are seasons. For me, growing up, sometimes my mom worked.. and sometimes she didnt. To me.. in my perspective she never missed out, and i definitely never forgot her. There are seasons. This is the season you are in.. and a LOT on your plate might I add.. but there will be other seasons (and I am sure have before) that you have had less on your plate.. and one day, they will all balance out 🙂

  3. Foghorn The IKonoclast says:

    Keep up the good work and I saw a video on this. The moms are lamenting their children’s seeming disinterest and when interviewing the child, the kids were gushing about their great mommy and how beautiful she is love and loves them…..

    You could have well been there and heard that. The problem is that we are generally not able to hear that.

  4. Richmond says:

    Let your kids sleep in your room. That way, you will feel closer to each other.

    My father couldn’t believe when he saw the Monster Inc. movie where the little kid had her own room. Since I was born up to when I was twelve, I and my youngest sister slept beside our parents. So my father was like, “They let their child sleep alone?” I even remember my father cuddling me to sleep while singing a folk song in Filipino.

    Growing up, we never really say I love yous or those chummy stuff in the house but deep inside we, the kids, know where we belong. I believe this is because we were really close, physically, to our parents. We know that at the end of the day they are there. I know some people will say but the kids will never be independent. Wrong, the closer the kids to their parents the more whole and complete they are growing up. I guess that’s why I never had a rebellious phase. I have always been confident that even with bullies in school, I never felt alone or lose my self esteem.

    You can do the same with your kids. Try to sleep beside them. If not every night, at least dedicate a night where you can just hug the whole night through. Hugs and kisses can do so much more that saying I love you’s.

    • frommtvtomommy says:

      She doesn’t like to sleep with me anymore…sadly, but sometimes when she is sick she does!!
      And I agree–I let her nurse at will and wore her, slept with her…and she’s very independent. But now she likes her own bed, and that’s ok! Personally, she kicks me way too much nowadays anyway!

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