I was watching the news and they had a segment on a program were mothers can exercise with their children. Personally I think that this is a great thing, but it bothered me that the mother said that she is happy that she no longer feels guilty about taking an hour to herself on the weekends.
I know from personal experience that us mothers place a great deal of guilt on ourselves. When Isa was a newborn I felt so guilty about everything. From the way that I fed her, to how I burped her, whether I made sure that she had enough tummy time and so on. As she got older it was giving her a bottle of breast milk so that I could spend some time by myself (by that time I really needed it).
The list goes on and pretty much at every stage there was something that I would feel guilty about. Things improved a great deal when she started daycare, only because I really did not feel bad about her going there. I absolutely loved the daycare, the staff, their programs and all the children. Now, don't get me wrong, this does not mean that I did not feel like the world's worst mom before she started but once we both went through the transition it was better. I felt confident that she would be looked after, as well as be stimulated and challenged.
There is no doubt that that I felt so guilty once I started working and would hardly see her. But I had no choice at the time and even now that I am at home, she still goes to daycare because she needs the interaction with the children. And also I just can't work with her at home. I admire any mom that has to do both because I know that it is hard not be mommy all the time.
Being a mom is feeling guilty pretty much all the time, but it is important to be practical about things. You can't let the guilt take over because I believe that if you do you hurt yourself. Many times it is about give and take, for me it was about giving up my time with Isa during the week but really taking advantage of the weekends with her. I would be everything for her on the weekends, her cook, her playmate...you get the picture. I have to admit it was exhausting but so good and rewarding.
The guilt we experience as mothers will probably never go away and very likely we will have guilt thrown at us as they get older. But you really have to try to not let it take over. Easier said than done.