Sunday, February 27, 2011

Writing, Parenting, and GUILT

Lately I've been feeling a lot of guilt.

This is mostly because:

When I'm writing, I remember the pile of laundry that needs to be done. When I'm doing laundry I think I should really be spending time reading with my five-year old. When I'm reading with my five-year-old I feel bad about the sinkful of dirty dishes. When I'm working on the dishes the baby starts crying and I know I should just hold him for a minute. When I'm holding the baby the big kids start fighting about what to watch on TV and I think I really should get them all dressed up in warm clothes and send them outside for a half hour to play. When they finally get outside I feel like I should be writing.

It's a vicious cycle.

I think it's impossible to be a parent and not feel guilty every now and then. Being a parent is hard and it takes SO MUCH TIME and ENERGY. It's physically impossible to accomplish everything I need/want to do everyday in 16 waking hours. I often feel overwhelmed.

Then I get reminded of just how great my life is.

A few weeks ago I was putting my oldest to bed she gave me a big hug and said, "Mom, I know you work real hard to clean the house and write your book, and I think you're doing a great job."

I may not be anywhere close to perfect, and I may never be able to do everything I wish I could, but I do have very sweet kids and a wonderful husband who love me despite my imperfections. That's got to count for something.

Do you have mom guilt, dad guilt, writer guilt, etc.?

17 comments:

Diane said...

That's what matters most. Hoping you find balance and ease up on yourself a little. Those kids and hubby are blessed to have you in their life. :O)

Catherine Denton said...

Check, check, check and a few more checks. I think guilt is hard to avoid because we are a comparing society. We compare ourselves against others or what we THINK we should be doing instead of just loving the moment we're in. I struggle with staying in the moment and not thinking about the next thing. So here's wishing you lots of being-in-the-moment moments!

Keisha Martin said...

I feel that way all the time and since deciding to pursue my writing ambition I struggle with the balance of being a mom, wife and writing. Sometimes though I feel guilt is part of the role and then I think how do I juggle so much in a day and still remain sane.

Jemi Fraser said...

That counts for a heck of a lot!!!

Guilt plagues me. In fact I put of writing for decades because of it. It's very difficult to do with young kids - not that much easier when they're older, but at least it's easier :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Welcome to my world! I constantly feel guilty- I feel like every spare minute of my life should be spent playing mom and wife. (Not to mention my full-time gig as a teacher).

But I need to write too. So I definitely know what you mean!

storyqueen said...

Yes, I know what you mean. But you can only do what you can do.
Your little girl is lovely to say such a nice thing to her mommy.

Shelley

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Absolutely. And I am so impressed with all you do. Your daughter is right. ;)

Joanne Fritz said...

Yep! When my kids were younger, I went through exactly what you're going through (uh, except for the fact that I only have two kids). I gave into the guilt too often and spent all my time with my kids, hubby and housework, and not enough time writing, which explains why I never got published all those years ago.

You have to carve out time for yourself, for your writing, blogging or whatever, and let the housework go if necessary. Let the kids entertain themselves sometimes while you write, even if it's only 15 minutes here and there.

That was so sweet what your daughter said to you!

Adam Heine said...

There's a typo in your post. It should read: "I think it's impossible to be a parent and not feel guilty ALL THE FREAKING TIME."

(Though you might be partial to a different word than 'freaking').

Yes, I suffer both dad and writer guilt (and blogger guilt, which is just a sub-species of the writer kind). Thanks for reminding me yet again how awesome things are, regardless of our published status :-)

Wen Baragrey said...

Ah, that is what parenthood is, I think, sometimes. It's guilt. I remember thinking it felt like a game of Twister. You were stretching out, trying to put a limb on one spot or another, while there were a thousand other spots that needed you too.

Sara B. Larson said...

Oh my word, amen sister. I feel guilty ALL the time. If only my son would tell me something like that... then I'd feel a LOT better. It sounds like you're doing an awesome job.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Oh yeah! Mom guilt, writer guilt, wife guilt--I've got it all.

paulsifer42 said...

Do I have writer guilt? Boy, do I. Every time I'm not doing homework I'm thinking about the half finished novel in my computer and about how every day I'm not writing on it the characters are getting stale.

Constant Writer said...

I feel guilty when I write those times when I know I should also be doing dishes, or, more times than not, doing homework. But writing is so much better than homework that sometimes, it wins and I get to say 'What the hell'. If you can't say that from time to time, you're working too hard. And all [home]work and no play makes Jack a dull boy :D

Emy Shin said...

It's impossible to maintain a happy balance, but I'm hoping the guilt will lessen for you. And what your daughter's said is the sweetest.

I don't have parent guilt, but I do have student and writer guilt 24/7. :)

Tracy Loewer said...

I never feel guilty for not doing the dishes or laundry. (But maybe I should feel bad about that??)

Jessica A. Briones said...

I am so over the guilt, I it sounds awful but i try real hard to stay of my laptop when my kids are home, as for dishes and laundry,that what the weekend is for.

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