Prioritizing Your Guilt


It was a typical workday like any other.  I said bye to my sweet baby, drove to work, and started my day.  Too short of a time later, I realized I was supposed to pump. Fifteen minutes ago.

I packed up my bag and got out my “pumping, please knock” sign (isn’t that fun to have to put up in a workplace while you sit behind a closed door knowing the other side can hear a ‘eeeaaa’ sound of the pump going?).  As I walked to my little room, my Executive Director, a fellow mother, could see the look of exhaustion on my face.  I love being able to nurse my child (well most of the time) but I hate all the baggage that comes with it when you work out of the home.  She knew that I was tired.  Tired from lack of sleep and tired of pumping.  This is what she said to me, “Beth, you need to prioritize your guilt.  There are a lot of things you will feel guilty about as a parent and this does not need to be one of them.”


My high-tech sign
My high-tech sign


I haven’t stopped thinking about that statement since.  It is so true.  Aedan is 10 months old and there is already so much to feel guilty about each day.  Should I be at home with him?  Do I do enough activities with him?  Would a little formula really be all that bad? And so on.

We love our children to literal exhaustion, so we worry about everything.  Plus, let’s be honest.  I am clueless when it comes to parenting.  I’m just making things up as I go along, hoping it will result in a loved and happy child.  It must be natural to worry when decision-making is based upon blind faith.  Right?

As mothers we feel the weight of our children’s world on us.  That is easy to do.  What is not easy is prioritizing the guilt that comes with the weight.  This means different things for each of you.  For me today, it means giving Aedan a bottle of formula from time to time instead of pumping 5 times a day just to barely match his intake. 

Here is my challenge for us all: let’s prioritize our guilt.  Let go of that small thing that no one will remember in 5 years.  Be okay with the one moment of parent failure you felt today.  You are a wonderful mom.  Your child thinks you are the best mom in the world.  One look at that smiling face confirms this to be true.  Know that you do more beautiful and loving things for your child than damaging ones.

So, what guilt will you let go of today?



  1. Great post, thank you! I feel that way whenever I am doing something other than interacting with my kids. Like washing dishes or checking email. I feel guilty if I am not spending every waking moment playing with them or teaching them something.

  2. so good and so true. if it makes you feel any better, when henry (now almost 5) was 12 weeks i went back to work. i had to pump at work constantly. the daycare would tell me every day that i wasn’t sending him enough milk. finally at 9 months my supply went downhill, and i couldn’t keep up with his demands. i felt so horrible. we had to start supplementing with formula. and you know what? he was ok? and i was ok. its tough. when i was working i always felt guilty for being away so much from my child. i was in asia on his first birthday. 🙁 now that i’m a stay at home mom i’m constantly feeling guilty about how i raise them at home. am i doing enough for them? do they watch too much tv? are they bored? its relentless. if we could just calm the voice inside things would be so much better. or at least prioritize. 🙂


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here