Parenting Guilt

Dear Parenting Guilt,

You are not useful. You do not help me become a better parent. You do not teach me, or help me. You do not inspire or motivate me. I am not a better parent because of you. Please go away.

You make me feel like I don’t spend enough time with my daughter. Or that I’m not feeding her enough. Or that I’m feeding her too much formula and not enough mush. Or that I don’t give her enough baths. Or that I swaddled too long – or not long enough. Or that I let her sleep in our bed too long – or not long enough. Or that the “cry it out” thing I’m trying right now is mean and cruel. Or that I’m not teaching her to walk/crawl/dance fast enough. You get the idea. Knock it off.

But mostly, I hate the way you try to make me feel like I’m “doing it wrong” because I wake up every day and go to work instead of staying home to play with my daughter.

Because I’m on to your game. I know how you work. I know that no matter what I do, or what parenting choices I make, you’ll always try to make me feel guilty. There’s no pleasing you and your perfectionist tendencies. No matter what, you’ll always try to make me feel like I’m not good enough, strong enough, loving enough, or smart enough.

I don’t want anything to do with you. Please get a life.

That is all. Thank you.


P.S. Stay the hell away from my wife. She is an excellent mother, and I’ll be damned if I let you make her think any different.

10 comments to Parenting Guilt

  • katie

    Way to go Reuben! Contemporary, white, middle-class, American society has told us all the things we need to do to be perfect parents. Guess what, most kids are just fine and actually do better if we are not fawning over their every move and trying to make them into geniuses. Also, people get all judgy and aren’t able to look at a happy, healthy and well-adjusted child and say things are good when they think you are doing something wrong.

    You guys are awesome. KP is awesome. End of story.

  • My experience with folks I know personally is this guilt you talk about mostly affects people who are already excellent parents. Ironic. The bad ones don’t know what to be guilty about.

  • marla

    LOVE. love. awesome letter.

    ps this will more than likely wear off after your 10th kid. just sayin’.

    i think you are both great parents and you love kp very much. and it’s been fun to “watch” you become parents.

    on another note – i think all parents need to read this letter. no good can come of parenting guilt.

  • “Like” Also, we agree with Sank. (Just watch some Teen Mom and you’ll feel much better)

  • Thanks guys. Y’all make me feel better. I’m glad you liked the letter.

  • I think this is true for guilt in general. I need to read this again next summer after I have a kid, though, as a reminder!

    P.S. I like your post script. Mel is an awesome mother, I can tell.

  • Katie

    I totally know what you mean! I’m feeling horrible because Ian’s been trying to get out of things like homework, church, chores and school by claiming he’s got a stomach ache. This morning I’m yelling at him to hurry up, he’s making us all late for school, and I turn around and he’s vomiting. Great. Now we both feel like crap, him physically and me emotionally.

    You get used to it, though. Eventually you’ll be in tune enough with everything that you’ll trust your instincts and go with what works best for you and your family right now. When that doesn’t work anymore, change it until you find something that does. (And don’t listen to motormouths like me who try and tell you how to be a better parent!)

  • Parenting Guilt

    Dear Reuben, shouldn’t you be playing with you daughter instead of writing this letter?
    Best Regards,
    Parenting Guilt