If I had a dollar for every time I felt guilty about something I did (or didn’t do) with respect to my kids, I would have about a billion dollars. Do you know how many dollars my husband would have?
We both work full time, we both clean, we both do laundry. But the feeling that you are constantly missing something or not doing something right or just plain losing it in general? That seems to be reserved for just me.
We found out on a Monday afternoon that my son won an award at school that would be presented the following morning during chapel. Parents are invited when kids win awards but it’s probably 50/50 on whether the parents attend. Still, I immediately went into crazy working mom mode of ensuring I found a way to be there. Yet when I asked my husband if he was going to attend, do you know what he said? “No”.
Now, let’s be clear – this has nothing to do with my husband not being an incredible dad. It has everything to do with the fact that we had about 16 hours of notice and my husband isn’t in the business of driving himself crazy. If he had happened to have an open morning he would have attended. But he didn’t.
So, he didn’t attend.
However, I am in the business of driving myself crazy so I was there front and center to take pictures. It’s probably important to note I really don’t think the world would have ended had I not been there. I think I added to my son’s embarrassment.
Which is also something I am in the business of doing.
There are moments I have missed and certainly lots ahead that I will not be front and center for. Why does guilt from things like missed moments weigh so heavy on us as moms? Why don’t dads feel this same burden?
Is dad guilt even a thing?
You would be hard pressed to find a mom who can’t relate to mom guilt. It’s like an expectation of the role. You’re a mom = you have mom guilt. Maybe because moms are typically the keeper of all information so our minds are constantly going a million miles a minute and it’s hard to not find ourselves focusing on the things we have missed the mark on.
I wish sometimes I could see things as black-and-white as my husband. If he can’t make something, he moves on and knows he can be there for the next something. If he gets extra impatient with the kids one morning, he doesn’t then cry on his way to work (well, to the best of my knowledge). Instead he stands by the fact that the kids needed to stop acting like wild animals and get dressed for school.
Dad guilt doesn’t exist with him.
But can you imagine if it did exist? I have talked countless times to my fellow mom friends about how I feel guilty for this or that and they always empathize. Can you imagine if dads did that?
I don’t think there is room for mom and dad guilt in this world.
The more I think about the role I get to play in my kids’ lives, the more grateful I am that God has chosen me to be their mom. I would chose mom with a side of guilt over any other role I play in life. I just need to remind myself of that the next time I am nearing a panic attack over something like forgetting to put my kid in pajamas on pajama day.
Does dad guilt exist in your household? We’d love to hear!