My response to the question 'Feeling Guilty' xKelly

I am responding to a question that came through The Imperfect Mum's Facebook site yesterday, which caused an ugly slinging match between many mums.

The question was from a mum who was feeling guilty at the amount of days their little one is in daycare (I don’t even think the ratio of working days / errand days / home days matters here really) and this mum felt judgement from the daycare and other mums.

To the original poster – Big hugs for you and I hope this helps you become less confused, especially after the 150+ very different responses you received yesterday! :-)

My advice? Slow down…

To me, it sounds like you need to spend some time looking at your families priorities here. If you have a partner who is raising this child with you – make sure you include them in this.

What do we believe? What is important to our family? What are our needs vs wants? Are we being selfless or selfish?

You also have to include your child. Do they love daycare? Do they have friends there? Are they happy or sad when you drop them off? Do they cherish time alone with mum?

Only your family knows the answers.

If old enough – you could even try asking your child? Encouraging communication and negotiation in the home is a fantastic habit to get into!

I think you will battle with guilt until you work out what the priorities of your family are (not your mums, or your friends, or the day care mums) and then stick to them. Write them down if you need to be reminded.

Then hold you head high as you walk your child into daycare. You know the full story and what your family requires.

Also give yourself the freedom that this is not forever, and is still up for negotiation if it’s not working out. You could try an extra day and see if it works or not. Re-asses in 3 months.

“I’ve noticed my child no longer values my words, so I’m going to cut back another day to have quality time to know them more”

or even

“I’m still not coping with all that I have to do, and LO is loving day care, so I will look into another day”

Just make sure it is your decision – or you may end up resenting it.

Is your child Clothed? Housed? Fed? Secure? Loved? > Then you’re doing a great job mum!

To the mums who felt it right to sling their judgement onto others.

I have been on the receiving end of such pain – and it hurts. And it’s heavy. And no one should have to carry that.

It’s also the ingredients for a confused, mixed up, second guessing and emotional mum – and is unhelpful. Both for her and her LO.

In confession, I know I have also flung this rubbish at others. If not verbally, then in my mind. Sometimes consciously, other times subconsciously. And for that I am sorry… Very sorry :-(

My family operates very different to other families. We have some priorities that look weird to others. We care less about things some families regard as important.

We are different. Different does not mean better or worse. It just means different.

To these mums (myself included) we also need time to look at your our families priorities and stick to them. Quality time with my kids is also high on our priority list – but I need to learn that that’s the way our family is. NOT the way the house next door is, or the poor mum crying in her car at daycare because other mums have whispered behind her back at how she’s dumping her kids AGAIN.

Guilt can be helpful – alerting us that something isn’t right and changes need to be made.

But it can also be untrue from taking on someone else’s decisions. Is it indicating a change you need to make? Or are you carrying it from someone else?

Own it, or dump it. No one needs to carry that heavy bag!

Bottom line – no one is going to parent better by carrying extra guilt.

If you’ve seen a fellow mum who looks as though they are struggling with guilt, feel free to share this with them too.

And let’s all commit to try harder together as sisters to stop dumping guilt on others.

I’m going to… and may this post remind me of that.

Who's with me?


About the Author

Kelly has been enjoying volunteering on The Imperfect Mum page for years now, scheduling questions and working behind the scenes with the forever growing inbox!

Posted in:  Life Lessons

22 Replies

The Imperfect Mum

Original Post on 'The Imperfect Mum' site:

Original Post on The Facebook site - (if it's not removed due to nastiness!!):


Kitty Allen

Well said. :)

Nadine Myers

Kelly, you're beautiful! I admit that I am an in-my-head judger - I don't say it out loud, but my thoughts are really judgy sometimes, and who am I to judge? I'm far from a perfect mum, and my kids are far from perfect, too. This is something I am working on, and need to remind myself that we all parent differently - of course we do - no two children are alike and what works for one won't work for another. This is such a wonderful sisterhood that can do so much good - we need to work on building each other up, not tearing each other down. To the original poster - you need to do what works for you and your family - just remember to spend a little bit of special time with your little one each day, and have some family time on the weekend - something else I need to work on!


I posted on here yesterday and had the perfect mums be unhelpful. I cried all afternoon thinking that my parenting style was over the top and that I was a failure as a parent. Whats made it worse is i am an educator and second guessed my career. I mean what right do i have disciplining other peoples children when i was having trouble at home. I spoke to my son and he said he had to own his actions and told me I am doing a good job and he admitted he was intentionally pushing his luck. I didn't read all of the IM's issue yesterday but I certainly understand mother's guilt. I put my son in day care when he was little while I studied and worked part time there was a day where I had to myself to clean the house go to centrelink and I would pick him up early. I found there are women out there who really cant see another person's parenting as being acceptable because they believe theu have done the best job. I find the breeders that are able to stick around before and after school are the most judgmental. They take their kids to after school sports or activities and have play dates. I have been criticized for not "making time" to do the morning reading session with my son because I had to work. They didn't understand that I had 24 kids I had to spend a day with as well as come home and do home reading. I didn't go to a lot of kids parties after preschool (back then) I found these mothers had nothing better to talk about then other parents or kids. I didn't have time for gossip or bitching. Do what is good, honest and true to yourself and your family. Parenting is not easy. There is no rule book for your family or each kid.


breeders? really? that sounds pretty judgemental! hope that was an autocorrect/typo


I don't think so - she was just referring to them as other people who had kids. I really don't think she meant that in a rude way, but if she did, then so what? Lol... They were judgemental to her, and she has misgivings about them because of that. It's 100% normal.


I also understand the guilt, I work full time and every 3 weeks I get a Monday and Friday of and still send my LO to daycare so I could get stuff done. I started to feel guilty so now I ask her if she wants to go or if she wants to stay home with Mummy. She's almost 2, she understands. Most Fridays she wants to go cause her best friend is there and Mondays she likes to stay home but her responses vary and I just go with the decision she makes so she's happy :)

Wendy McIntosh

Fantastic response and wonderful words of wisdom from you Kelly. It is such a very sad day that most women forget to have compassion for those who ask for help. I was a working mother that did shift work and I know how bad we can all feel about working and not being there for our children. We all have to come to the understanding that not all families have huge incomes and some have to have both parents working. Remember just to love your children with all your heart and always be there for them no matter what.


I am the mother who wrote the original post. And I would like to thank all the mothers for sticking up for me. I was VERY touched, not used to having people stick up for me. I don't have anything against the mothers who were judgemental, everyone has a right to their opinon.
I would like to give more of a background to you all.
I have stuggled since day one being a mother, my son is my first child and he may be my last. I started feeling better after councelling but then things got worse with my son after Christmas. We have been plagued with problems since he turned one, it took 4 months for his molars to come and he had an ear infection with each tooth, during that time we were dealing with food intollerances. We then had gastro during this as well. straight after this we had breathing issues and had to get our tonsils and adenoids out, during recovery we got our canines, during this we got sick and had mroe breathing issues due to sinus infections and still do. We now need to go back to the specialist as we may have ear issues as we keep tilting our head. We are still not sleeping well and its NOT behavioural.
I use my time off to catch up on sleep because I look after my son at night, my husband work with heavy machinery and its not safe for him to go to work half asleep; there have been 3 deaths in the last 5 years in his area. I would like my husband to come home at the end of the day.
During these days off I am NOT going out and having fun shopping, I am cooking, cleaning, seeing therapists, etc. I am also struggling with the thought of being possibly diagnosed with Aspergers for myself.
My son is loving day care as well, he pushes my out the door and waves good bye. When I get home from work I spend EVERY minute with him and we have a blast, I often just watch him and think wow he is so amazing, I am so blessed. I have NEVER regretted having him.
I don't for once think I am the only parent out there struggling, that has NEVER crossed my mind
I hope this gives those mums that judged me some idea of what things have been like.


Hugs to you from me hun.


I read some of the comments yesterday and thought wow! We all do what we have to do and what is right for us and our families. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job xx

Wendy McIntosh

You are doing the best you can in your circumstances so don't let anyone make you feel you are not. Being a mother is the hardest thing you will ever have to do, but the rewards are the most precious. Keep doing what you are doing and love your family.

Jodie Buckless

You are one hell of a mum. Good on you Hun, you are doing the best for your son. I know we all sit back and feel guilty at some point, I do, and I second guess myself every day, but when I have my babies come up to me each night, tell me that they love me, and want a kiss before they close their eyes, I know I'm doing right. And it sounds the same for you, your son loves you and has told you that you are. Don't feel guilty, keep following his lead, kids don't learn to censor their thoughts or feelings, they will tell you straight. Keep up the good work!!!

Naomi Roberts

You are doing your best with your own circumstances. And even if you were out shopping and having fun, you are a mother, that doesn't mean that you have to submerge yourself and become a martyr to do that job. Taking care of yourself is as much of a priority as taking care of your child. You sound like you've had a rough time, and you are doing what you need to. Your child is happy, you are getting what you need, so don't let anyone else take your right to that away. You are doing an awesome job of getting through what you need to. Motherhood isn't always an easy option, for more people than care to admit, it's a daily struggle of what you want to be and do and what the reality is of your life. If daycare helps you find some balance, then that is always a good thing.

Sarah Young

Dead right!! I saw the question and I agree wholeheartedly with what you've said.


Mothers Guilt will always be in the back of your mind no matter what u do or's learning how to deal with this guilt is the key! I have learnt to listen to it, question it and move is to short to worry about what others think....we are not perfect and we can only do what we think is's pretty sad when we ask for help that we receive the negative expectations from others but I would ignore them, they are way to Perfect for anyone . Personally I have been where you are today and I would be doing the same thing as you...if your not feeling good then how can your family feel good...your doing a great job, life gets easier as children grow, just believe in yourself, have a little more faith in yourself, stay positive and learn to enjoy the roller coaster ride of life. And remember as well travel on the roller coaster we are learning along the way. :)


I currently put my son (3.5) in care 4 days a week while a family member covers the day I can't get care. I am a full time uni student and part time worker. I refuse to spend the rest of my life in a crappy job miserable (what example is this showing my kids?) and I know I can not afford it once I'm no longer eligible for single parent pension. Do I get judged? Most definitely. Do I listen to it? Hell no! My kids see a mother who is willing to do whatever it takes to give her kids a great life. Yes we have a little less time together than a SAHM but we value the time we have together and make it special. Quality matters not quantity. My children are well mannered happy smart kids who know their mum loves them and does what she can. Kids look back and remember how you made them feel. Not what you did. Know how I know? My youngest son started saying "mum I'm happy. I love you." Daily. Clearly my limited time isn't affecting my ability to be a good mother.

Courtie Anderson

Was not meant to be anonymous

Noni West

Well said Kelly. There was not a book created with all the right rules on how to raise a family, just others ideas. We all try our best and as long as we are doing that our family will succeed. There will be trial and errors. There will be mistakes and magnificent outcomes. We all need to remember to stick together and lend an ear and some positive advise. Bring on the sisterhood.


Word ! Well said sista. I've been on the receiving end. Be nice people


completely agree! I have friends where both parents work full time as their priority is to put their kids through private schooling. I have chosen to be a SAHM and my kids will likely attend public school. I read a comment from a parent saying that mums should feel guilty for 'not' putting their child in daycare. REALLY? I think not! Whatever works best for each family and each child is the best decision :)

Naomi Roberts

This is an awesome response. I thoroughly agree.

The only person who can answer what is right for your family is you. You were given this child/ren to raise because YOU are the exact parent that this child needs in life to become who they are meant to be. All parents have to make hard decisions, what is best for the child, themselves and their family as a whole, may not be the same as what's best for others.

It's all well and good to say what people to say what you "should" do. But what works for one family, and sometimes even one child within a family, may not be what's right for another. It is also important to factor in YOUR happiness and well being. If YOU need the time out to be able to function and be the best mum that you are able to, then nobody has the right to tell you that it's wrong or selfish of you. I personally think that daycare, especially for an only child, is a very important part of the development process. Not everyone agrees with that. But your choice is just that, YOURS. Just because your role is to give your child the best childhood you can, does not mean that your needs are no longer valid. One of the biggest mistakes many mothers make is in putting their children, and everyone else ahead of taking care of themselves. It is good for children to know that you count, and that you are entitled to take care of yourself as well as them.