Mommy guilt: who has it worse, stay at home or working moms?

There’s one thing that seems to unite all mothers whether they’re young or old, black or white, employed or unemployed. Guilt.

I don’t know about you, but it’s rare when I feel like I’m enough – as a mom, as a person. I’ve chosen to quit my career to be at home with my children. Shouldn’t that decision be enough? Well, it’s not. I’m never doing enough as a mom. I have days, weeks even, when I feel like I’m an imposter mom. But I work really hard to shush that guilty voice with my favorite mantra, “I am (mom) enough.”

woman holding baby while sitting on fur bean bag
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

What do moms feel guilty about? The question should be what don’t moms feel guilty about?

I’ve been around the playground a few times. Here’s a roundup of things topping a mom’s guilt trip list.

Add the word enough to any of phrases below.

I’m No Health Nut (physical and mental health).

Not exercising

Not eating healthy

Not drinking healthy beverages

Not getting seven to eight hours of sleep at night (hahah!)

Not brushing my kids’ teeth

Not limiting my kids’ sweets

Not getting my kids down for a nap

Not getting my kids to bed early at night

I’m No Hobbyist.

Not making more time for hobbies

Not volunteering

Not making more time to manage old friendships

Not making more time to make new friends

I’m No Homemaker.

Not cleaning the house

Not straightening the playroom/play area

Not managing the laundry loads

Not making everyone’s beds in the morning

Not cleaning the car

Not doing the yard work

Not fixing things around the house

I’m No Housewife.

Not putting on makeup

Not “doing” my hair

Not dressing better

Not planning date nights

I’m No Home-Cook.

Not nursing my baby

Not making my own baby food

Not doing the weekly meal planning and preparation (creating menus, making grocery lists, and doing the grocery shopping on the regular)

Not cooking at home

Not knowing how to cook

Not preparing or feeding my kids healthy meals

Not cutting out fast food from my kids’ our diets

Not cleaning and putting away the dishes

I’m No Educator (emotional, mental, physical, spiritual/character education).

Not reading to your children

Not planning educational activities

Not crafting

Not being on the PTA

Not volunteering for  school functions, e.g. fairs, field trips, etc.

Not going outside

Not dressing my kids appropriately for the outdoors, when I do go outside

Not enforcing screen time rules

Not saying prayers or going to church

I’m No Secretary.

Not being on time for my kids’ scheduled drop offs and pickups

Not remembering theme days (e.g. pajama day) at school

Not doing x, y, or z task (e.g. mailing a letter, paying a bill, calling the doctor’s office), especially if your partner asks me

Not staying on top of scheduling my kids’ (and maybe partner’s) appointments

Not organizing “family fun” outings

Not paying a bill on time

Not staying within my family’s budget

Not cleaning up my e-mail inbox

These phrases apply to working and stay-at-home moms (SAHMs). Originally, I thought I’d have two separate lists, one for working moms and the other for stay-at-home moms, then I realized my lists were nearly identical. Most moms feel guilty about something – maybe not about the same things, but that guilty feeling is shared.

woman in green shirt holding baby while sitting
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

Guilt is guilt whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or working mom.

So let’s cease the mommy war between SAHMs and working moms. Our guilt unites us. We’re more alike than we are different.

We know “mommy guilt” exists. But is there such a thing as “daddy guilt”?

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