Letting Them Down

I've had the feeling that I've been letting my kids down recently. 
Real or perceived...it's there.

I don't do crafts very often, we don't bake as much as we used to, our 'free play' (ie: run around and chase each other) is more limited. We have been hemmed in by the spring rains and so gardening and park playing have been almost non-existent. Playdates are less frequent. I send them to the babysitter a little more often than I used to & often ignore them for my phone, which is buzzing with emails and calls daily.

I did want to play pirate ship yesterday. My 4 year old, loves his pirate island. He patiently taught his little brother (who will be TWO in a few weeks!!!!) how to use the cannon and hide the treasure chest. I was on my phone the whole time sorting out some work. My wee one tried very hard to get me to help out but I was super busy- too busy to even look at him. Seems to be the story of my life recently.

I have tried to carve out time that is specifically for them, but have failed of late. They get my half-attention, which usually ends up in yelling or crying, or a combo of both. I know they need/want my undivided attention but, with so much on the go ALL.THE.TIME, it has been hard to give. I want to play and chat and be together but all the other stuff really gets in the way.

They are good kids- despite the 'terrible twos' tantrums and 'fearsome fours' sassiness. They are kind to other kids and decent at sharing. They are unstoppably inquisitive and unfailingly forgiving. I really, really love them and I hope they know that. I hope they know I hate being the boring mom- the mom who is so busy trying to keep everything (house, bills, work- LIFE) together that she often feels drained and emotionally tapped before they even wake up. The mom who wants to give them every enrichment she can but is too exhausted to put a full sentence together at times and lives on two pots of coffee a day. The mom who farms her kids out just so she can get something done, but then feels extreme guilt because she'd rather have those two kiddos at home with her. I hope they know that they are my #1 priority and my life, even though I don't always treat them that way.

My four year old told me last night that he loves me- I know he means it. My two year old fell asleep in my arms at 3:30 a.m. after he woke up screaming- I know I was his comfort.

But whether warranted or not, I can't shake the feeling that I'm ignoring my kids every time I turn on my computer, pick up my phone, or shift my attention away from them. I can't shake the feeling that I am constantly letting them down.


  1. I know how you feel, and I don't even work from home like you. You are rocking this gig as best you can, just know you aren't the only one struggling and trying to do it all.
    Think of it this way; if you were out working in an office all day, they wouldn't see you until the evening, so at least this way they get to see you somedays, even if you are busy working. You are still there to give snacks and meals, and give hugs and kisses when needed. I saw a thing on FB yesterday that said "Hey Mom, you are the only one wondering if you are a good Mother. The rest of us just want to cuddle." :)

  2. Oh Sarah...this made my cry. I'm sure you are doing a wonderful job as a mommy. I totally relate to knowing that you're not 100% focused on the kids because of phone, computer, etc. (though remember, teaching independence is also a very valuable skill), and we probably both need to make more of an effort (maybe set a timer or something for some undivided attention?) but it's hard to be a mom, keep a household running, and try to pursue any sort of paid employment. Even harder for you when you're trying to do it from home. These moments of self-doubt are natural, but don't be too hard on yourself. Lots of us are feeling exactly the same way.

  3. I think we all feel this way. Whether you work at home, outside of the home or don't work for pay at all, every mother feels like they are failing their children. I think the best way that we can avoid feeling like that and the best way we can truly be there for our children is to not let our thoughts go down that dark path. You're doing a great job. Your kids are healthy, happy, beautiful and full of life. They know you love them. And a child's capacity for forgiveness is great. Go easy on yourself. (I could take my own advice.)

  4. Great post, Sarah. I'm sure you're your own biggest critic, and the reality is your kids are quite unaware that you 'struggle ' with balance. I'm currently doing a stint as a full time, at-home mom: after nearly 9 years of pre-family career focus, it's been an adjustment. I am not juggling work emails, conference calls, or performance reviews anymore .... my 2 and 3 year old have my total focus right now (well, most days anyway). Its been a pointed decision and one I dont regret. But sometimes I feel like I'm letting myself down. They might be getting the best of me, but am I? We can't entirely win, no matter how good we areat keeping things together. All facets of our lives are rarely in perfect unison. You sound like you're doing an amazing job.


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