What happens when you don’t play with your kids.

Mom guilt comes in all different shapes & sizes these days. Whether it be about how you gave birth, how long you breastfed or whether you are a working or stay at home mom, the comparison game is strong & it leaves us constantly wondering if we are doing the right thing for our kids.
It seems like every other day I read an article about motherhood, and so many of them are pounding it into our heads this idea of being present and enjoying every minute. Which yes, for the most part, I totally agree with. But truth be told, it is starting to feel like just another form of mom guilt, in that if you aren’t constantly playing with your children, and loving every moment with them, then you are failing.
Every morning I spend the first few waking hours with my three girls, hanging out together, playing in the play room, eating breakfast together, reading & dancing. We have play dates & park dates at least 3 days a week, and the older girls have their own activities that we take them to one on one, like dance, and soccer, and mommy & me gymnastics. It’s full of fun and love and laughter and heart bursting happiness. But it’s also full of meltdowns and tantrums and getting kicked in the neck while trying to change a diaper or put your kids shoes on. And to be honest, it’s exhausting.
Sometimes, my kids drive me absolutely insane, sometimes I pile them into the car for a drive-thru coffee run, I turn on some music so they can chill out & jam out, so I can mentally check out and not have to be present. When one toddler is yelling at me that she doesn’t want to brush her hair, the other is physically pulling me to the pantry to get them another snack & the baby is screaming she is teething, I am not enjoying the moment. And while I cook dinner, and pick up the house, and run my business, I am not playing with my kids.  But thing is, they are doing just fine. They are learning to be independent. To use their imaginations, to follow the rules without me having to tell them & to figure out their own limitations. They are singing or dancing or talking toddler jibberish to each other.
 We are moms, we love our babies hard & there is nothing more precious than the time we spend with them. But sometimes, we need to take a minute to fill up our own cup, the cup that should “runneth over” but maybe sometimes feels like it “runneth on empty.” It’s okay to do things for ourselves, and take a moment to think and breathe, and not always be present. Because at the end of the day, you may just peek into the playroom & see this. Your kids playing by themselves, making a mess, building a boat & dancing to the beat of their own little drum.
So let’s all take a second to send our mom guilt right out to sail on that boat that our kids built. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t doing enough, being present enough or enjoying it enough. Motherhood is hard, and if you are doing your best, then you are not failing. You are winning, and you are the best kind of mom there is.
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151 Comments

  • Reply
    Carolina Menzel-Jones
    March 18, 2016 at 10:04 am

    This is just the way I feel right now. Thank you for your wise words!! You wrote about motherhood so nicely.
    xo
    Carolina | Dear Baby MJ

  • Reply
    Leanne
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Great post! Mom guilt is real. I work Monday to Friday 8-4 and definitely feel it.

  • Reply
    shannon swol
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Yasssss! In every way!!! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

  • Reply
    Monica E
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Yes! Yes! Yes! So much yes. Real talk right here. This is why we all love you. My grandma once told me that playing with your kids is great. But, you shouldn't have to be constantly entertaining them. You're not a clown ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Dana
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Thank you, Jessica. I am a working momma to one daughter and I really needed this post today.

  • Reply
    Lorelai
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Absolutely, perfectly said.

  • Reply
    Heather Mccurdy
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Love this post! I run my own business as well and feel guilty sometimes when my little one plays while I work. It's a wonderful sound to hear her reading to herself or running around the house collecting potholders & cooking for her babies but I also feel so guilty. I have to remind myself that I'm lucky to be able to raise her while I work from home and can enjoy listening to her play & she knows that she's safe at home with me. It's also wonderful to know that she is learning independence. Great job momma!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Well said and I couldn't agree more!! My best moment this week was when I checked out mentally only to be startled into reality by deafening silence from the playroom. I ran in to find my 16mo son handing my 34mo son blocks with a "huh" (translation: here you go big bro) and received with a "chank jou" (translation: thanks half pint) every.single.block. Heart swollen, sanity intact, boys alive, and a block tower I wish I could've bronzed!

  • Reply
    Ashley Rowell
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I love this!

  • Reply
    Danielle Siero
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Yes!! So true!

  • Reply
    Kendra Henderson
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    you da real mvp. xxoo ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Leah Emley
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I just love this! Every single little bit of it.. from your words right down to this insanely cute picture! Freaking love it. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Michelle {lovely little things}
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you.

  • Reply
    HannahLarge
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Oh gosh, that was the best thing I could read at the end of this very long day before I gear up for another one tomorrow. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Thank you for this post! I needed to read this. Tomorrow is the first day I have decided to let my in-laws take my daughter all day and they will be doing this every Friday. I'm a SAHM pregnant with baby #2 and I am just so exhausted and really need a day for myself. I have been battling the guilt of being excited to have a day to myself, but also scared of not being with my daughter and missing her like crazy. I have been afraid to tell people that I am doing this because of all the guilt comments that some moms just love to shout out any chance they get. I am right there with you, every mom deserves time-out to reboot. It is how we survive, because most days we are running on empty. Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day Garvin Family! XOXO The Novosad Family (Lara Novosad)

  • Reply
    Emma Prentiss
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I needed to hear this. Thank you. You're so right.

  • Reply
    Kaylin Pagnan
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Amen to this!! Great post and nice to hear this from a fellow mama!

  • Reply
    Sapphire
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Amen! Thank you! Thank you for pointing out that Moms are human too and sometimes like everyone else we need a break and that doesn't make us bad Moms. Also the importance of free play and self directed play is actually an important skill for children of all ages. Children need time to be able to do that too. You are an AH-Amazing Mama and it shows all the time!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    You are an Angel!!! This is just what I needed to hear tonight! I'm a working mom and I feel the guilt all the time! Thank you for this great post! Xoxo.

  • Reply
    Christy Golder
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Tears…..thank you. This mom gig is really tough at times and I am all for filling up my tank. I appreciate this heart felt post โค๏ธ #gomoms

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    This is the best! Thank you, thank you for posting this! I am a work at home momma trying to balance it all with a husband that works a lot outside of the home. Things aren't always easy, and I especially feel the guilt when I'm trying to clean the house and make dinner, and take a conference call, and get the kids down for a nap and realize that I didn't play that much with my kids on a particular day. We are all trying our best and I so appreciate hearing your perspective!

  • Reply
    Ami
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Amen, sister! I needed to see this before I go to sleep and dream of another tomorrow in Toddlerland.

  • Reply
    Bethany
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Beautiful!!

  • Reply
    Ashley Cacamo
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    AMEN!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I completely agree with you!

    Thanks so much for this, I really needed it today. I'm very pregnant and so exhausted that I just don't have the energy to play much with my toddler. Mom guilt had been setting in, but I need to remind myself (as we all do!) that I'm doing the best I can.

  • Reply
    Emily Welch
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Thank you for this beautiful post! I'm a new mama and all that's running through my head is am I doing the right thing and am I meeting her needs. This encouraged me greatly! Definitely a post I will remember and come back many times to remind myself of ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    The Twinsies
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Thank you! I needed this reminder today. My cup is a little empty these days and I can't wait for a little break this weekend! Happy almost Friday to you and your little loves!

  • Reply
    Sara King
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Love this!!! Thank you for sharing so honestly! Couldn't agree more!!!

  • Reply
    Brittany Lishia
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I love this post! ๐Ÿ™‚ You are completely on the mark. I have a Masters in Child and Human Development, (not bragging by any means, just stating my credibility), and what Moms fail to realize nowadays is that children NEED uninterrupted, independent play… hours of it a day! Time to, like you said, create a world of their own and be inventors of moments. Just observing is enough. Observing tells you more about their personality, interests, and developmental stage. The planned out-scheduled-from-beginning-to-end play dates have to stop. It's ruining childhood for so many children, not making it better which I understand is the intent. Society is becoming a little much when it comes to the subject of motherhood and your post is greatly appreciated by myself and many others, I'm sure.

  • Reply
    Amanda | Kids and Cabernet
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I love this and it is so true! My mom guilt gets me for the same reasons, but it is important that they learn to be independent and play!

  • Reply
    Anna
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Oh my soul. This came at the perfect moment. Thank you so, so much for this.

  • Reply
    Tawnya Faust
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    YES!! I couldn't have said it better myself. I have a lot of guilt in this department sometimes but you're right… we can't be present all the time.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Amen…loved this post!

  • Reply
    Shae
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Absolutely love this, Jessica. Being a work at home mom, and having been a work OUT of the home mom in the past, I understand both sides, and have been "judged" for both! Working my business is a must, and it's wonderful to hear that it's okay for the girls to play for a bit while I do so! Thanks for the reminder, I just shared to my facebook ๐Ÿ˜€

    P.S. I have been following your blogs almost since you started, and you are the only blogger I really still follow! Still love all of your down to earth posts, especially holidays as we are kindred spirits! Take care <3

  • Reply
    Angie Gottlieb
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Love this post!! This past week I was feeling like I was failing as a parent – my almost 4 year old has been very difficult at home, to the point where I want to just scream and cry all at the same time. I started to think of what I was doing wrong. I'm a working mom and sometimes I wish I could be at home all day with my girls – so that I can be around them more and help raise them – which is how I grew up. But I realize this is the best for our family and it works for us. So thank you for this post – because I know I am being the best mom I can be for my girls and I hope that they will see me as the best mom too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Angie Gottlieb
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Love this post!! This past week I was feeling like I was failing as a parent – my almost 4 year old has been very difficult at home, to the point where I want to just scream and cry all at the same time. I started to think of what I was doing wrong. I'm a working mom and sometimes I wish I could be at home all day with my girls – so that I can be around them more and help raise them – which is how I grew up. But I realize this is the best for our family and it works for us. So thank you for this post – because I know I am being the best mom I can be for my girls and I hope that they will see me as the best mom too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Lee Family
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Agreed – 100%! After 3 babies in 37 months it took a bit of mom guilt in the early years before I realized there is absolutely no way for me to play all day…..or enjoy every moment. Especially the moments between 5-7pm when the husband texts he's working late or worse- traveling. And my kids are best buds now and can play independently because I've trained them by ignoring their whining. Ha! Cartoons & coffee = survival. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    katie snead
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!! Soooooo true! So perfect!!!! And SOOOO needed to hear this! Because while toddler moms are busy feeling guilty about not giving 100% attention to their kids…….tween moms are wishing their kids wanted them by them every second. Life is crazy like that…..and moms need space, and toddlers need space, and tween/teens Beg for space! Loved this post!

  • Reply
    Caz Wilson
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Love this! Although not a mom, I can only imagine what you go through. Your girls always look so happy but I'm sure there are tantrums and moments behind the scenes. Thank you for sharing and keeping it real.

  • Reply
    Alycia
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    so so so true!!! absolutely perfect!

  • Reply
    Allison Cooley
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    This is perfect!

  • Reply
    Casey
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for this!!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I am beyond thankful for this post today. The mom guilt has been strong for me this week so this was much needed. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Cory (playdates and prescriptions)
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I needed this. Thank you! I have an 8 year old, 4 year old, and twin 2 month olds. I just really needed this.

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ la vita dolce
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I love this!!! Thank you so much for writing it and posting it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for being so real. I am a widowed mom to an almost 3 year old little girl and sometimes I feel like I can't do enough to be mom let alone mom and dad. Thank you so much for these words of encouragement.

  • Reply
    Krcat
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Amen sister!! I needed this so bad… My twin girls are about to turn one tomorrow and my first born (2.5 going on 16) baby girl is driving me crazy lately. I couldn't love them more if I tried but it is HARD work being a mom! Thank you for this post!! Krista

  • Reply
    Reba
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I SO needed to read this! Thank you! And that picture is precious.

  • Reply
    MaeJacob
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Thank you.

  • Reply
    Mandy
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    YES! This is exactly what I've been thinking! I'm so sick of the "if you're not entertaining your kid 24/7 then you're not being the best mom possible" articles out there. Heaven forbid you take even a minute for yourself in the day. This speaks right to my soul.

  • Reply
    Jenni Cox
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Hi there, I've been following your blog for a while now and I totally love this blog. I have a 12 year old daughter (who's going on 20) and I still mentally check out sometimes. For the sake of our sanity we need to sometimes! Keep up the good work, your girls are cuties!

  • Reply
    Lindsay Anderson
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Boy was this a perfect timing post. Thank you so much for this, guilt gets me every single day. I never feel like i'm doing enough, but in reality i'm doing it all. I always wonder if it is enough for those little lovies I get to call mine. Thanks for the smile, cry and feeling of being understood on a much needed day.

    Lindsay
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/junipersprout

  • Reply
    Anna Doyle
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I needed this today. Thanks for saying what I didn't realize I was thinking.

  • Reply
    Jessica (The Newly)
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Jessica, I don't comment often. But I just HAD to with this post. Because you are SPOT on with this, mama. I 100% agree with you that the idea of being present with our kids has now become a pervasive "make every moment special" kind of thing. And the truth is, every moment isn't special. That's life. There are tantrums. And scraped knees. And burnt dinners. And feeling stressed. And pretending like those not so special moments don't exist and trying to live up to a standard of perfection is unrealistic. Our children need to learn to be independent and to think for themselves and entertain themselves at times. There are definitely special moments daily, and those should be celebrated. But to put ourselves under too much pressure to make every. single. moment. special just isn't fair to ourselves as both mamas and as people with needs of our own! We may be mamas, but we are also individuals that can only accomplish so much and handle so much.

    Whew. I think you can tell I feel pretty strongly about this particular topic. Thank you for addressing it!!!:)

  • Reply
    Chanel van Reenen
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    so true girl! i feel like you took the thoughts right out of my head! we are adults with a lot of adult things to worry about, its impossible for us to be present with children all day because unfortunately we do not have their care free and worry free mind. you are doing a great job!!

  • Reply
    Kelly Mock
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I really needed to hear this today! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Mire
    March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    This just made my day! Thank you x

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 18, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Well said! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 18, 2016 at 10:59 am

    God bless you! XO

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 18, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Thank you so much for chiming in on the subject, yes, society & social media has given motherhood so much added pressure and it's not doing anyone any favors.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 18, 2016 at 11:01 am

    LOVE THIS!

  • Reply
    Holly Reid
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Absolutely! This is such a great little reminder. Working 7-4 each day along with trying to be the most amazing mom and perfect wife, just doesn't always work. Still learning how to make time for myself…even if it's just sitting in the grocery parking lot for a moment before shopping at 8pm ๐Ÿ™‚ haha! xoxo- Holly

  • Reply
    Ashley LaPorte
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Such a timely, spot-on post! I have been struggling mightily with mom guilt since the birth of my now 3 month old, and my 3 year old is having a very difficult time with sharing mommy. I feel pulled in a hundred directions and like I can't be enough mommy to them both. Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  • Reply
    Allison
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you for this!

  • Reply
    Jama Maples
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I really needed this post! I have had a rough week, your timing is perfect! Thank you for sharing!
    ourmapletree.com

  • Reply
    Ashton Rynearson
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    so true. gosh I love your little tribe!

  • Reply
    Hilary Jose
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Love this! I totally do the car thing too!

  • Reply
    Ashley Stewart
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Yes! This. Every day.

  • Reply
    Emily
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Girl you and I are on the same page here. I'm a stay at home/work from home/teach part time mom, and with everything I have to get done, there is no way I can sit and play with my babies all day. (And honestly, I wouldn't want to). Chores must get done. Dinner must get cooked. My business must be run. Lessons must get planned. I love how my toddler can entertain herself for hours – she has the best imagination! I will say, I do love the time I get to sit and cuddle and read to them in the mornings – best part of my day!

  • Reply
    Sydney
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I nannied/babysat 13 different kids when I was a teenager/young adult. Something that I noticed was the difference between the kids who knew how to entertain themselves and those who clearly had never played sans a parent or guardian. Years later, when I had my son (who is now a toddler) that was something that I worked on with him as soon as he was old enough to sit up by himself and show an interest in toys. I'd start by sitting on the couch and watching him play, then I moved on to reading a book/magazine in the same room as he got older, and finally now that he's a toddler I can be straightening up around the house while he's quietly playing. We spend plenty of time playing together at mommy and me classes, we go on little adventures just the two of us, and we love to curl up with a good book – so I never feel guilty for the time that he spends entertaining himself. I look at it as teaching him a valuable life skill.

  • Reply
    anri
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Jessica, hands down – and sorry for being so forward ;p – but lady, I LOVE YOU. Thank you so so much for this encouraging and oh-so-honest reminder. Almost made me cry. Spot on.

    I've been following your blog since your pregnancy with Harper, my little one is in-between her and Eloise, age-wise. We're a patchwork family so it's always busy & I've been on a a steep learning curve the last few years (from none to three kids in one blink :D) – I'm also working full time with quite some commute time and I'm most certainly the Queen of Mom Guilt when I'm not overtired or simply swamped with tasks on the to-do-list (come to think of it, it's probably a well-split-mixture of these 3 things all the time).

    Keep rocking. You inspire so many of us – thank you for sharing it with us all. You're awesome.

  • Reply
    Michelle B
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I think I need to save this and read it every so often, such a great reminder to take some time for ourselves.

  • Reply
    Abby
    March 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Wow – perfectly said! We just had a huge move to Spain and it has been a huge struggle not having our comforts of the states so for the first time, I dropped my daughter off at my husband's work daycare for a few hours so I could just relax. She had a blast and I felt recharged. Mom guilt was big as I dropped her off, but it was so worth it! So thank you for writing this post at the exact time I needed it!

  • Reply
    Emily
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Yes yes yes! I always feel like "SHOULD I be in there playing with my son?" but the more I've kind of "ignored him" (sounds soooo horrible) and let him be bored, he's stopped coming to me all the time and actually plays on his own so well. But you are so right – the guilt is there, and it sucks

  • Reply
    Christina
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    May be the best blog post I've ever read. So honest and so very true. I love the saying "comparison is the thief of joy." With all the social pressures these days, it's hard not to question if what you're doing is right. But at the end of the day, between the tantrums, meltdowns, blow-outs, story time together, and perfect afternoons; if your kiddos are happy and healthy (and the mommas are still standing); we're winning, right?

  • Reply
    Christina
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Loved this entry! Very well said. A lot of mommy bloggers are getting crap for taking photos or snaps of their babies and not "being in the moment enough". I don't have a blog but I'm a new mother, and I find after 2 short months I'm already forgetting SO MUCH! So yes, a lot of times I find myself taking photos and videos instead of being "in the moment", and yes, sometimes these photos are sort of rehearsed, because I'm trying to capture a particular moment that I know I could forget easily. I think this perspective is important. I spend a lot of time with my daughter — heck, that's all I do literally these days. So if I spend 20 minutes getting a few photos together, photos I'll look at and enjoy for decades after, so be it.

  • Reply
    Liz
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    You're doing a great job!

  • Reply
    S
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Loved this post!

  • Reply
    Erin @ LovePeaceBeauty
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I needed to read this today (and probably at least once a week if I'm honest)! Thanks for sharing! Dang mom guilt hangs over me when I'm attempt to "work" as a SAHM. My oldest has never been independent but as little brother is getting a little bit older, they are starting to play together and I LOVE it. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Chloe Schwab
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I needed to hear it. It's always nice to hear that other moms are going through the same things as I am:)

  • Reply
    Jeannine
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Perfectly said! Mom guilt is real – no matter what choices we make, we can't please everybody. You do you, girl. Your kids are happy & healthy -you're rocking this!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Love this

  • Reply
    Courtney Donovan
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I preach this all the time to my mama friends on Facebook. You can't "be" with them 24/7 or they'll never leave to "be". Damn social media has us all thinking we have to be perfect Pinterest moms, but really we just need to be what we can be. Thanks for the post!

  • Reply
    Tina
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I work out of the home and so some days when I get home to my two kiddos I just do not have the energy to entertain their rambunctious selves. Sometimes the guilt from feeling this way just eats at me and I feel like I'm not doing enough. But then when they say "I love you mama" or give me a big hug I know I must be doing SOMETHING right. Thank you so so much for this post. It was just what I needed.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this post! I'm a child of the 80s and my brother and I played by ourselves all the time. I remember my Mom sitting me at the table to do splatter paint while she did house work, but never really playing with us. I would either play in my room with my Barbies, friends houses, outside, unsupervised. I really wish I was raising my girls in the 80s! Never felt any less loved for my Mom not constantly playing with me.

    I do have the 'Mom guilt' for not playing with my girls all the time who are 2.5 years old and 9 months old. I'm a SAHM and often times I send Vivian to her playroom to play alone or let her play in the backyard while I peek out the window. I love that she's so independent and clinging to my every move.

    Social media does, at times, make me feel like I'm not up-to-par with other moms. I make the main holidays (to me…Easter, Christmas, Halloween) special, at least I try, because that's what my Mom did. There are times I wish the internet didn't exist and roll with the punches and not worry how other mom's are handling motherhood HA!

    You are doing an awesome job, we all are!!!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Amen. Bookmarking this for when I need a reminder. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Emily M
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    cup runneth on empty…so true. This post was so very well said and I so appreciate that you had the guts to say it. Thanks for taking that mom guilt down a notch for all of us!

  • Reply
    Dana Riegel
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you! I really needed to hear this today.

  • Reply
    Nicholle Montalvo
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I love this so hard. I'm saving to re-read over and over and over!! THANK YOU!!!!

  • Reply
    Jessica Kessler
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Jessica! I don't comment often but read your blog a lot. This post is perfection and exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded. Motherhood is full of ups, downs, joy, and hardship. Why we also guilt ourselves into thinking we have to do absolutely everything and always have fun things planned is ridiculous. Thank you for this post. It just made this momma feel so much better. Have a great weekend!

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    Amanda V
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    As a mom of two little girls (2.5 years and 6 months), I can totally relate!! I feel the guilt all.the.time. It's constant! Guilt for not playing enough, guilt for wanting to go to the store by myself, guilt for getting stressed, etc. Anyway thank you for writing this post! It's reassuring to know that other moms are feeling the same, and that I'm not failing!! Love your blog.

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    Brandi Little
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I desperately needed to read this today. Thank you + very well said!

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    Nicole
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Whew!!! Thanks for the pep talk! Needed it.

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    Curly Girl Confessions
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    YYYYYAAAASSSS! AMEN, Hallelujah! I am a pretty strong-willed and hard-headed person, so what "others" say and judge me on really doesn't affect me, but what does affect me are my own personal thoughts on how I am failing. Like last night, our 2 YO that hasn't slept through the night in 2 years!!! was waking up screaming at the top of his lungs every few hours, my husband is gone and I literally yelled through the monitor to go the eff to sleep…then I was there laying in bed feeling horrible for my reaction and I really shouldn't have because we all have our moments, he in fact did go the eff to sleep and this morning he didn't even realize it when he was asking for Mama at 530am. I know I am a good Mama even with negative reactions and losing my mind when he doesn't sleep or he wants "to sit on the pouch" with me. We are all doing our best and being present and happy all the time just isn't realistic and that's totally A-OKAY!

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    LMinch
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    You are such an inspiring Mom! Thank you for your constant encouragement to all of us!

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    Ashlee Brown
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    AAAAAAAAND this is why I LOVE your blog! I'm a working mom and really needed to read this!

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    Katie @ The Macarthurs Lately
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Preach! I'm so sick of mommy guilt.

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    Allison Walls
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Amen sister! This was perfectly written! XOXO

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    Kristin Longacre
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    LOVE THIS!!!!

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    Elicia
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Amen!

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    morgan
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you so very much for posting this. I struggle with the mommy guilt of not spending enough time with my girls every single day. I admire you so much so it's like a breath of fresh air to hear this from you!

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    Emily Powell
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    My daughter is 5 and currently an only child. I don't really play with her but am in her general area when she plays. We occasionally race scooters but she doesn't really want me to play with her (only child = plays well alone). Every now and then she'll want a cuddle and crawl into my lap for 10-20 minutes and we talk but she really likes to do her own thing. Don't beat yourself up. Every family dynamic is different ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Stacey Walden
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Amen and all the heart emojis! I think of this like the "plane crash" theory…you can't take care of anyone else until you put on your own oxygen mask ๐Ÿ˜‰ I often feel guilty while I'm cooking dinner because I tend to put on an episode of Sofia or Bubble Guppies to entertain my daughter for 30 min while I get dinner prepped and in the oven. Then I thought to myself–why do I feel guilty? I'm making my family a good, home-cooked meal. That's something to be proud of!

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    Courtney
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Love this!

    Side note: I feel like that window wall in your playroom is dying to be painted a very soft & subtle mint or pink… it's the shape of a house! Such a fun space for your little ladies!

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    Shadia Brown
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Great comment! I agree, sometimes our kids aren't putting their imaginations to work as they should because we are shoving things to do down their throats! I see my son playing on his own and want to jump in sometimes because yeah, mama guilt kicks in but then I see that he's completely enjoying himself and I just leave him be.

    Awesome post Jessica!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Denise H
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Amen! Love this.

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    Stacie Young
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Yes,love this! I am a mom of 5 and I'm constantly having to tell my 3 older girls I'm not their personal event planner. Between school,ballet,chorus etc.,Sometimes it's ok to just do nothing and stay at home and chill.

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    Tori
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Wow! Thank you for this. With baby girl #2 on the way I am struggling with deciding to go back to work after or be at stay at home Mom for a little. I also am feeling guilty about not having energy right now with my 3 year old. The struggle is real and your amazing words made me step back and realize if MOMMA AINT HAPPY then most likely NO ONE WILL BE HAPPY! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    karlee
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Omg, that's the best! I always feel guilty when my son constantly asks me to play with him and I have a million things to do. I'm like, I just played trains with you for 30 minutes, I think it's OK if you fend for yourself while I clean the kitchen!

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    Brittany Olson
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    oh man this is so good! Took the words right out of my mouth( but made it sound more eloquent)! Thank you for this. #mamasunite

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    Megan
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    This made me tear up. Thanks for the virtual pat on the back, Jess!

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    July
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I constantly feel this way. I'm a working mom, and I try my best to juggle working, taking care of the house and making sure I spend enough time being present with my daughter, and making sure that when we do play, I am 100% invested. But we all know it's not easy, and that of course there are times when I'm going to sit there, and check Instagram while she is playing with legos, or I'm going to suggest "let's watch an episode of Sofia" because I had a crazy day at work and I really want to sit there and check out for 20 minutes and that makes me feel SO awful. I tend to think that working means I have it easy because I do get to take a break, go run errands during lunch, and even think of it as "me" time. But I guess you can't have it all. I admire stay at home moms because I don't know if I have it in me to do it, and again THAT makes me feel terribly guilty. No situation is perfect, and these days, you can't win. It stinks, and I just try to remind myself that I love my daughter more than anything, she is growing into a kind, funny and smart little girl, and she always has a smile on her face – so I guess I AM doing something right!?

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    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I have been reading your blog from the beginning, but have never commented. I have 2 boys, one 5 and one 2. My husband passed away in October so I am doing this parent thing by myself. I just had a break down with my co-workers and then read your blog post. I really needed to read this today…thank you for sharing your life and always encouraging us moms. I don't think you realize how much it helps to know we are not alone. I always appreciate your honesty in the fact that parenting is hard work and not always a cake walk. Hope you have a great weekend with your babies ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Kirby
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    beautifully said! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Tammy Rago
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I definitely needed to hear/read this. I'm home during the day with my 2 year old but I go into work at 4:30pm. By the time we wake up(stupid daylight savings)I make my coffee, get myself showered, dressed, her fed and out the door it's noon and I only have 3hrs to our day. I feel SO guilty when I'm on my phone or she's on my phone so I can get 5 mins to myself. I love your blog and thanks for keep in' it real.

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    Amy Hussey
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Sooooo needed this, thank you so much for sharing and for the encouragement!

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    Celeste
    March 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Have me crying into my eggs right now. Thank you for writing this, for having the guts to share what's real, and for giving all us moms a mental break from the constant weight of "Am I doing enough?"

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    Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    YES! Not spending every single waking moment with my child makes me feel so guilty. I feel like kids use to do things and entertain themselves so much more than they do now. A big part of that I believe is because of this exact idea. Thanks for making feel less crazy!!

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    Anonymous
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    I needed this today. Thank you!

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    Bertie
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    I've got it all to come. Will just to add that on to the existing things-to-feel-guilty-about list.
    Hats off to three child parenting! I want four – I will probably change my mind after two.

    http://bertiebeaner.blogspot.co.uk

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    Valene
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Thank you Jessica for this! I just recently got a promotion and am working at least 50hrs in my four day work week. Some weekends I am not as present as I want to be, we sometimes have too many movie days but my kids are thriving in school and happy. I need to not feel guilty that some weekends I don't have the energy to do every Pinterest activity with my kids but I can make one hell of a fort bed for movie time!!! You're amazing!! Thank you for telling it how it is!

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    Reng
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Such a great post! I sometimes feel like I'm not doing enough with my 7 month baby girl…and sometimes I feel as though I'm drowning. It's a true rollercoaster ride! On top of that there are days that she is Soooo clingy that I don't even get enough me time to brush my hair or eat a proper hot lunch! Doesn't help if the other half questions what you do all day. I hate the feeling of guilt. Thank you for making me feel less crazy and alone!

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    Karina
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    I don't always catch your posts on the day you post them and often I look forward to reading it back where I left off the previous week. I was meant to see this before going to bed.
    I literally just cried to my husband about how I feel like I need to be more present in my 2.5 years day. I told him sometimes the baby is sleeping or playing and she is on potty (on the iPad) and I forget she been in there for 20 mins! The house is quiet and I have a moment to drink my coffee and I just zone out…Thank you sooooo much for posting this especially today! God bless

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    Michelle
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    I think your whole list of what you DO do with your kids is pretty awesome; I have the opposite problem, I'm so busy trying figure my sh*t out, keep up with laundry, the dishes, work, extracurricular activities, that I completely miss the "be present" in the moment. Your blog is a good reminder to me to stop getting so caught up in the daily grind and actually do fun stuff with my daughters. So today I took my four-year-old to Toys R Us with her birthday gift certificate, and let her have the run of the whole store. I took a video of her riding the little car machine, so I was pretty proud of leaving the housework and stuff behind and enjoying the moment with her. I like your blog because you keep it real, and this entry you wrote is SO true. Kids need independence and moms need breathing space sometimes. But truly it is inspiring to see the fun things you do with your kids and helps give me a good mindset on appreciating the little things each day with them.

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    Samantha Johnson
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Such an inspiring message! And such a lovely family!

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    Meghan Alexander
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Love this! Thanks for writing such an honest post!

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    Nicole H
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    This is amazing! THANK YOU!

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    Anonymous
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Very true and well said!!!

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    amanda jean
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    This is lovely and necessary. Thank you!

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    Jenny
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Thank you

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    Ryllie
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    I'm not a mom (yet) but I completely agree with this post. I actually think guilt is a huge thing women in general feel. I am finishing a book right now "The Effortless Everyday" that addresses this and how to tell that guilt to take a hike. Thought I'd mention it in case you want to read it.
    Anyways, I have been reading your blog since just after Harper was born and from a completely outsider perspective, I think you are doing a fantastic job; you are an inspiration to even women who don't have kids yet ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    Anonymous
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    What paint did you use in this room? I have white walls in my home and I cringe every time my child lays a finger on them. Ha! Unfortunately, my walls/paint do not wash well.
    I've tried to instill the rule of no touching the walls but there are always those days….. Thanks!

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    Anonymous
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Thank you SO much for this post. This is perfect and love following your blog.

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    The Simmons' Diaries
    March 21, 2016 at 12:48 am

    This is such a great post Jessica! My heart needed this today! I'm 23 weeks pregnant and I have a 15 month old and sometimes I can't play with her all the time. I've been having major mom guilt! Thank you for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    nortiz03
    March 21, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! Felt like I needed to read this today!

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    Whitney Jacobson
    March 21, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    #tear

    BOOM. Love this. You know me, I don't typically comment, but I can't resist (as I sit here with a tear in my eye).

    You're an awesome mom and not to mention, you learned from the best ๐Ÿ™‚ #biff

    XOXOXO

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    Tara O'Grady
    March 21, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Love this! Totally true, everyone needs a balance. Love what you said about them gaining independence and left to follow the rules without you there at all times! And love that they are playig in the playroom using their imaginations and talking toddler gibberish! Building forts was my brothers' and my fav thing when we were little! Great post Jess!

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    Cherry Blossoms
    March 22, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Beautiful read and I couldn't agree more. I know we won't get these days back and I take on a lot of guilt that my husband and I are Elle's only playmates but her creativity and independence is thru the roof. Its so true so many times have I over heard her coming up with the sweetest song or story telling and it just makes you stop and smile.

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    Stephanie
    March 22, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Hands down the best post yet! Thank you!

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    Katie
    March 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Beautifully said โค๏ธ

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    Anonymous
    March 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you! Xo

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    christyc
    March 25, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Amen! thank you for your honesty on this topic as I feel like I see a lot of articles about always being present for our children which is both unrealistic and exhausting! If you don't "fill up your own cup", you'll have nothing to give your children!

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    Shannon
    March 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you a thousand times over for this post. I've been struggling a lot, being on the verge of seeing my doc for depression, lately. This post put the way I feel, the reason I've been having such a hard time, into words perfectly. I'm a first time stay at home mom, and I (unintentionally) torture myself with relentless mom-guilt 24/7. I try so hard not to, but every move I make I feel as though the alternative move would have been better for my (19 month old) daughter. She wants to be so independent and doesn't really grasp boundaries and "no!" yet, which sometimes I forget and I expect her to understand perfectly. Its a journey and I'm just trying to survive the ride!

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    Shannon
    March 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    I'm a stay at home mom and feel terribly guilty for sometimes thinking I wish I had a part time job just So I could have a break once or twice a week! Mom guilt is too real and I'm so glad reading all these comments that we are not alone ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Leah S
    March 29, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you! I am so glad someone finally put this out there. There are so many days I am just exhausted from taking care of the kids and working from home and attending to my husbands needs. There are so many times I just want to leave the kids on their own, especially when I'm working, but I do get overwhelmed with that mom guilt and feeling bad because I'm not playing with them.Your post is a great reminder that it's OK to do that! Thank you!

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    Mama Methods
    March 29, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I really loved this post and agree with it on so many levels!
    I recently posted on my new blog about something similar….please check it out and tell me what you think! I admire you and have been reading your blog since my son was born (about the same age as your oldest daughter), any tips or advice you could give me with getting my blog started would be very much appreciated!

    https://mamamethods.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/wife-guilt/

  • Reply
    Mama Methods
    March 29, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I really loved this post and agree with it on so many levels!
    I recently posted on my new blog about something similar….please check it out and tell me what you think! I admire you and have been reading your blog since my son was born (about the same age as your oldest daughter), any tips or advice you could give me with getting my blog started would be very much appreciated!

    https://mamamethods.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/wife-guilt/

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    Rachel Sommers
    May 13, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    A little over a month ago one of my friends shared the link to this post on Facebook. I loved the picture of your girls playing and the post made me cry. But really since becoming a mom what doesn't make me cry. But anyway that day I decided I wanted to see your posts from the beginning. So I read all of them. Some while I rocked my one year old to sleep, some when I had my morning coffee, and some while I was winding down for the day instead of reading my stack of library books.
    I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed reading about your little family and how much it encouraged me to be a better mom and wife. Thanks for being willing to share part of yourself with us all. God bless you!

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    Kelly S.
    May 16, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I may be a bit behind on your blog posts (hence commenting a few months late) but this is so well said. Not that I am a mom (just a daydreaming 20-something year old) nor am I one to generally comment on blogs, but I thought this was such a great post, for current and future moms-to-be.

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    Angela
    June 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    What a fantastic and super realistic post! So true! Thank you!

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