Move Over Mom Guilt, Here Comes Wife Guilt

Wife guilt is a real thing.Wife guilt is a real thing.I don't think I ever felt so guilty about my day-to-day activities before having kids. I certainly never second guessed myself the way I have after becoming a mom. Even though my parenting confidence has grown, I still struggle with bouts of mama guilt. That probably will never go away. What I hadn't anticipated was the wife guilt.

We knew having children would change our lives, including our marriage, but the reality of it all doesn't hit you until the baby comes. At least that was our experience. Part of that is because we didn't truly know our parenting style or what worked best for our children until they were here.

I love my husband dearly, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel guilty about something. It could be about the kids, my health, my work, the house or my marriage. If I'm lucky it's just one of those things, but there are days where they all weigh me down. I try not to stay trapped under there because that burden is tough to carry.

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The first time I encountered wife guilt it hit me by surprise. Shortly after having my daughter I realized how little housework I was getting done each day. Brian picked up the slack, but I felt like a complete failure. He took on additional duties while I was pregnant and still does them even though the plan was for me to take them back over. I foolishly thought I'd have lots of time on my hands while I was at home all day with the baby.

Two kids later and he is still in charge of dinner most nights and lots of chores.

I try to do what I can during the day or when we are all home together (and he plays with the kids). We have an understanding that it is work to take care of two little ones and not always practical to get through a to-do list. So, we meet halfway on a few things. For example, if my daughter and I unload the dishwasher, then he'll load it up and run it.

Housework isn't the only thing I feel guilty about, though it is often a daily reminder that I am not superwoman.

I also feel guilty about our lack of time together (including getting busy time). I feel guilty about needing him to give me a break from the kids. I feel guilty that he feels guilty venting about work to me (because, well, I'm with the kids).

Basically if it's possible to feel guilty about, I feel it. Plus, it feels like I am the problem and solution in most cases (sometimes I just over-think and over-analyze stuff). And lately it's been piling up again along with the laundry.

Thankfully my husband lives by the mantra "happy baby, happy wife, happy life," but it's been harder to discuss these feelings since my son's birth. We haven't been able to have date nights as often as before (but we try to sneak time when possible). It's difficult to talk about these things in front of a three year old and we often divide and conquer in the evenings. However, talking about these issues with my husband often helps more than anything else. It gives him an opportunity to speak up and it provides reassurance that we are both doing the best we can. They won't be small forever and then I'll have new things to worry and feel guilty over!

How do you deal with wife guilt?

-By Darcy Zalewski

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