User Post: Mommy Guilt - how do you deal?

I'd been looking forward to last night all week long. I had plans to grab dinner after work with some of my favorite ladies. We were planning on heading to Tratorria - one of my favorite spots from my Little Italy days. To say I'd been dreaming about the meat sauce is an understatement.

But as 5:00 neared, the pit in my stomach grew heavier and heavier and heavier.

What about the Mister and Bean (don't worry, Bean is a nickname)? Would Bean coopperate for the Mister? Would he get cleaned and in his jammies? Would he go to bed upset? Would he think I abandoned him? Would the Mister feel like I "dumped" bedtime duty on him? Maybe I should pull-out. I'm sure I could think of an excuse. Then I could get home by 5:30 and have the whole night with Bean and the Mister.

I shared these strings of consciousness with the Mister and he quickly whipped me back into shape and reminded me how much I'd been looking forward the meat sauce hanging out with my friends. He made me promise that I wouldn't worry about him and also assured me he'd keep me updated with photos and texts.

So with a renewed sense of confidence and a reluctant smile, I joined my gaggle. One bite of meat-sauce and one laugh in, I knew I made the right decision.

Bean got to bed. Daddy got bonding time. All was right in the world. No one exploded. No one hates mommy.

Chameleons have nothing on working moms. We easily morph from our mothering roles of head cook, party planner, chauffeur, playmate, therapist, maid and teacher - all served up with smiles, unlimited patience and a good sense of humour - to professional woman who can negotiate, navigate the wrath of unhappy clients without shedding a tear, and then, just as easily, slip silently into the role of understanding, supportive mate.

There's no doubt that moms are strong. We're made of gusto and able to swallow our feelings in a single gulp. The question is, how strong do we have to be, and what can we do to make our lives feel a little more balanced?

The truth is, we don't have to be perfect. We're allowed to have headaches. We're allowed to be tired. It's OK to embrace the sweatpants with the hole in the knee and sport fingernails full of crusted carrots and peas.

We deserve to kick back and have a night with friends, a date with our husband or a night alone with a bubble bath and trash TV. In fact I believe those things make us better mommies. They show our little ones that we exist outside of their beautiful little worlds. We have hobbies, thoughts, passions, interests, while still loving them to death.

When I got home last night, I crept into Bean's bedroom and again wondered how I could ever leave his perfect little face. Then I remembered the meat sauce.

And as quickly as the thought entered my mind, the Mister ever-so-sweetly asked for a snack, a glass of sparkling water and that I hand him the remote that sat one foot from his body. Ah, the life of a chameleon.

How do YOU deal with mommy guilt?

Shannon is a first-time mom and the founder and creator of The Daily Balance , a Web site updated daily with advice, tips and personal stories to help others find balance in their lives. From food to fashion, motherhood, fitness, inspiration and recipes, The Daily Balance is the perfect tool for those who "want it all."