Mother Talk

I was up at 6 this morning to drive my two big boys to the Honolulu airport to fly home for school tomorrow.  I follow on Thursday with Mac.  The boys were supposed to be going home to their dad but he’s still not well after breaking his femur and I can’t get another ticket out for a couple days so here we are.

Obviously, Hawaii’s not a bad place to be–this is paradise, after all–but it’s tough sending my boys away.  I always get sad. 

Maybe I’m too clingy of a mom, or too emotionally connected but it hurts when they head off.  It shouldn’t.  They’re 11 and 14 and there’s a baby here needing me, but those boys are still my boys and it doesn’t feel the same when they’re not with me.

Yesterday son Ty asked me if I’d cut my arm off if it meant I’d save him or his brother Jake.  It was casually asked as we walked around Waikiki.  I told him of course.  I’d cut both off without hestitation.  Moms love their children.  Moms would do anything for their children.

So why do I feel so conflicted though about my work, my writing, and motherhood?  I can’t write when I’m actively mothering.  I can’t write when I’m cooking or driving carpool or folding laundry.  I need to write though.  It’s so much who I am.  It’s as much me as my name or my hair color or my blood type.  But the children…they have such pressing needs, so immediate.   How do I justify pouring so much of my energy into my work when they’re only small for a short time?

I don’t have answers.   As I can’t not be mom.  Nor can I give up writing, even if it is consuming.  I suppose all I can do is juggle, and hope that finding balance is enough.

But the boys…they’re still in the air.  I won’t feel right, won’t feel secure, until the plane touches down and I know they’re home safe. 

Do you ever feel pulled?  Guilty that you’re not enough, doing enough, being enough?  And do you think men ever feel this way?  Tell me what you think and you could win my Taste of Sunshine package, a sunny Hawai prize package that’s bright, cheery, yummy and fun.  I’ll draw a name from the comments below on Monday night midnight and announce the winner Tuesday morning.  So talk to me, and maybe you’ll win!


  1. Wow – as a mother of three, I can certainly understand the guilt. I feel guilty when my husband and I are pulled in two directions taking one child to soccer and the other to dance. Or when I’m watching one soccer game and missing another child’s. Or when I’m working and can’t be at a school event. The list is endless and unfortunately, synonymous with motherhood. What I tell my kids is that I do the best I can. I want to be with them all the time, I love them, but sometimes Momma has to work or be with your sister or brother. It’s hard, but it’s life and we have a lot of fun and craziness which is what I hope they remember, not the missed soccer game.

  2. I am so with you! I told my husband just last night that by now (my boys are 10 & 12) that I would have thought that I would maybe have a little time for myself. It seems that they need me more than ever now – even with their great strides toward independence. My 12 year old can cook his meals, do his laundry and is capable of cleaning the house. My 10 year old is not too far off.

    I think that as they get older, they just have different needs. I can picture them 10 years from now and still needing Mom to make them whole. I love being a mom to them!

  3. I’m not a mom, but I am a daughter and sometimes I feel that I’m not doing enough to help my mom and so I can see what you mean to a certain extent. I know my mom would do anything for me and she thinks about me when making important decisions for us but I do have a hard time between deciding to do something for me and trying to help her as much as I can.

  4. I don’t have kids of my own yet, but I think like anything else in life it’s about maintaining a healthy balance. I think it’s important for mothers to set aside time for themselves doing whatever activity brings them enjoyment because in the long run it’ll probably make them a happier person and a happier mom.

  5. I am a divorced mother. When my daughters were in school I was working full time and part of the time going to school at night. My youngest daughter was into sports and would do track,soccer and basketball all at the same time. There was no way I could make all her games and a lot of times I had to send her to out of town tournaments with my good friend whose kid was on the same team. I missed a lot of games, but I really didn’t have a choice as I was the sole support of both of them. They are 32 and 27 now and they both tell me they don’t know how I managed to do as much with them as I did. So I guess all you can really do is make sure that the time you spend with your kids is quality time.

  6. the Taste of Sunshine package would do wonders right about now; sounds great.

    My step kids are long gone from home but I do sometimes feel that way about our grandkids- we don’t see them very often and are we being grandparents enough is my concern.

    One has to do their best, make it quality time more so than quantity time and give your all when you can. One needs time for him/herself in order to be the person they should be when needed by others. Be there for them.

  7. It is never easy to be apart from my children. I hate every minute of it and hope they are alright. My house feels empty with out the hustle and bustle of every day life. I guess that is what also makes me love and cherish every moment even more. I have learned not to take our time for granted. It is precious. I feel if I didn’t know what it felt like to miss them, I could never appreciate them moments we have together as much. I have learned that they are a gift, and what unconditional love really is.

  8. My “kids” are now 24 and 22. Keep telling yourself, “This too shall pass.” And it does.

    Yes, I indeed felt guilty many many MANY times throughout those years. I held down three jobs — two outside the home and self-employment at the house. I drove my kids to their various schools. We robbed Peter to pay Paul when it came to unexpected college costs. We took money out of our RRSPs to just survive for a few years, but we’d do it all again in a heartbeat if it meant ensuring that our kids got a proper education — and in a field where they professed pleasure.

    You feel pulled during most waking hours. You have MUCH fewer waking hours but somehow survive. The essentials get done; that is enough.

    I don’t know of a single man who has felt guilty in this regard. Just know that you are not alone, Jane. A cazillion million before you and after you will feel guilty too.

  9. I am a homeschooling mom. My boys are 5 and 7. Sometimes I feel “pulled” because I am not getting the alone time with my daughter that I would have if the boys were in traditional school. But I love what I am doing, and I know it is the best thing for our family, so I try not to feel guilty.

  10. Jane,

    Of course there is guilt. I think more so for moms than dads but dads do have it. I am flying to Montana in the beginning of May and seriously can’t wait, however, my 10 yr old daughter is having some anxiety for me leaving. She started with this in August when I traveled to PA for the candle convention. I think it stems from me never leaving them for a few days in a row. But cancelling is not a good example for her either. I need her to know it’s okay for moms to have a life outside their children. It hurts and it’s stressful but it’s necessary. My husband has guilt for working so much but makes up for it by coaching every sport they play which is a lot. And it says a lot. It means a lot. He is a fantastic dad which also makes it possible for me to leave and have a life finally!! And your kids seeing you happy and enjoying life to its fullest is very important. It makes you a better mom to them!!

    Love ya, Jane!! Thanks for the awesome blog, AGAIN! Enjoy these last couple of days in Paradise!!


  11. Honey, it’s part of life and it will NEVER go away being a mom, just ask your mom or your sisters, friends. As much as you will want tto let go, honestly it never happen, it just changes. Chris and Keri are the best part of Ron and I, and I thank God every day for them as you will with the boys and Ty.

    Live, laugh and love and hold those dear to your heart, Jane.

  12. Hi Jane,
    I was just at Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writer presentation today and he mentioned these points. According to him, no, a man doesn’t feel the guilt putting his energy into his work to the extent a woman does. It is his work. It is what he does that creates the best he can be for himself and for his family. Guilt shouldn’t be an issue.

    As a mom of 4 girls, who are now gone, I can commiserate because you can’t be in 4 places at the same time and still have a career and a life. I also do not believe in guilt. The Mom Job is a vocation, writing is your career and both are what make you who you are.

    Now, from a different perspective, as a mom I would do anything I thought would be in the best interests of my daughters. For one of them I had to tell her that it seemed like she needed to be face down in the gutter in order to get a clue about being responsible for herself. I told her that if I thought that was what it took, I would make sure she got there.

    And she knew I would! So she never got there!

  13. oh yes! especially after my divorce- oh the divorce mom guilt. and speaking just for my husband, i think he does feel the pull between spending time with me, kids, parents, friends and work.

  14. It must be on the y chromosome, because I don’t think men feel like we do about the conflicts between being a parent and having a career. It isn’t expected of them so the men get a “pass” on that guilt trip. I had a working mom way back when it was unusual, and also being in a large family, I felt resentful about it and not getting much attention. As I grew older my admiration of my mom grew as well, and I became proud she could be a boss and a mom, too. I am sure your boys are proud of you, Jane, and wouldn’t want their demands to cheat you of your passion for writing. Most moms work now, and it is even a status thing to have a successful mom.

  15. As a mother of two, a son who has ADHD and PDD(form of autism) and is 9 and a daughter 7 who is allergic to everything motherhood can be trying. I work full time and by the time I pick them up from school we get home at 6:00 do homework, make dinner, clean up and try to have a little chill out time before bed…it’s not always easy and I wonder if I give the kids enough attention or if I give one more than the other, if I do enough for them, if I am there for them as much as they want. I have let my running take a back seat to everything this past year and would like to get into it again but feel guilty even though it may be an hour out of the night. I can truly see where you are coming from.

  16. Ah, isn’t this the major dilemma facing all mothers? We feel like that if we aren’t giving all of ourselves, all of the time to our children that we’re somehow failing them. It’s a daily struggle in my life.

  17. Jane honey I never feel like I completely fulfill my requirement as mother. That is our nature and no I do not think a man feels this and unfortunately I could not explain to you in a short response how I know this but I do. I know my soon to be ex-husband loves his sons but it really is a different type of free love one untouched by maternal worry and question. I both envy and resent him for this. I now go to college four nights a week work 5 days a week and I am a mother full time. Only a mother can fill those jobs simultaneously and still have time to worry about it all.As I sit here writing you tonight my son lies sleeping on the couch to my right, a sweet mixed cocktail lies just to my left and both my 3 page eng. paper and 3 section algebra work are stacked under the desk. My other sons lie sleeping in their rooms and I am enjoying a late night of writing poetry because since I work at the school and Kansas is under 4 inches of ice and snow I dont have to work tomorrow.I am thankful for tonight and the peace that resonates through my house and my soul thanks to a break provided to me by another mother…mother nature.

  18. Hi Jane!

    Tough to read all this because it makes me feel guilty to be anticipating your next book. Not guilty but maybe a bit selfish? Because the whole time I’m thinking…. no! Write! Write! But….. you’re right you gotta find a healthy balance. I know how you feel on being torn. I’m not a mom yet, but my nephews are my world. I see them almost daily, and just the other week, after a long grueling day at work they were begging me to hang out with them after work. All I wanted to do though is to drive home, draw a bath and go to sleep. I wrestled with the guilt of letting them down, but once in awhile, you gotta do you right? Even when you find that balance, I’m sure you’ll wrestle with these kinds of conflicts………. watching women around me that are moms they’re always questioning……….. is this right? Amd I doing the right thing? As for men? No. I don’t think they have these kinds of arguments in their heads. Isnt that terrible? But from what I’ve witnessed its always been……… work, earn and provide. But…….. like I said- thats only from what I’ve witnessed. Anyway- You’ve missed some great weather at home. Enjoy the sunshine while you can because apparently our streak is about to end! 🙂


  19. Hi Jane,
    I am and will forever be known as “Momma!” I have five children, four girls and one boy stuck right in the middle. They are all of which are nearly all grown. They are 29, 27, 23, 20, and 20. I always feel pulled at every direction possible. My hubby says I must let go sometime, but can someone tell me when? My twins, MacKenzie and Madison are the babies and I mean the babies. They think they should ask and they shall receive. True, it usually happens. They are in college 50 minutes away from home. I find myself running up to be with them at least on night a week. We are super close. My son, Kane, is my one and only baby boy. At 23, I never fail to tell him that as often as I can. He’s my pride and joy and it’s not that I love him more than I do his sister; it’s just he’s special. He just started the Police Academy in Kansas City. It has been his dream since he was a small boy and yes, it scares me to death. I worry, worry, worry about his safety. Tristan is my second oldest daughter. She got married this year on my birthday. He hubby is in the Air Force and they live in Texas. I only get to see her twice a year. It’s so hard to help her when she needs me; the phone line only reaches so far. My oldest daughter Alexis just gave me my first granddaughter, TuesDae’ Rain, but it was not after she lost an ovary to cancer nine months earlier. Cancer is one word you never want to hear when it comes to your children. Jane, the answer is yes, it does get better with age and no, you never stop being a mother. No matter what people say. Al I can say is, Just Love…

  20. I feel guilty all the time. My kids always come first, and my job is just a job, but I do enjoy it. I frequently feel like I wear out my “happy” at work and turn into cranky mom when I pick up the kids and get home. I’m tired, they’re tired, and the blissful picture I have in my head about us doing some fun stuff together is always quickly replaced by chores, making supper, and boys fighting or arguing, or refusing to pick up their toys. Sigh. I do feel the most amazing peace when I check in on them before I go to bed though…they are so beautiful when they are sleeping, and it makes the struggle all worthwhile!

    1. Wow! Natalie #20 took the words right out of my mouth. Never pass up a chance to check on my angels when they’re sleeping. At 11 and 8; it still melts away when I see them all flushed and sweet in their beds.

  21. Jane–
    I’m guessing you’ll get a ton of response on this one. We are never feeling like we’ve done enough for those we love. I am constantly feeling pulled between the kids (can’t be in 2 places at once) and my work is always calling my name. Just this weekend I will miss Joey’s first baseball game of the season because I will be at Knott’s Berry Farm with Rebecca who has a dance competition there. I am sad about it, but Tom will be there as a coach and Joey will play his heart out and recount every hit to me when I see him. I’ll vow to not miss anymore as to avoid the self-beating I will endure!!

    You have a few big challenges in that your big boys aren’t always with you and you work at home. When you work at home there is always a HUGE distraction and reminders of what you haven’t done. At least when you drive to an office you can focus on whats in front of you. At home, you can’t use the potty without being reminded of what’s un-done.

    I can’t even begin to know the feeling of putting two of the great loves of your life on an airliner to head across the ocean. You know they’re fine, in good hands and being loved; but its perfectly natural to want to see them and know they’re fine. You’ve raised them to be strong and independent like you–plus they have each other (don’t discount the merit of that fact).

    You’re doing great! Keep loving them, making them feel secure, and know they love you right back (even when they don’t act like it). Answer the call that is at your core–to write and feel whole in that. It will all get done in its time; you will always rise to meet the needs of everyone. That is because you’re strong, smart and balanced (even if you don’t always feel that way). Hey, don’t forget about that cute surfer man who loves you for everything you are!!

    Big Hugs Jane; all the way from Tustin!

  22. I always feel like I am juggling so many things! Between work and family, it seems there is never really enough time!

    And in answer to your question, most men probably don’t feel that pressure. I think we as women feel like we have to be Superwoman.

    You are Superwoman 🙂 Hope your boys arrived safely! And hope you and Mac have a safe trip out 🙂


  23. Jane,
    I know exactly how you feel. Balancing Motherhood and work is always a challenge. The guilt will always be there, but I do want to help support my family and am proud of the work I do.
    I wish I had more energy. Some people don’t need 8 hrs of sleep, but I do.
    I have two children–16 and 15. My son just got his driver’s license. I cannot describe the feeling I had when they both pulled out of the driveway to go to school without me. In someways this will make it easier on me not having to drive them back and forth, but the worry factor has gone way up!!
    Thankfully, I do have a wonderful husband. He works long hours and travels some. I know he feels guilty not being there, but he is providing for his family. It is a struggle for him to.
    Just make sure the time you share with your family is quality time. Believe it or not, they understand.
    Stay strong.

  24. I have been mostly at home with my kids for six years and have been dying to get back to work for many reasons. Now interviewing for a job I really want and the guilt and self-doubt are overwhelming.

    As for men, I think there’s a reason we throw around the term “maternal” but I know a lot of dads who would love more time with their children, and I am grateful their kids know that kind of love from both parents.

  25. I think it’s normal to feel like you want to do more for your kids and to worry about them. I know I always felt guilty when I couldn’t do everything my children wanted. I think all the care and love and worry we put into raising our kids gives them a good foundation to build their lives on.

  26. Jane,
    I feel for you. I was a single mother with two daughters and worked full time and felt guilty every day. They are all grown now and they both turned out to be beautiful women so I guess I didn’t do too bad, even though sometimes I still feel guilty that I can’t do more for them now but you do the best you can. We all know you are a wonderful mother and writer. That’s who you are and your kids love you for you. Have a safe trip home.

  27. I think us mothers are way too hard on ourselves. Kids are wonderful and they know the love and struggling and decisions we make are for them. They are so resiilent. We always wonder if we’re doing enough, but we do what we can and we also deserve a life too. I think the big boys are enjoying their flight alone and feel a little independent. They are being raised with love and room to grow and all this prepares them in making good choices later on. You’re making all this happen for them so try to remember you’re doing the best you can and try real hard not to be so hard on yourself. You’ll all be back together in a few days.

  28. What a wonderful and heartfelt post. I know how you feel because devoted and loving mothers all feel the same way about their children, no matter how old they are. Mothers always are mothers and continue to care, are always there and would do anything for their children.

  29. Reading your post and all the comments that follow, most Mums feel guilty for not being “there” in the right way for their children. We feel this way because we CARE. And that’s just the way we are. I was lucky to only work two days a week when my kids were small… I loved being home with them and I know I was very lucky.

    But also reading the above comments I see that most women’s children have turned out just fine. We always think we could be doing more, but maybe that’s what makes a good mom. Mine are in their late teens and early 20s and I still second guess what I am doing — and there are things I wish I had done differently. One thing I know for certain, I would never have missed having children; it was and continues to be the defining experience of my life.

  30. I hope by now your boys have arrived safely and that worry is gone! It’s funny how you ask if men ever feel this pull? I guess some do but I know I’ve been feeling a lot lately that it must be nice to be the husband. You just go to your job each day and there is no worry about if a child wakes up with a fever or has a day off from school or a snow day, etc. With being a mom on the other hand, I am always juggling how am I going to get my hours in with all these snow days and then what if someone wakes up sick when I am supposed to chaperone a field trip? It’s definitely a juggling act and it’s hard to compartmentalize. Sometimes part of us flows over to the other part. But we have to persevere and know that it’s important for us and for our kids to see us having a life for ourselves.

    I strive daily to teach more independence to my kids who are 9 and 12. I am such a multi-tasker that I tend to do it all and then not step back and take the time to teach them. With their dad traveling, they need to learn to help out more and that is what we are working on.

    Always enjoy reading your blogs!

  31. Oh yes! I feel I’m a good mom, but often wonder if I do enough “fun” stuff with my son. I, too, need my time alone, and give him a lot, but maybe not enough of it?? Who knows! But, you’re not alone!!

  32. Yes, I feel pulled. I think every mom does at one time or another. I stopped working full time – I was a teacher – when my son was two. My job felt too demanding and I couldn’t give my all to my family. My husband has pushed for me to go back full time over the years, but I don’t want to wage that mental battle of not being there for my child. When he started kindergarden I started subbing and it’s been a great balance. I am off when he is and I don’t “take the job home with me”. He’s now in 6th grade, and for financial reason I am going to go back full time next year (if there are jobs in this bad economy!). I hate giving up my balance that I have achieved and loved. I’m hoping it will work out and won’t be as demanding as I remember…..I know it will be demanding, but I’m hoping to gain some sort of balance with it all anyway.
    No, I don’t think men are pulled the same way as women. If I go back to work full time my day to day life changes dramatically, but his won’t. He’ll still be doing the same thing as always, where I will add more to my plate.

  33. Oh yeah, we all fill that pull! Its seems we just can’t do enough for our children and spouse. I know I have always done to much for them and its like they can’t do anything for their self. I don’t think its quiet the same with men. They thing everything should be done for them, least mine it that way and I know its my fault. My son is twenty and in college, but doesn’t have his driver license, so anytime he needs anything I will try to make the time to take it to him and I know this is wrong because he needs to stand on his own two feet and grow up. So I don’t have time for me because I am taking care of everyone else and its my fault.

  34. I see no reason why you can’t have both career and motherhood. I am 65 yrs old, and when I had my children, I stayed at home with them. And I am glad that I had the opportunity. But, at times, I think I might have been a better mother and a better wife if I had been able to work outside the home. Boredom and depression can happen if you have no interests outside the home. Go for it!!!!!!!!

  35. I think there is always mom guilt. But as moms, we also have to teach our kids to be independent so when I feel guilty, I remind myself that I’m just equipping my kids for adulthood. And when we’re together, I treasure every moment.

  36. I have three kids as well and I definitely feel this way. Am I doing enough for them? Do they see I work because I need to? The cries of “play with me, Mom” responded to, “I just have to get this done.” But do I really? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. It’s hard feeling pulled in all directions. I think that’s common for Moms. Do Dads feel like that? I would say sometimes. But I think Moms feel it more often.

  37. I feel pulled every day between motherhood and career. When I moved to Seattle, I thought it would be easy to transition into the family business of selling furniture. The idea was, I would take over for mom and she would be able to gradually step into retirement. As Isaiah is getting older (he is 5 now) I have been feeling very different about this retail gig…and seriously consider quiting as devastating as that would be to my mom. As it is now, I have 3 Sunday’s a month with Isaiah…and I feel guilty ALL THE TIME! I want to be able to take him to the park on Saturdays, birthday parties, soccer games. It breaks my heart every day. I also want a mom-daughter relationship with my mom instead of a boss/mom-employee/daughter relationship. I am completely conflicted. I grew up in the furniture industry and remember going to work with my mom on Saturdays. It was NO fun. I feel like I have a choice at this point, but if I go much further it will be unlikely that I can break away from this job into something that pays well and still affords me some decent benefits and time off. Prepping resume, and we will see what happens. I will have weekends off with my boy…it’s a must.


  38. I have three kids as well and I think guilt is a huge part of not just being a mom but a parent. My husband deals with it as well. He spends more time with the boys because of scouts and they do their camping thing but he feels he doesn’t spend as much time with our daughter. I tell him that it’s not the amount of time but the quality of time and that he’s there for her and she knows it. It’s hard to squeeze work, volunteering, and school work, and activities into the day to day grind. Finding a balance would be the answer but it’s not easy. I think that you can work and be a mom by trying to find balance and it’s certainly okay to say no. Sometimes we have to. It took me years but I’m now in a place where I’m comfortable in saying no and yes, there’s some guilt that goes with it but it’s more important to me that I’m here for my kids and can focus on them and that I can breath because I’m not so stressed out because of other demands.

  39. I don’t have guilt. I need my work, and that’s that. My kids are only 1 and 2, and work keeps me sane. I’m simply not a stay-at-home mom person. Some people are, and I think that’s great. I’m simply not. That’s great, too.

    I recently lost my job (economy–boo!). I loved that job more than anything and I looked forward to going into work every morning. My reactions from my friends have been strange. Most of the men are understanding that I’m devastated. The women are divided. Some feel empathy. Others react like they can’t understand why I’m upset. Their responses are, “Oh good, now you’ll have more free time. Think of all the fun stuff you can do!”

    Work WAS my fun stuff. Of course I enjoy time with my kids. I also need time to not be a mom. I need something that’s mine. Something creative. These friends think that fun is playing with my kids all day and attending mom groups and swapping babies from time to time. That just isn’t fun for me. I get plenty of time with my babies. They’re only young once and yes, I lose a part of them every day, but when I’m not taking care of my adult needs I simply can’t enjoy my kids the same way. They become a burden, and something I feel I have to escape from, instead of something I look forward to coming home to.

    Mothers, can we all just agree to let go of the guilt? We can’t be everywhere at once. Discover your needs, and own up to them. Being a working mom doesn’t make us worse mothers. It doesn’t mean we’re not cutting off our arms to save our children. Our lives don’t go into suspension for 18+ years. We need lives, too.

    My own mother was always meant to be a mom. She describes staying at home while my sister and I were little as “the best time of her life.” My 2 years staying home with my little ones was probably the worst time of my life. Our needs are different. We’re different people. No one is better. No one is worse. And that’s okay.

  40. I can so relate… I feel pulled everyday and with that comes the guilt. Am I doing enough? Am I giving enough? How do I get more organized to free up time with the kids? Do I really have to work… are there other options… can we make it work? The hard part is coming up with the answers…I am still working on those, and hopefully I can come up with some before it is too late.

  41. Jane, the definition of motherhood is conflict as we battle to find the never-changing constant of family life/work balance. It never balances ..even on holidays, sorry vacation, when we can shed all word responsibilites but we balance it off with ‘I’ll just finish reading this chapter before we play ‘Articulate’ 🙂

    Your big boys still need you a lot. Parenting teenagers is a lot of emotional time, parenting littlies is a lot of physcial time…either way they need you and you need your job. So you will juggle until they grow up and leave home…and therein lies the true definition of parenting…one big juggle with loads of rewards. Hug em tight 🙂

  42. Mother’s guilt? Always. My children are grown and one has a child now, but I still get conflicted. Everyday. I try real hard to let them grow up and do things without me, make their mistakes and their victories alone while I struggle to stay back and ‘hover’ (and they hate it when I ‘hover’.) Even when I go shopping for myself, I always end up picking this or the other for them. I’m going on vacations without them and I always think: oh, they would have loved this–I should have taken them with me. It’s hard to separate myself from being a mother. A male friend once asked me: what happens to Me when my children leave and have their own families? I think he had the same juggling issues but I think it was easier for him. So I try to balance the Mother and the Self but it gets dicey there every once in a while. Hang in there Jane because in the end it is all worth it!

  43. There are plently of moms out there that feel that excat way you did yesterday morning. Everything that has to do with being a mom, wife, daughter and employee, I wonder can I do this and that and still manage to get that done without busting any bubbles along the way. And the answer is NO! Sad, but that is just how it is. Can we change it, of course, but then that would mean we have to change who we are.

    If motherhood, being a great wife, being that perfect daughter and being that “grade A employee” had a Handbook so we could follow, would I use it? NO. What fun would that be.

  44. I know the feeling of being pulled both directions. I have a junior in college at Cal Poly and a Junior in high school and I don’t think it ever stops. One needs me here in Tulare and one needs me in San Luis Obispo. I try to be there for both of my beautiful daughters and they both know I love them equally yet differently. One is my first born and one is my baby.
    I take each day as it come and am thankful for every moment I am given with my children. Thank you for all the insight you give to all of us.

  45. I think it is normal for moms to feel “pulled” and guilty. With all that is going on these days, I don’t know how you couldn’t. I am a stay at home mom and I go non-stop everyday. It seems like I never have enough time in the days to accomplish everything I want to. I just have to remind myself one day, when my kids are off on their own, I will be bored to death! I think it’s wonderful you have so much love for your children and writing. That’s the way it should be and you shouldn’t feel guilty at all!

  46. I think all women feel this way. There is always so much pressure on us. Sometimes I wish I could be a guy, they seem so carefree. Although, I am proud of everything I’ve always done for my kids and all the times I’ve been there. I wouldn’t change those crazy times for anything!

  47. It’s too late to ask my mom tonight what it was like for her and how she felt, but she became a single parent shortly after I was born when my father passed away. As the child of a parent who became the sole provider to myself and my 2 sisters, I think she did an awesome job of juggling her responsibilities. I won’t say that at times I was happy that she couldn’t be there like other parents were for their kids at events or fundraisers, but I think for the times that she had to be absent, it was understandable. And in the end it provided a base for me to become the independent, self-reliant and strong individualistic creative person I am today.

    Your children know you love them with all of your heart and they also know that writing is a part of who you are, makes you who you are. You inspire them to pursue their dreams as you pursued yours. When it comes down to it, when they truly need you to be there for them (not that they don’t need you all of the time now, but when it’s imperative), they will know that they can count on you because of that love.

  48. I think its normal to be torn and feel that you can’t do enough for your kids. Life is crazy. My daughter turns 15 today and my son will be 13 in a month. I am lucky enough to stay home but I made the decision to put my kids first after I thought I wouldn;t be able to have any. I don’t regret it but I think some days I can’t do enough and some days I do too much! They & my husband are spoiled having me home. But yet I still feel guilty taking time for myself like going to Zumba dance class twice a week! I have always had a problem with taking time for myself like that. I can’t believe how long I have been working on my book — that I have to change some things because it is incrediblt dated — because I put it off when I had things to do for the kids and was unable to focus on writing.

    Saturday my husband and I spentthe day at our rental property to get it ready to sell. We came home to a clean house and love notes all over the door saying how much and why our kids loved us! That was a huge affirmation!

    We are all pulled in so many dorections and spend so much time driving our kids around and cheering them on, cracking the homework whip, helping with projects and even cuddling on the couch and watching a movie. I think as long as our kids know that we love them and that we do the best we can it is the best!

    Jane and all your blog friends~
    You are all fabulous women and you are all loved and the best you can be!!!


  49. I have two daughters that are 10 years apart. They each have issues with things I have done or do with the other. Nothing bit but enough to drive me crazy. That old saying about if Mom isn’t happy, no one is happy holds true. If I give so much that I have nothing left for myself everyone feels it.

    It is a fine balance between teaching them to take care of themselves and feeling like you didn’t do enough. It is so hard. There are days I know I should let them be…how can they be strong and confident if I do too much? And then there are days that I think why didn’t I do that for them?

    We are human and one thing you realize is you make mistakes. Sometimes big ones, some not so much. You survive and they will, too.

    My husband has some worries about things but not as much.

  50. interesting stuff. Only one woman admits she doesn’t feel guilty about having adult needs. I like the statement that everyone has different needs and noone is better- just different. I grew up with a mom that made it no secret that she didn’t want to “just be a mother”. I always wanted a doting mom like all my friends. I really missed that. As an adult I decided to take on the philosophy that everything in life has pros and cons. I decided to look at it as a positive and how that upringing probably led me to travel around alot which I enjoyed. Perhaps that upbringing is why I never had the urge to be a parent. Maybe I’m fooling myself but it’s all in how you look at things and I just decided I would look at everything in life as having pros and cons and try to just accept things as is. Anyway- ironically I always feel guilty about not living where my parents live even though they also didn’t live where their parents live. I try to tell myself that I should not feel guilty for living where I want to live- but the guilt doesn’t go away… strange. Anyway- sorry you have to go through that guilty feeling. I’m sure you are a super mom and your boys are super confident and secure and loving and doing just fine. Try not to worry.

  51. I’m here to announce the winner of the blog contest. Drum roll please…

    #9 Mary N you’ve won a fun Hawaii prize package!

    Please email me your mail address ASAP so I can send you your goodies before I fly back to Seattle Thursday morning. And when you email me your address, let me know which book of mine you’d like, and how you’d like it signed (to you, a friend, your mom, etc).

    Congrats, Mary and thanks to all for participating!


  52. This is what I LOVE about this blog…It’s more than just a communication with a favorite author, it’s real people sharing their real stories and giving real support. Reading your posts, both Jane and contributers, I have felt less lonely and isolated during those ‘mommy times’ when I feel as if I’m lost and am just at these little ones beck and call. I’ve also gotten some great ideas from the readers on balancing life.
    Thanks to you ALL!
    One of the Shannons

  53. I’m of the “sandwich generation”. Let me tell ya about being pulled in different directions: My aging mom and handicapped sibling living 8 hours away, my husband who travels a lot, grown kids in different states, the youngest and her child living with us, and pets. Do I feel pulled? I’d like to have a cloning machine! LoL

    I’m here to tell ya that it will *never* get better, so enjoy each saving grace moment as it comes. It’s the only way women survive. Blessings to you and your guys. Thought of y’all thru the tsunami warnings, and so very glad it wasn’t as bad as predicted! Be strong!

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