Mean Mommy Guilt: When Doing What’s Right Goes Wrong

MLately I’ve been forced to be a very mean mommy. Not “no wire-hangers” mean…but I’ve had to make our daughter Peachy to do all sorts of things Peachy just doesn’t want to do. She’s kicking, and screaming, and pushing me away. She’s crying real tears, practically hyperventilating. She’s beet red…snot nosed…and so very angry at me. The only reason she hasn’t bitten me is a lack of teeth, not a lack of will.

Our daughter, at a mere 10 months, was just came down with Pneumonia. This means all sorts of new things she hates. First is an antibiotic that she literally tries to spit out. Then there’s her old arch nemesis the nasal aspirator and saline solution.

But the newest, and cruelest device torturing her is the nebulizer. My god does this kid hate the nebulizer. We had our first treatment at the pediatrician’s office – which meant the entire office of patients, parents, and staff got to hear my daughter scream her brains out at level 11. It was a full blown meltdown. She sweated so much her clothes and hair were completely soaked through. She looked like someone dumped a bucket of water on her. And as I sat there, literally wrestling her down and holding this mask to her face her eyes locked with mine and that look from her sweet little sobbing face just broke my heart. She can’t understand that I’m not trying to hurt her, I’m trying, desperately, to make her better. She can’t understand that my extreme and unyielding love for her makes this so much more horrible for me than it is for her.

I also had the added bonus of getting to walk out with my angry, sweaty, red-faced and still crying child, so the entire office could see that the kid losing her poo-poo was mine. I was the mean mommy on parade.

As one of the newer moms on the block, this mean mommy guilt is new to me. The feeling that you’re doing your very best but it’s being met with anger and frustration from your little person is such a helpless and thankless feeling. I know one thing – I’m going to need to toughen up and get some thicker skin or I’ll never survive the toddler years.

So how do you deal with mean mommy guilt? How do you cope when doing what’s right and what’s best for them makes your little one upset?


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Stephanie Tsales

Stephanie Tsales

Stephanie splits her time between a full-time gig in higher education, lots of crazy hobbies, and her family: husband Mr. Handsome, their new daughter Peachy, and a rescue pug named Meatball.
Stephanie Tsales

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Comments

  1. That’s so hard when it’s a medical issue and there’s no way out – even as an adult I HATE the idea that something really unpleasant is necessary to make me better. It’s a helpless feeling all around. I don’t have advice for those situations, but for others, when you need to discipline the child or not allow them to do something they want to do because it’s the right thing to do, safe, etc. I just tell myself that I’m the parent, not a friend. I’d rather make them mad and force them to do what’s right than have to deal with cops knocking on my door when they’re teens because they were running wild. (Of course, the latter could still happen, but I’m hoping to minimize the chances….) As the the thankless feeling, get used to that one. I could write a whole post on the many, many, MANY ways that being a parent is a thankless job!

  2. Oh my gosh I had the same thing with one of my kids. She was about 18 months and had an asthma attack. I was in the emergency room with her and they were putting a mask on her and she was petrified and she just kept telling me that she had to go potty, because I was training her at the time and she knew that way she’d get off. It did work for a bit till the Dr told me that she didn’t really have to go. It was heart wrenching

  3. My younger daughter needed a nebulizer when she was about 18 months for RSV and wheezing. It came with not one, but TWO different medicines, so after we were done holding her down for the 15 minutes it took for the first medicine to get into her, we had to do it all over again. Twice a day. It was super awesome. Things we found that worked: referring to the nebulizer as “Mr. Fishy Face” and putting the mask over our own faces to demonstrate, good old-fashioned bribery (here is the chocolate chip you can have when you are done!), and Dora. Yes, we let her watch an episode of Dora if she would sit still with the nebulizer on. It wasn’t pretty, but it was better than the alternative which was forcibly restraining a thrashing, screaming toddler who probably wasn’t getting the intended benefit of the nebulizer that way anyway. Good luck. The good news is, by the time they are two they can use an inhaler with a spacer which is MUCH easier, if you even need to continue with it.

  4. Sharon Druker says:

    I can so relate – after our daughter, then 3 years old, had her tonsils and adenoids removed, she had a long dosage of a particularly foul-tasting antibiotic. It took both parents to administer it, one to pinch her nose so she would open her mouth and the other to squirt it inside her cheek with a syringe then hold her lips closed and massage her throat so she would swallow it. It comes under the heading “you gotta do what you gotta do” and makes you appreciate your own parents.

  5. I know what you mean. I took my daugther Emily to have her six months shots a few weeks ago. After her shots, I gave permission to have her one ear washed out because there was so much wax in it and it was preventing her doctor from seeing if she had an ear infection. It was awful. Emily screamed the whole time and on the way home. I had the fun task of having to hold her head steady while they flushed her ear out.

    In the end, I had peace of mind. It turned out her ears were clear. I would have felt more guilty if I left Kaiser not knowing if she had one because she kept rubbing her ears all day.

    She calmed down after we came home. I immediately gave her her paci, lot’s of snuggles, swaddled her in her crib, and a good dose of Tyelenol. Thirty minutes later, I had a much happier baby. :)

  6. I just wrote about Mommy guilt myself. I don’t know that I have any keen insight. Parenting is challenging. Parenting while working FT even more so. When you pile on illness and having to give your kid medicine they don’t like and feeling guilty because you think that somehow you could have spared them the illness it makes you want to scream! I think that we have to give ourselves a break. Mommies work. Life happens. Kids get sick. If only it was as easy to live as it is to write… http://chatonsworld.blogspot.com/2013/06/working-mom-guilt19.html

  7. My husband just passed from cancer, and my youngest had gotten horribly sick. While my husband was sick, she got RSV, bronchiolitis and walking pneumonia, it was horrible. I had to take two weeks off from work, had to send herolder sister and my husband to his mothers house(retired nurse) for the entire.duration. Every day she screamed for her daddy and sister. Especially when it came time for the inhaler or the nebulizer. Itwas extremely hard, and I cried every time, but after a lot of talking with her, she finally understood that it would make her better and the sooner she got better, the sooner she saw daddy.

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