oh hi, mom guilt

I wrote this post when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed. I think it’s still worth publishing, because I have a feeling some of my reader friends out there can probably relate.

“Am I doing enough?”

“Am I doing too much?”

“Hot damn, I’m tired.” 

Me w the noodles

(The side of P’s face is bruised from catapulting out of the crib, and Bella is behind me eating a slice of pizza that was thrown from the high chair)

Lately, I’ve felt burdened with the usual mom guilt, which tends to dissipate and return at confusing times. Right now, I feel the happiest I have, probably in years, and the most chill I have since we first found out we’d be leaving San Diego. To the most pleasant surprise, we are loving Valdosta, we love our house here, and the people we’ve met and have hung out with have been amazing and wonderful. I LOVE the studio and gym where I’m teaching and training, and feel so thankful that so many pieces have fallen into place. 

At the same time, it’s that creeping balance struggle that I know so many fellow mamas and women strive to attain.

For me, “balance” has never really been my game. I focus on prioritization, and what needs to be done at that certain time. While I could always do better, I found a groove that works for me. In San Diego, I felt like everything was finally on a steady routine, and had finally started to feel that way in Tucson. Nothing like shaking things up like moving across the country.

With the recent move, I feel like I had the rug pulled out from underneath me. With our past moves, we were able to get things done fairly quickly, and even though Liv was two when we moved to San Diego, quite a bit of my family was able to help us unpack and stay with us for a while afterwards. For this one, madre’s trip was cut short because our flights were screwed up, and the Pilot jumped back into his insane work schedule right away. I’ve been riding the struggle bus trying to get our house together, take care of the girls, teach/train, and maintain this little space. 

I feel guilty, because I feel like I could always be doing more. When I take 10 minutes to read a book at night, I can feel the pile of clean laundry that needs to be put away, sitting there and judging me. 

Maybe it’s the boxes staring at me no matter where I look. The feeling of almost-finished, but not quite there. (The good news is that I think a lot of this stress will melt away as we wind up the major unpacking.)

There’s the guilt I feel when I unpack another box or clean instead of playing with the girls because I know it has to be done. Also, I KNOW we have those 2T-3T clothes somewhere. (I couldn’t find Liv’s last batch of hand-me-downs for P in the moving insanity, and she outgrew an enormous bag of clothes before I could unearth it from the boxes). 

It’s sitting down to write and feeling like I have nothing to say, because my brain is so.fried. All day long it’s, “Don’t eat that! Please get down from there. Use your manners, please. Have gentle hands with the dogs. WALK, PLEASE! What do you want to eat?” with a break of “10 more reps! You’ve got this! Ok, squat it out. 30 seconds left” and then when I finally get a moment of silence to sit down, write, and work, my brain is still vibrating and trying to figure out WTF happened during the day.

It’s being flooded with ideas and content and goals for this space when I’m driving from swim class to cook dinner, and knowing I won’t have the time or ability to do anything about it until 10pm that night. By that time, I usually forget what I was going to do. (I need to bring my planner around with me.)

It’s lacking manpower, resources, and time. I know Beyonce has the same 24 hours in a day, but damn. The lack of time also forces me to be productive. When I have more time, I feel like I just waste more time.

I’m blessed to have a husband who’s an amazing partner: we work together to get things done, and he does SO MUCH around here. I know that I’m very lucky to have him, and can’t imagine how so many mamas parent and adult (plus work full-time jobs in or out of the house) on their own. I bow down to you.

So why am I writing this? I guess just to share that we’re not alone. No matter what emotions you feel, or stresses you hold: there’s someone out there who feels the exact same way. The same weight, the same pressure, the same rush against the clock while simultaneously begging time to stand still. The girls are getting so big so fast, and part of me wants to quit everything else just to smell their baby hair and play dolls all day. Even so, I know that the work I do gives me an extra purpose and sanity break, I enjoy it so much, and it helps our family financially. 

I’ve been focusing on changing my inner mantra, which sounds so dang cheesy, but it actually works. Instead of talking negatively to myself, I think of what I would say to a friend. I would never tell a good friend, “You suck, you could be doing so much more, you can’t keep up with everything.” It would undoubtedly be something like, “Yeah, raising littles is no joke. For what it’s worth, I think you’re amazing. You’re doing so much, and your kids are lucky to have you.”

I guess I’m also just sharing this to say that it’s not easy. I read so many blogs and Instagram posts, and they just make it look so easy: parenting, working, traveling, life-ing. And for a lot of them, maybe it is, and that’s cool. 

For me: it’s not easy.

Everything I do, I have to work my ass off to make it happen. I struggle. I swear. I cry sometimes. But I’m still doing my thing. 😉

I just like to be honest with you guys and share the happiness and the stuggles.

For every workout Instagram post, there was probably a stubbed toe and an “F” bomb.

For every happy family picture, there were probably some tears 5 minutes beforehand and a “please don’t take that from your sister.”

For every blog post, there’s a girl sitting here in baggy pajamas holding a glass of wine.

But for now, I’m just going to keep riding the wave: failing often, succeeding sometimes, and enjoying it as much as I can. 

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  1. Tanya on May 16, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Love this. Thank you.
    My mantra is “you can do hard things” – thanks to your previous post, it’s gotten me through a lot.

  2. Nicole on May 16, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Thank you for this! As a new mom (to a 7 week old), I had NO IDEA what I was getting in to. All of my friends talked to me about mom guilt, and to be honest, I didn’t get it. Why would you feel guilty for working, exercising, etc?! Well…now I get it. I have a hard time even showering for more than 30 seconds without feeling like I should be hurrying to do something else. When you become a mom something just changes inside of you- I blame the hormones:)

    While I like the idea of balance, I love your thoughts on it. Striving for balance probably sets moms up for more guilt because it is nearly impossible to achieve. Thanks for being such a great voice for moms- none of us are perfect, but we are all doing the best we can.

  3. Lorna on May 16, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Parenting is hard. It’s a lot of joy and happiness, mixed in with frustration and feeling like you have almost no control, over anything. And it’s easy to look like we have it together when all most of the world sees are snippets of your daily life. I feel guilty for taking an hour 2 or 3 times a week for myself at the gym, even though I need it for my health and sanity, because it also means it’s an hour I don’t get to spend with my toddler before he goes to bed. I’m also 23w pregnant, and trying to go to the gym after he goes to bed is impossible these days! I’m not sure it will ever be completely easy, but having a relatively settled routine does seem to help. You’re not alone!

  4. Christina @ Montessoriish mom.com on May 16, 2017 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for sharing this 🙂 I was definitely feeling this way yesterday, trying to unpack from a weekend trip, grocery shop, cook etc. while my little guy was determined to take only 30 minute naps 🙁 Today is a new day though and the coffee is flowing!

  5. Anne on May 16, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been feeling ‘not enough’ and like i’m failing a lot every day lately, and it doesn’t help to see people on Facebook or blogs thinking everyone else has it together except for me! It’s nice to know probably most women struggle with this from time to time. Thank you for your honesty!

  6. Pooja on May 16, 2017 at 6:28 am

    <3 Thank you for sharing this. Needed to hear this today <3

  7. Bethany @ Dose of Discovery on May 16, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart! I think you’re doing great, and you deserve to give yourself as much (and more) grace that you would offer anyone else.

  8. Stephanie Prause on May 16, 2017 at 7:10 am

    This. is. everything. I always remind myself that when it comes to parent-kid time, it’s QUALITY over QUANTITY. And sure, some days I feel so guilty that I don’t believe it, but when I pull myself back together, I realize that it is indeed correct. And it’s so good for little kids (girls especially, IMO) to see their mamas hustling.

  9. Emily @ Pizza and Pull-ups on May 16, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Thank you for sharing, I think we all have these moments. It is so hard to balance momming, marriage, work, fitness, etc, etc. When I feel overwhelmed, I always try to remind myself that even when its really hard, it is always really worth it. Also, cheers to the partners (and family and friends) that are always there to support and help, I know these folks have made a world of difference in my life.

  10. amy on May 16, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Such a great post and I so relate. There is always more I feel like I could be doing and it keeps me from enjoying the moment so much of the time. I am trying to let go of the things that can wait and be more present when the kids are around (mine are 10 and 12, so at school all day, then activities after school, too).
    Love your blog and love how real you are. You seem to be doing so much and doing it well:)

  11. Molly on May 16, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Thank you for sharing, Gina. I recently returned to work from maternity leave and have been struggling with mom guilt as I navigate this “new normal.” You’re right… it does help just to hear that we are not alone! <3

  12. Brittany Taylor @ The Gourmet Financier on May 16, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Such a great post! I too strive for prioritization not balance.
    Right now in your life, your priority is getting your environment settled which will benefit your girls, husband, and yourself. You are doing it for everyone’s benefit so no reason to feel guilty (easier said than done I know!).
    Once that is off your plate, your next priority could be to slow down and enjoy Valdosta and relax with your family. That is fine too.
    Personal background: I am a tax accountant so from February to April my life is one big jumbo mess. Lots of take out, not enough family time, lots of stress. But the priority is making it through that season, making sure my family is fed, healthy, loved. After tax season, we always take a vacation and the priority shifts to quality time together. Life is a series of balancing acts for sure!
    Motherhood is taking small steps in the right direction. You are doing great!

  13. Caitlin on May 16, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Great post with a reality check. It’s easy to post everything happy on instagram or blogs, but we all know that life isn’t that easy. It’s always important to remember that people only share the good on social media and there is a lot of hard behind every good post.

    Love this line- For every blog post, there’s a girl sitting here in baggy pajamas holding a glass of wine.


  14. Katherine on May 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

    It is hard and you can have tons of grace for yourself! My husband is an AF pilot too, and with his work schedule I have had to learn to be very patient and have lots of forgiveness for myself. My house is full of Legos and toy trucks, and when I was working it was even crazier! I count it a successful day if everyone’s eaten dinner, we’ve laughed and smiled, and Momma has had a bit of quiet time.

    It’s a new season and a busy one for you all, but you’ll get through it. Thanks for keeping it real!

  15. Jackie on May 16, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Thank you for writing such an honest post…as a new mom to a 4 month old, I sincerely appreciate it. We live in the era of social media, which is a positive thing, but also negative. I can’t tell you how much (wasted) time I’ve spent comparing my very vulnerable new mom self to women who portray the picture of perfection on the internet. And I get it, it’s hard to talk about the tough stuff publicly, but man is it refreshing to hear someone else say: parenting is hard!
    Anyway, I’ve been reading for many years and i truly relate to this post so thanks!

  16. Molly Petsch on May 16, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Literally everyday I read your read your blog and think to myself- ‘How on earth does this superwoman have it all together? Exercise, kid’s, husband, house, cooking, chores, etc.’ So, yes, it’s refreshing to hear that we all ride the struggle bus most days but know that to us, me, you. are. killing. it.

  17. Carrie on May 16, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for sharing this and being open about the ups and downs. As someone who is hopefully going to be starting a family in the next year, I often wonder how I will be able to balance it all. I have an amazing husband who will be an even more amazing father, but I already feel like there is not enough time in the day. Some days, I am constantly moving, but at the end of the day, I feel like I got nothing done (not true of course, but it feels that way).

    This is a good reminder that it takes effort. It’s not easy. But, you do hard things if they are worth it. And if they aren’t worth it, you learn to let them go and conserve your efforts for what is. Like you said, prioritize! 🙂

  18. Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things on May 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I absolutely love this. I’m not a mom, but I can relate so much to this. I love how open this post and how much you keep things real. Life isn’t always as perfect as it seems on Instagram and it’s nice knowing that others feel the same. Love love love this post:)

  19. Colleen on May 16, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m lucky enough to have a job that provides me an opportunity to work from home frequently, but being a stay-at-home mom while also being a working mom is no joke. I’m constantly feeling mom guilt, and this post was exactly what I needed today while my husband is traveling. Sending lots of love your way mama.

  20. Jackie on May 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for keeping it real Gina! So true. My twin boys are now 13, so I feel like I am starting to come out the other side of this a bit. After working full time since they were born I would go through some serious self doubt phases but thankfully I have some very happy, healthy, intelligent and sensitive young men to show for all those years of hard work! So rewarding and so HARD! Love these posts!

  21. Tracy on May 16, 2017 at 10:37 am

    You are definitely not alone!! My husband and I are really really struggling right now with our 4 teens (one of them in particular). I just said to him last night “This is so hard!!!” I keep reminding myself that we can get through this phase. We will. I, too, have been working hard to replace my inner negative self-bashing with positive pep talks! It does help!! Blessings! <3

  22. Rachel on May 16, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Such a great reminder to all moms! There is such chaos and beauty (all at the same time) in all that we deal with between kids, work, family, ourselves. Reminds me of another article that spoke to me as well: https://www.popsugar.com/moms/Remembering-Big-Picture-Parenting-41104852

  23. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on May 16, 2017 at 11:23 am

    I’m not even a Mom and I can full heartedly relate to this. The struggle is real no matter what age or your situation.

  24. Sharon on May 16, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I’m a stay at home parent of 2 little ones, and feel this way a lot. I’m heading back to school to create my career, and am just petrified of a future balancing act. This is such a good reminder to take things in stride, to have a little faith, and maybe a tenth of the grace you have! 😉 Thank you for this post.

  25. Laura on May 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Hey Gina,

    Just wanted to offer a quick thought – have you ever considered hiring an occasional housekeeper? I often struggle with feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed, and resisted getting help for a LONG time because of budget, feeling like I didn’t *really* need it, etc.

    When I finally bit the bullet and had someone come over, it was LIFE. CHANGING. We still clean our own house most of the time, but having that extra hand to dust, scrub the floors, and just generally refresh things was huge for me – perhaps more mentally than the actual benefit. It helped me to spend less time worrying about the house not being clean and spend more quality (i.e. not thinking about cleaning) time with my boyfriend.

    Just a thought! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your IRL stories, as always!

  26. Melanie on May 16, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Thank-you for sharing!! I have recently felt down and continuously struggle with “do I spend time with my kids or get stuff done around the house?” My mantra at one time (I need to remind myself of it.) was “Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” ~Mandy Hale That saying helped!

  27. Courtney on May 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I couldn’t have read this post at a more perfect time. I hear you and I relate to everything you are saying. This post made me a little teary eyed because I am in the same profession as you. The busier I get the more I feel guilty making excuses to my three year old why I cannot stop and play dolls today. Not sure what I am trying to say other than you have someone on the opposite coast who understands you. Thank you for being honest and i will probably re-read your post a few more times to let it sink in. It really helps me as I head off to train another client. You are such a great mom and I have enjoyed every step as a long time reader!

  28. Lisa @ Lisa 3D on May 16, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been feeling a similar overwhelm in my life lately trying to balance my full time job, taking care of the house, being a wife and trying to maintain my own blog. It’s always good to know that we’re not alone when we feel this way. <3

  29. Marah on May 16, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Did you climb into my brain? I’m right there with you on ALL of this right now!

  30. Liz on May 16, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Girl, Beyonce has HELP to get her through those 24 hours! I guarantee she’s got a nanny, housecleaners, cook, and whatever else. And if she doesn’t, well, she’s Beyonce so she prob makes it all possible lol. You are doing an amazing job. I’ve read your blog for a few years and I always wonder how the hell you do so much and I can barely get myself dressed. !Kudos mama!

  31. beth on May 16, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    love love your honesty. these are my favorite kind of posts. xo

  32. Monica Giovinazzo on May 16, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you for this post and your honesty. I have a 4 year old and almost 2 year old. Some days I feel like “I got this” while others have me doubting, second guessing, and plain old TIRED! It feels refreshing to read something real and reminds me that we (parents) all have more in common than we think 🙂

  33. Cara on May 16, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Thank you. Everything in this post spoke to my soul. I’ve been struggling with finding my new self as a mom, wife, business owner, and hair stylist. There will never be enough time in the day…. but knowing we aren’t alone in the guilt and in the happiness is so helpful. Today I was told to change my mom guilt “I should” into “I wish” and I’m hoping to allow myself some grace in the moments of chaos.

  34. Bethany on May 16, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I love your heart in this girl! I have a post drafted much like this but have not had the words to finish it. You are doing amazing! The guilt is real! “I should work” “I work too much” “I should not have talked to them in that tone” “I am not focusing on my children enough” ” I am focusing on my child too much and need to focus more on my husband'” UGH! IT’S HARD! I never knew guilt like this until I was a mom! You are doing great love! Really at the end of the day loving our family with our whole being is the most important.

  35. Cassie on May 17, 2017 at 4:25 am

    For me, the peacefull sanity comes about a week after a smooth routine has been established. And thank you for saying how hard it is. Sometimes I feel like I only here how blissful and amazing it is. It is, but it’s hard work too.

  36. Nikki on May 17, 2017 at 4:54 am

    Thanks for writing honestly! It really does help to know that we’re not alone in this- that some days are just really hard to parent. I heard a term “fakebooking” recently and sometimes that’s totally true! You never really know what someone else is going through. Picture don’t tell the whole story. We gotta hang in there, knowing it will get better and take time for ourselves (somehow…)!

  37. Juliette | Namastay Traveling on May 17, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Thank you so much for sharing the real side. It’s so easy to get caught up in the filtered picture of a perfect life when in reality we all have struggles…but isn’t that the glorious part of being human?! Ha, not quite, but it helps us connect when we know we’re not going it alone! Thanks for your vulnerability, honesty, and authenticity..always. I appreciate it more than you know!

  38. Gigi on May 17, 2017 at 5:34 am

    I think it’s marvellous that you share your struggles – surely no-one believes happy pictures on Instagram tell anyone’s whole story! You are one of the hardest working bloggers I follow – I am in awe of what your produce! One little tip – when you get ideas for this site, or anything really, had you thought of taking a voice note on your phone? If like me your phone is always nearby, it’s a hands free way of capturing ideas for later. I love your work, and use your book regularly !

  39. Sarah on May 17, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have been feeling so many of these same emotions lately and feel like I spend so much of my time DOING for my son (and husband) that I lose time BEING with them. I rush around in the mornings to make breakfasts and lunches and getting us out the door and then as soon as I get home from work, I rush around getting dinner cooked and the kitchen cleaned and him bathed and off to bed. And those things are valuable, important and necessary, but finding the balance is so hard. On mother’s day I was reflecting on the quote that “motherhood is the hardest job you will ever love” – and it’s so true.

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 11:37 am

      that is such an excellent point; going through the actions without taking time to be present. it’s so so easy to slip into that!
      loved that quote, too <3

  40. Lauren on May 17, 2017 at 6:30 am

    All I have to say is thank you for this. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 11:35 am

      thank you so much for reading!!

  41. LJ on May 17, 2017 at 6:52 am

    It is great that you have the courage to admit out loud that things aren’t as picture perfect as they look from further away. I was just chatting with my massage therapist how so many fitness bloggers share fancy super healthy concotions and their life just seems too perfect to relate to. Most of us are only humans, after all.

    I think (from all I have seen here over the years) that you are doing a great job. Everyone struggles sometimes. I have learned that the most important parenting tool for me is having learned to say “I am sorry”. I have lost my temper countless times and yelled at my kids when they really didn’t deserve being yelled at. I felt they were deliberately pushing my buttons, but often they were just tired too. Or scared. Or bored. Incredibly (now that they are older) they have also learned to understand that it does not matter that you make mistakes, what counts is how you recover from them.

    Laundry can wait (well, most of the time at least). When the pilot has to go to work in his jammies because there is nothing else to wear, THEN you need to worry. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 11:34 am

      yes! i definitely enjoy the accounts that have some realness in there 😉 no one can live like that all the time
      thank you <3 and so true about apologizing! when i lose my patience, i found that just saying sorry and talking about it makes a huge difference
      and totally true about the laundry. last night, i just took it out of the dryer and put it in a hamper on the floor haha. i'll deal with it later 🙂

  42. coco on May 17, 2017 at 6:54 am

    this is a lovely post that all moms could relate to. i often feel the guilt, especially when I want to be alone for a while. But I keep reminding myself that I need to be happy and strong in order to be a better mom.

    I’m taking my family to SD in June for my first marathon race. Any recommendation of what to do and where to eat? Have you wrote a post on SD? I’d love to read it.

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

      it’s so true!! when i get a little bit of alone time, i’m a more patient, kind, fun version of myself 😉
      yes, i’ve done a few posts about it! where are you staying??

      • Coco on May 17, 2017 at 11:44 am

        I’ve booked a house at 3000 Chicago st. I guess close to the bay?

  43. Jennifer on May 17, 2017 at 7:09 am

    My cousin just moved near by and I figured I would bring them some food. Everytime I visit quickly she apologizes for the “mess.” What?! She has a 2 month old, a 2 and half year old, a dog, and they are redoing pretty much the entire house. Why do we always feel like we need to apologize for normality? I’m loving the podcast One Bad Mother, and they have the motto- You’re Doing A Good Job. I think it is the best. So Gina- you’re doing a good job.

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 11:16 am

      love that so much. thank you!!

  44. kelli @ hungry hobby on May 17, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Girl, I feel you. 100% feel you and I don’t even have kids yet…. Keep doing you, you’ve got an army of supporters behind you!

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 11:16 am

      thank you so much, lovely

  45. Sarah on May 17, 2017 at 7:39 am

    You are amazing Gina! Thanks for always keeping it real and encouraging all of us who read your blog!!!

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 8:38 am

      thank you so much for being here!

  46. Ashley on May 17, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! As a mom who works full time from home (administrative work) I usually feel like I’m dropping the ball on at least one category of my life. My house is always a mess and at the end of most days I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. The mom gig is no joke!

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 8:35 am

      amen to that. it’s a constant juggling act <3

  47. Lara on May 17, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I really needed this today. I have a 4 month old and have been back at work for 3 weeks and every day is a struggle. I feel spread so thin and I just want to be the best for her.
    Thank you.

  48. Andrea on May 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your feelings on this post! It was such a comfort to read it when I have been feeling my own feelings of mum guilt and slightly overwhelmed by the mounting to do tasks. I try my best to savour the small moments but life with a full time job, 17 month old and dog is tough, even with my wonderful husband. Your thoughts gave me a little lift knowing I am doing my best and not to worry so much

  49. Katie @ Live Half Full on May 17, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    We’re all in it together, Mama!

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      amen <3

  50. Erika S. on May 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Oh.em.gee…I don’t even have kids & can def relate! I’ve been feeling behind on life lately but have to remind myself that pep talks are needed. I saw a meme that said, ” Sometimes you just have to give yourself a pep talk. ‘Like hello you bad ass bitch. Don’t be sad. You’re doing great! Love you!'”

    I think it’s what we should all say to ourselves…hahaha!

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