Do you know any men with "daddy guilt"?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Do you know any men with "daddy guilt"?
45
Mon, 08-25-2008 - 6:13pm

Do you know any men in your life, DH or otherwise, who have expressed or display a male version of "mommy guilt"? Not just wanting to spend more time with the kids, but feeling extremely torn and even upset about not being there more for the kids. Or, men who wish they could SAH, but can't (for financial or societal reasons).


If you don't know any personally, do you think there's a significant contingent of men who do have this guilt? Or is it simply a female invention?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2008
My husband does feel bad that he cant spend more time with our children. It is very difficult for him. Well now that we have my sister in law who is 15 ( his sister) he feels even worse because he has to give her attention and our 3 children attention. He is constantly mentioning that he would love to take a year off from work so that he can take them to school and pick them up. And its even harder for him now because of his sister. He doesn't want to make her feel left out but he also wants to be with his kids only.

Psamls 23 banuelos

Psamls 23 banuelos

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2003
Tue, 09-09-2008 - 12:17am

I see this thread already has a load of responses...so I am going to give my initial response...and then read through!


Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
to me, it makes a lot of sense that women would would be more prone to feeling this guilt because of physiological reasons. we carry the child in our womb for a long period of time, go through labor to bring the child into the world and then (when we have the unselfish good sense and ability) nurture the child from our own bodies by breastfeeding. why wouldn't women be more prone to have an emotional response to separation and feel a responsibility to continue to nurture the child? do i think mommy guilt is real? yes. do i think its an invention? absolutely not. i think it's completely natural, and not
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2006

When my DH has those times that he is working 60-80 hour weeks and basically doesn't see the kids at all - yes, he has "daddy guilt".

2010 Siggy
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2003
Wed, 09-10-2008 - 11:09pm

eye roll right back at ya!

That must be it! Since my son was premature (so he was in my womb a shorter time than a full term baby), I had a C section (so my labor was short), and I didn't breastfeed, obviously I am less bonded and thus I feel less inherently-proper guilt about going to work. If only I hadn't had pre-eclampsia (thus the prematurity and the C section) and previous breast tumor surgery (thus the formula), I would have experienced the *true* motherhood pull, immediately recognized my well-deserved, as-nature-intended guilt, and stayed home.

Of course, the root of my problems probably stem from the fact that I am adopted, and thus I never had my *real* mother - you know, the womb-owning breast-milk supply chain - around to show me the right example.

I don't disagree with you that there are gender issues, and I myself observed in other threads that I react differently than my husband, expect different behaviors in response to certain situations from myself and other mothers versus fathers, and see real differences in how gender influences work-life balance. I just will not buy into the physiological-pregnancy hormones-mommy guilt link. There are real reasons why mothers in our society, and others, experience a different perspective about childcare, work, etc., but if you spend any time at all looking at research and norms across even other western, european-heritage societies, the modern US mother is a bit of an anomoly. I don't know any dads with 'dad guilt' - including my own husband - but I am certain that the difference has everything to do with societal pressure and only a miniscule amount to do with my chromosones versus his.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
you got me! my intention was to talk down to women who had bad birth experiences and pick on people who were adopted. i stand by what i said and you have not disproven it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2003

Hopefully the line where I fully admitted to being both sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek helped you to understand that I was, in fact, being sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek.

I then more seriously clarified that statements like these again'feel good' to people for whom they are closely held beliefs. I don't begrudge people their choices or their priorities. But I used hyperbole to counter your tying biological processes to whether or not it is more 'natural' for a mother to feel guilt about putting their child in daycare. I fully acknowledge that the female human body releases hormones in the post-partum period (~ 6 weeks) that increases a mother's natural desire to be close-by physically to her child. Further, yes, breastfeeding *can* (although not always, according to medical studies) prolong the time period where those hormones are at their highest. That said, to correlate that to 'mommy guilt' is just far-fetched. That would imply that mothers that did not give brith to their children are - as a group - less likely to feel guilt about their work/life situation. And, as a natural effect of the body's hormonal cycles, all of us mothers, regardless of our 'birth processes' should be rid of that guilt tendency by the time our children are weaned. So there's a very real reason why women who need to return to work quite 'early' are VERY emotionally distraught - it counters everything their brain and body is telling them. But it sure as heck has nothing to do about a mom of a preschooler feeling upset that she missed the Muffins with Mom at school, or me being worried about whether my kids would do better if they were at home after school doing homework *before* dinner, versus playing at after care and having homework *after* dinner.

There's a very serious physiological need in a woman's brain in the first weeks after birth to be near her child physically - it's a legitimate evolutionary change that makes perfect sense. I for one believe that all maternity leaves should be longer to allow all kinds of adjustment for families, including but not specifically only for those physiological adjustments. But it should be important to note that those physiological needs are **on the part of the mother**, vice the child. (A point I make that is unrelated to your statement --- I'm just anticipating someone else jumping in with some Darwinian rationale for SAH versus WOH).

Any extension of the physiological argument beyond somewhere in the 6 weeks to 6 months range just doesn't hold water.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Thu, 09-11-2008 - 11:54pm

No, I found your sarcasm too subtle and it went right over my pretty little head. Give me a break.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2008

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Because you say so?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2008

<<You are contradicting yourself here. It’s easy to feel that you are always right when you are constantly doing that. And it’s easy to overlook the fact that you are attempting to belittle people when you are constantly reminding yourself through text.>>


I agree. Other than Wen's feelings or emotions, I haven't seen any substantiation for the point, for example, that the divorce rate in the BB stems from the excessive households with a sahm. ;)