Savannah Guthrie feels “sick inside” when she’s not with her kids

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Happy Mother’s Day, CB moms. If I don’t get a chance to say it tomorrow, I’ll say it now because that’s the inspiration for this post. (If I do get a chance to say it tomorrow, I’ll do it in a different language or something.) Anyway, in honor of Mothers’ Day, which is on Sunday in the US, People rounded up all the Today’s resident moms for their latest Mom Talk video. So Savannah Guthrie, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jenna Bush Hager, Dylan Dreyer, Sheinelle Jones and newest mom club member, Hoda Kotb, were sent out to a picnic table where, instead of eating the lovely spread, they lamented that they should be home with their kids instead. Except for Hoda and Kathie Lee who were all, “Nope! Pass the wine.” But not Today co-anchor Savannah. Savannah has two kids, aged two years and five months, and although she spends all her free time with her family, she cannot cope with the guilt of being away from them while she is at work. Her mom guilt is so bad, she said, it makes her sick.

“I have terrible mom guilt,” admits Guthrie, 45, who is mom to daughter Vale, 2, and son Charles Max, 5 months. “It is so real. I’m hardly ever away from my kids. I mean, hardly ever. I feel sick inside when I’m not with them — I really do feel almost physically ill.”

“Is it because you miss them so much? Or you feel like you’re letting them down somehow?” asks Gifford, 63, who is mom to son Cody, 27, and daughter Cassidy, 23.

“All of the above,” says Guthrie. “I miss them, I feel I’m letting them down. Even if I’m with them all day, all weekend long, and I want to go take a bath or something — I feel bad if they’re in the other side of the apartment.”

“I’m telling you, I have it bad,” she adds. “Mom guilt is real.”

Bush Hager, 35, mom to daughters Mila, 4, and Poppy, 20 months, says she can completely relate — in fact, she recently missed her elder daughter’s art show because of work commitments.

“My flight was delayed,” she explains. “Mila said, ‘But Mommy, you weren’t there.’ … Mila went by herself without a parent, and that was the worst, really the worst I’ve ever felt — when she went, ‘Where were you?’ ”

The one new mom who doesn’t let the guilt get to her? Kotb, 52, who recently surprised the world by adopting daughter Haley Joy, 12 weeks.

“I go to work and I sort of feel like I miss Haley, but I don’t ache,” she says. “I remember my mom going to work and saying, ‘I love you and I’m going to work, and when I come home I’m going to love you here.’ ”

“[My parents] missed things, but it didn’t scar me — I knew they loved me,” she adds. “I also knew they loved what they did. We are all workers in a way — we love what we do.”

[From People]

Later in the video, Jenna said that Kathie Lee’s daughter said that her mom was always there throughout their childhood. Kathie Lee said that’s how they remember it, but it wasn’t true – she had her career and other interests that took her away from time to time. Be present when you are there, that’s what matters. However, then there are those times like Jenna described when poor little Mila had to go to her art show all by herself. Even I felt guilty on Jenna’s behalf. These stories will happen too. And although we will remember them to our grave, we’ll likely have to retell them to our kids who will still shrug and shake their heads. Parents are their own worst enemies.

But poor Savannah sounds tortured. She said that she’d just been in Washington and FaceTimed with her kids “like 18 times” while she was there. Sheinelle said that coming to work and finding out that everyone else had mom guilt helped her with hers. So it’s good that it’s being discussed because parents need to hear how wide spread this feeling is. I hope Savannah can find a balance that lets her take a bath without wanting to vomit. Maybe it’s because her son is so young but I’m sure her children are in very caring hands, even when she’s not there. Like Sheinelle said at one point, “they’re being enriched, right now, somewhere.” Beside, if Savannah was home all the time, who would watch Matt Lauer and Al Roker?

And please, Today Moms, don’t let all that lovely food go to waste – mangia!

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Photo credit: WENN Photos and Getty Images

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55 Responses to “Savannah Guthrie feels “sick inside” when she’s not with her kids”

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  1. MostlyMegan says:

    I think we need to work harder to create a society that allows women to have a career without sacrificing time with the children (if that’s what we want). It seems that our advancement of feminism has wrenched women into the male model of working, which means sacrifice that so many women find painful. We can split the atom and map the human genome, surely we can find a better way to forge forward as women that allow us to have the ultimate fulfilment of motherhood AND career. And no, it’s not unrealistic or greedy to want it all.

    • Pedro45 says:

      Our “advancement of feminism” (such as it is) is NOT to blame. True feminism is equality which would mean equal pay, equal opportunities in the workplace, equal sharing of childcare, affordable childcare. It also means the right to birth control and abortion so that women only need to have the children the want and can afford.

      • MostlyMegan says:

        I don’t disagree with you. I just wonder if we can’t come with with a better model, rather than adopting the traditional male example of what a successful career looks like, and what it requires, in terms of daily structure etc. Yes to equal sharing of childcare etc but if women still feel that wrench that comes from being separated from their children, I don’t think we can call that a win.

      • QueenB says:

        I dont see where MostlyMegan is wrong. Feminism has only opened up male roles for women and not created new ones. Its still work until you fall over and die. And most people work to live and not live to work.

        Its a good point and something that with more and more robots in the work place we will have to adress.
        Its also something that will hit men first because they do most of the work that will get replaced by machines.

      • Lee1 says:

        It’s also about social services and support! It’s about maternity and paternity leave and subsidized daycare and other family subsidies that allow parents the option of choosing to stay home if they want or the option of paying for child care if they want to return! Those are feminist concepts too!

        I live in Canada, more specifically Quebec. When my daughter was born I received a FULL YEAR of paid maternity leave and my spouse got 5 weeks paid parental leave as well. We also had the choice of splitting my maternity leave benefits and trading off part way through if that had worked better for our family. Daycare here only costs us about 9$ a day and we receive other tax-free family subsidies based on income. We are very much middle income earners. These subsidies are paid to all families (amount is based on income) up to around 185k-250k total family income depending on how many kids and of what ages. All of this together means that I felt a lot less guilt when I returned to work because we had already had so much time together and she wasn’t a tiny newborn infant being left in someone else’s care. It also allows me to work 4 days a week because the subsidies help offset the loss of income, so I am able to have more time with my daughter every week. It also means we can afford more classes, lessons and activities as a family on the weekends. For another family, the subsidies would more easily allow them to live on a single income if one of the parents chose to stay home with the kids.

        If you look outside of the US, there are plenty of countries that have similar programs that allow more choice, more security and more flexibility for mothers and families. There are ways to do that without completely throwing out the old model of what it looks like to work or that allow families to choose other options if they DO want to throw out that model. And plenty of those countries are more overtly feminist as a society, so I disagree that feminism as a concept is to blame for this situation.

    • slowsnow says:

      @MostlyMegan, so agree with you.
      I LOVE my work, and I am, by all accounts, a workoholic. But I love my children and my family and my other interests in life.
      I have been thinking a lot about this: “allowing” women to work is not enough, equal pay and equal sharing of childcare is not enough. We need to rethink our work and private life patterns. There was an article in the Guardian about a movement for a three day week-end and I’m all for it. As much as I love my work, I feel drained and tired most of the time because I am juggling a 7 work week – I am expected to work all the time as I don’t have a regular-hour job. With internet, email, easy access to remote parts of the globe has increased the work load but also our own expectations re: productivity. We’re in a very dangerous intensification of the work load, with less emtional time for family but also other areas of our life that don’t concern work.
      So there is a lot to think about and if parenthood are the ways to do it, fine. I think it concerns anyone who has other goals in life such as travelling, learning a skill, folliwng music or whatever, not only families.

      • QueenB says:

        “allowing” women to work is also simply wrong. In most cases women HAVE to work. Its not a choice a woman acutally makes (of course there are exceptions). Its a necessity. And thats not freedom.

      • slowsnow says:

        @QueenB.
        Yes. I’m lucky enough to have a job I like. But most women do not like their job and do not have a choice to either have a job they like or just not work at all.
        Women were accepted in the workplace because they are needed.
        But rather than review the way we work and the time allotted to work and to free time, in proportion to what we earn, women are seen as one more person to exploit and work to the bone in most cases. As are certain men too.

      • Wilma says:

        Yup, what QueenB says. I need to work fulltime. No choice in that. And everytime I have to pry my daughter’s hands loose from hanging on to my legs when I go to work, I die a little inside. Rationally I know that she will forget this and that as she gets more independant things will balance out, but it all has very little to do with choice and freedom.

    • QueenB says:

      Most western feminists have trouble accepting that feminism and capitalism wont work together. Its by definition source of inequality.
      We are now also seeing feminism being completly captured by huge corporations (and celebs ofc) to make money. This Feel Good Feminism that actually exploits women in the third world.That tells us consumption sets us free.

  2. astrid says:

    Oh please. If these women really wanted to stay home with their kids they can. Plenty of women with kids work without guilt, there’s no shame in not having guilt.

    • Alleycat says:

      Yeah, I have to agree. It’s ok to feel guilt, obviously, but this sounds ridiculous. I grew up with both parents working full time jobs with a lot of overtime. I never resented them for not always being attached at my hip.

    • Snowflake says:

      You always read about moms feeling bad about leaving their kids. But you don’t hear that from men, do they not feel that way it is culturally unacceptable for them to admit to it?

    • detritus says:

      Sometimes I feel like there is a I Love My Kids the Most Olympics.
      Everyone has to say how much they miss their kids, and how they can’t enjoy life without them, etc and it almost becomes a competition.

      It doesn’t seem healthy to me. Your kids can’t be your everything, because they will leave you at some point. There is a healthy balance and I’m uncomfortable with how we are posing this level of mom guilt as normal. it’s normal in the sense that other people feel it, but it isn’t a healthy response.

      • Lee1 says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more.

      • Sixer says:

        I find it narcissistic and attention-seeking, to be honest. If the kid’s ok, it’s ok. I love my kids more than life itself. But I’ve never felt sick if I wasn’t in their bloody presence.

      • detritus says:

        it scares me that some people so internalize that their only purpose is as a parent.
        It puts so much pressure on them, on the child, and it makes everyone unhappy.

        @ Sixer, yes! there is this weird narcissism involved with it. Like we are supposed to be praising this type of neurosis. Yes there is power in sharing, and recognizing you aren’t alone, but glorifying it is another thing.

      • Sixer says:

        detritus – also, how on earth is it good FOR THE KIDS? I mean, we all love our kids. We all miss them a bit if we’re not around. We all have other interests than our kids, whether we’re market economy actors or not. Mothers and fathers. This is normal! But when someone goes on and on in a histrionic manner like this – it’s not about the kids. It’s about a fragile self-constructed identity and projecting the needs of that identity onto kids. As you say – NOT HEALTHY.

      • Slowsnow says:

        @detritus @sixer The love marathon is almost as unhealthy for the mum as it is for the kids…

      • I'm With The Band says:

        Parenting has definitely become a pissing competition in so many regards. My child means the absolute world to me and I will never love anyone like I love him. But gosh darn it, having some time to myself occasionally is everything plus a bag of chips to me. Oh, how I crave it some days.

  3. Menutia says:

    That’s how I felt. I literally felt panic. I cashed in my 401k and my savings, and got a night time work from home job. It’s hard. We’re broke. We now have debt we wouldn’t have had. It’s stressful. But I dont regret it. I quit when she was 1 and then had 2 more. It is a daily struggle to keep ok financially and we don’t take vacations and I see up holes in our socks. But I know soon they’ll all be in school and I’ll work until I die, probably, because I have no savings now, but I won’t regret being with my babies.

  4. LizLemonGotMarried says:

    I feel no guilt most days, honestly. I skipped off to work 12 weeks after my son was born (my husband stayed home another 12 weeks or so which made it much easier than leaving him in daycare). I never for one day questioned if I was meant to work, and I currently double my hubby’s income, so it’s going to continue this way. I love what I do (Director at a Fortune 50) and you will pry my job from my cold dead fingers.
    That being said, if I felt like Savannah Guthrie, I would move mountains to make changes. How can you continue your life that way? I know for some women there are no other options. However, she defines privilege. There is no need to make yourself that miserable for a job. that sounds like hell.

    • suze says:

      Exactly. She sounds tortured. If I felt that way, I would move heven and earth to make changes.

      • sunshine gold says:

        She makes millions of dollars, her husband also has a seemingly successful job. She could quit and be a SAHM. Life is too short to feel the way she does. It sounds miserable. Especially considering she has one of the cushiest jobs in broadcasting.

  5. Anon says:

    Both of my parents worked full time my entire childhood and I never felt upset about it. It was just the way it was. I get missing your kids, but this lady needs to get a grip. It’s probably good for her kids to learn to be a little independent early anyway.

  6. Patricia says:

    I have a milder version of this. I am a stay at home mom to my toddler son (and a new baby coming next month!). I value my adult time away from him, but I do get a kind of sick feeling when I’m away too long.
    One night, ok that’s a nice getaway. But if I do two nights away (which I’ve only done twice), I feel absolutely nauseous and anxious and just can’t wait to get back to my boy!

    • HappyMom says:

      Yes-her kids are really young so I get that she hates leaving them. As they older I found it really easy to get away.

  7. Kat says:

    Savannah sounds hysterical. Guilty about taking a bath? If I had that much emotional turmoil I would seek professional help. This woman is beyond privileged, surely she could stop working if she desired. Or is she saying these things because she feels she has to? Like, she’s not allowed to say she loves working and her children?

    • Wren33 says:

      I think we do her a disservice by doubting her own words. She is allowed to feel that way, and some women do.

    • HadToChangeMyName says:

      That was my reaction as well; suck it up, lady! But maybe that’s why she feels so guilty? ‘Cause she knows that she could walk away from it all if she wanted to, and actually doesn’t want to. She enjoys her job, so she’s torn.

      • DTrain says:

        I agree with your second point. I feel this way sometimes and I feel really guilty about it. I love what I do and I love my children and sometimes I feel like I should give up more of my work…which makes me then feel like I am giving up part of myself. It is a twisted cycle and motherhood is hard!

    • sunshine gold says:

      I agree. The bath thing doesn’t sound normal.

  8. Delta Juliet says:

    I felt like that when my boys were young but staying home wasn’t an option so I dealt with it. My boys are 7 and 14 now, and honestly they are well-adjusted, respectful, good in school, good in sports, lots of friends, so I’m thinking things are working for us. I do get upset when I can’t make a school event but I do my best (I don’t miss much….I use vacation time or personal time when I have to). If she’s THAT miserable, seriously take a year or two off. They can afford it.

  9. Barbcat says:

    I work at home and homeschool my two kids. Sure, we don’t have as much money, but I have no regrets and love being able to raise my own kids. We can do whatever we want together at a drop of a hat. Biologically/emotionally we will never be equal with men in the workplace if we have kids, and I fine with that.

    My kids are only going to be home for a short time before they go to college, and I am so happy I am not missing a thing. But when they move away I will be perfectly happy to work outside of the home once again. That is feminism, being able to live your life the way you want to! And yes, I am living my dream.

    • Jamie says:

      “Biologically/emotionally we will never be equal with men in the workplace if we have kids, and I fine with that.” I have kids and I’m pretty sure I’m equal with the men I work with. It’s great you are being supported by your husband, I assume, but some of us actually have to make a living to support our kids. Like, you know, men do.

  10. Goldengirllover34 says:

    I think every woman is different. I have twins who are almost two and rarely feel mom guilt despite being an attorney and at times having to work late. I feel that my husband and I work really well together to create a balance for both of us. I drop them off (which always entails one of them falling out like big mama at the funeral) and rush to work so I can hustle and get home around 6:30 and spend time with them. I try to take long weekends when I can and make it family fun the entire weekend. Thats so exhausting and I find myself looking forward to work where it’s quiet and I have some me time (e.g. I can drink my coffee while it’s still hot). However there are those few things I have to miss. Tomorrow I am missing the Mother’s Day tea and I’m so upset. The daycare didn’t tell us until the beginning of the month and I had a meeting scheduled for three months! I know they won’t remember but it still hurts. However my husband is a teacher and reminds me that he has to miss everything and no one even thinks that it bothers him but it does as a dad. At least I get to go to some of the events. This knocked some sense into me because he was right. No one every asks the dad about his feelings when he misses stuff and my husband is definitely more present than me bc of my work schedule.

  11. Wren33 says:

    The one thing I have learned with myself and my friends is you never know how you will react. I didn’t have as overwhelming guilt and inability to go away as some friends, but I always wasn’t totally ready to jump back full-time after a month as some others. I do think there is something primal when your baby is young, especially younger than 6 months. They are so helpless and fragile that it can be hard to be away. I work from home and had a nanny take care of the kids when they were babies so I wasn’t physically far away. Best of both worlds, but a rare opportunity in today’s work world.

    • Malificent says:

      I think especially when they are tiny it is hard. You are a much bigger part of their world when they are little. I cried for the whole first month I went back to work when my son was 3 months old — it felt like an amputation. And he was with Grandma that first month.

      But later, it’s good for them to have a village. I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful in-home daycare provider. As an only child, it was great for my son to be with the other kids. And I knew that he was safe and well-cared for and loved when I wasn’t with him. Years later, we still keep in touch with our daycare lady, and my son is still friends with his 3 agemates from daycare. If I hadn’t been able to find somewhere I trusted to care for my son, my experience might have been very different.

  12. Shannon says:

    Yeah … I don’t really do mom guilt anymore, at least not as bad as I used to. I get twinges now and then (just last night I was thinking I’m a horrible mom for not living closer to my 22-year-old and seeing him more, but he picked where to go to college). As I’ve gotten older, I’ll be 41 in a couple of weeks, I’ve mellowed out. You do the best you can with juggling and usually, as long as they’re loved and know it, you’ll be alright.

  13. jenB says:

    Sometimes I feel sick inside when I’m with my kids-mainly when they’re screaming at each other. Just wait until they get old enough to argue together Savannah! LOL

    • my3cents says:

      Ha ha , so true……
      Sometimes I sit there at work, and just soak in the peace and quiet- I know that when I get home it will be chaos….and think to myself off to the second shift- the hard one..

  14. homeslice says:

    I stay at home and I still have guilt, so there is no win, IMO. I just think we all need support moms in whatever they need…stick together. There is so much truth in the relief we feel when we talk to one another.

    • HappyMom says:

      I feel some guilt that I didn’t work outside of the home because I don’t think it set the best example to my daugher, tbh.

  15. Tanya says:

    Maybe it’s because my mom is a narcissist, but this totally creeped me out. It’s not healthy to make your kids responsible for your happiness.

    • Kat says:

      Such an interesting perspective. I never thought of it like that, but I agree. Children need space

  16. Dvradventures says:

    My kids love that I work and are proud of what I do (I’m a nurse). They all want to be nurses! I think it sets a great example to both daughters and sons.

  17. HappyMom says:

    She’ll have a lot more time at home with her kids when Megyn Kelly steals her job.

  18. meh says:

    Why does a 4 year old have an art show

    • Keaton says:

      LOL That is what struck me too. WTF at a 4 year old having an art show. I mean, I guess it’s kinda cute but geez people go a little far with the kiddos nowadays. JMO obviously.

  19. Luci Lu says:

    It won’t be long before she’ll be feeling much better, and spending more time with her children than she ever dreamed of…..right Megan Kelly from Fox News swoops in and takes that “Today Job” right out from under her mothering ass.

  20. Christina says:

    I think it is a pretty strange discussion. That a household with two working parents is something special to be mentioned is really irritating. Where I come from this is normal. I get that you can miss your kids a lot when away, but why would you feel guilty? The money you earn is in big parts for their future. Why should men only provide for that? And from the kid’s perspective I think after they are out of the complete dependent babyphase they contribute from being with other people. A mother who is constantly around or checking on me is something i would hate. Children need to breathe and become people too. They don’t need Mommy to be there to watch their every move.