Tori Spelling: I Struggle with Guilt As a Working Mom

09/12/2011 at 09:00 AM ET

It didn’t take much to convince Tori Spelling that the grass was not necessarily greener on the other side of toddlerhood.

“I’m scared of screwing up my kids. I thought that once we were out of the baby stage, parenting would be a breeze,” the actress, 38, tells Parenting‘s October issue, which features her family dressed for Halloween.

“You just feel at every turn like, whoa, am I making the right decisions, setting the right boundaries?”

John Russo for Parenting

One of the greatest challenges Spelling finds herself facing is the constant guilt trip of managing motherhood with work commitments.

“There are days when I struggle with wanting to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom, and feeling guilty about that because I work,” she admits.ย “[One mom at school recently said,] ‘Oh, you never go to anything.’ That hit me really hard.”

Expecting her third child with Dean McDermott next month, Spelling — already mom to Liam Aaron, 4, and Stella Doreen, 3 — has also learned to juggle the role of stepmother to her husband’s son Jack, 12.

“I have a good relationship with my stepson, Jack,” she says. “The most important thing I learned was to make sure Jack knew I was never going to try to take his mom’s place or be his mother.”

Although her children are still young, Spelling finds herself thinking of their future — and hoping they avoid the same mistakes their mother, who once “held everything in emotionally,” made in her earlier years.

John Russo for Parenting

“I wasn’t truly comfortable with myself until I was about 30. I spent so much time and energy wondering if I wasn’t worthy, and trying to find people to validate me, instead of validating myself,” she shares.

“When I think of what my greatest wish for my kids is, it’s for them to know who they are, and be proud and confident, before 30.”

Now, with a strong sense of self, the reality star finds herself looking to only one person when it comes to parenting advice: herself.

“I don’t have many mommy role models … and I’m glad,” Spelling reveals.

“I used to be obsessed with what other moms would do, but listening to your maternal instincts is always the right decision.”

Click here for video from the Parenting photo shoot.

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: Maternity , News , Parenting

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Showing 91 comments

Eduarda on

omg that picture is so cute! I just wanna squeeze and kiss Liam! ๐Ÿ™‚ Loved Tori on Big Brother! She is an excellent mommy, can’t wait to see her little one.

Debbie on

I like her… she is coming into her own…. You need to make your own choices as a mother and if you love them more than life itself.. chances are you are making the right decesion, so trust yourself..
Good on you Tori!!!!!

FAB on

CUTE Photos!!!!… Love Liam’s expressions!

Kelly on

Tori I love you!!!!! You are hard working and a great mom!!!! Your family is adorable!!!! You are totally right about trusting your own instincts as a mom! No one knows your child better than you! I have a 5 year old daughter who is the light of my life & my husband & I see alot of different parenting styles out there but we just do what’s right for us:)

Sloanesmomma on


Ashley on

Really love Tori and her awesome books she’s written…she’s hilarious!

ecl on

It feels like women have to revel in their guilt. Like, “Don’t worry, I’m guilty that I work. I’m not a bad mom!” More women should take pride in their choices, working and stay at home moms alike. If you are happy with your choices, you shouldn’t have to give lip service to someone else’s hang-ups.

lac's mom on

ecl – that is a good comment. I work and I often feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty. I am so tired of the finger pointing and “great debate” to work or stay at home. Everyone is just doing what is best for their families. There is no one right way. Our families and our children are number one in our lives for all moms.

Sarah on

ECL, I agree, but if you comment here regularly, you see just how judgmental women can be towards each other. It’s constant catfighting and judging about anything and everything. I know we should all be above it, but it’s hard to get past so many women who are so unhappy with their own choices that they have to knock those of others.

Godiva on

I am not a mom YET. However, I do think that it is important to set a good example for your children and thus I think that it is important for a mom to do what she loves! For many women that is some form of work and I don’t think that they should apologize for that. It would be a terrible example for both sons and daughters to say that all a woman can be is a mother. It would be terribly limiting. Also, it is important to realize that one person can not do this alone. It is okay to ask for help.

Mom Of Twins on

I like this family.

Brittney on

Struggles with guilt of being a ‘working’ mom? I can’t even remember what it is that T does for a living. Does collecting royalties from 90210 take forty hours a week? Perhaps its cosmetic and spa treatments that keeps her from spending adequate time with her family.

kathy on

ok….did anyone see her tweet on Sat night that said that stella just told Liam that he should rub his wiener on her vagina just like daddy and mommy do? She thought it was too cute. I found it kind of diturbing. A 3 yr old should not know details like such. Proper names of body parts…yes, but not the other. She has since deleted it and never acknowledged that she was hacked. Check out her FB page around Sat evening. Read the comments and you’ll see what I am talking about and not makin git up…lol I am a fan of hers though and have been since 90210. I just hope that her a Dean watch their mouths around the kids better.

ELC on

Tori-You take it one day at a time and do what you feel is the right thing for you and your children. If you love your kids that’s the best job you can do. Those kids will just fly. They will know you are their for them and that’s what counts most.

boston on

I see nothing wrong with being a working mom or stay-at-home mom by choice. That said, when you work but are not dependent solely on your income (i.e. Tori), I think you should make an effort to be at your children’s school events and volunteer in their classes when you can. The comment that hurt about “never going to anything” (and he’s in preschool- you can’t get that cuteness back!) SHOULD hit home and should be an eye-opener.

youwishyoucould on

the only time she’s semi normal looking is when she’s pregnant…she’s got one of the most unfortunate faces in “Hollywood” (as IF she gets roles)

patty collums on

tori spelling, is beautiful, and her husband dean mcdeermott is very handsome. her children are beautiful, and what sich pretty names. liam aaron and stella doeeen. thay are a beautiful family.

Lisa on

I have no comment on working mom vs. stay at home mom becasue every mom has to do what’s best for her family. However, if she is worried about screwing up her kids, maaaaaaaybe she shouldn’t have bragged about cheating on her first husband with a married man in a published novel. Maybe??

cv on

The first mistake that she made was to steal a married father from his wife. Whatever choices she makes regarding her children should made with the mindset that her husband will most likely leave her one day for another woman. Once a cheater………….

I do wish her and the children well. I think hubby is a huge mooch.

Jesse on

I’m sorry but those kids nevre stood a chance, they are so NOT attractive or cute at all. And I’m one who always said there are no ugly babies… Well, I’ve been proven wrong.

And Dean looks like Slade Smiley from Real Housewives of Orange County. Both are creepy looking.

Lisa on

Her son was recently quoted as calling the paparazzi “b!tches”. I would say she should maybe have a few more boundaries for such a young child.

kirsty on

I agree Boston! There are plenty of working Moms in my daughters preschool class and they are at almost all the events and at drop offs in the morning!

Steph on

LOVE LOVE LOVE Tori! And her family. Home Sweet Hollywood is a guilty pleasure of mine. ๐Ÿ™‚

CaliMom on

I like her…and the pics are great. Tori, we all worry about screwing up our kids. Yours will be fine…just keep it real, with a sense of humor.

sue on

She’s rich, why does she have to work at all? There, no more guilt. Go back to work when they are in school full time. Wow celebs are stupid.

jennifer on

I love these pictures! So cute!

Lala on

Regarding the comments on her stealing a married man, his marriage was over. So how’s that stealing? I think she’s a good mom, and does everything she can for her children. But I agree with some of the comments – I think she and Dean need to watch their mouths and actions in front of their children. It may be fine for them, but I guarantee once their kids start school, it’ll be offensive to others.

Lisa on

@kathy I saw that tweet and was completely horrified. Clearly she is not setting any boundaries. I love 90210 and read her books, but that was too much for me.

Gigs on

I like her, but these pics are kitschy

kendrajoi on

She speaks the truth. I question if I’m doing the right thing with my son every day. AGONIZE over it sometimes.

The Stella quote about penis/vagina, really disturbing. Makes you wonder what the heck goes on in that house.

Gigs on

Cute kids!

margo on

In reply to Kathy I saw the tweet as it came through.Was very disturbed she would repeat this.I love Tori and family but this went too far.As a former preschool teacher for many years I know that kids this age have no knowledge of sex unless they are exposed.Someone is not watching their conversations or actions around these kids.Not the first time I have felt a bit uncomfortable hearing her tweet too personal info,for instance Liam’s comments about his “weiner”We know kids say inappropriate things sometimes but it would be best to keep it private and deal with it away from Twitter and hundreds of thousands of people.

Nancy on

I love her blog & the way she parents. I think they are great together!

Chris on

Give me a break. This woman has enough money for probably twenty “normal” families to retire on, and she thinks she HAS to work? Quit buying $1,000 pairs of shoes, dresses, and purses, and move into a smaller house. It’s called “downsizing.” She should try it.

And for the love of ALL things holy, I wish she would PLEASE stop whining. A lot of moms feel guilty because they HAVE to work; maybe Tori would want to trade places with one of them?

Anonymous on

she is very real. willing to admit her mistakes… parents, we all make them. god bless

kathy on

Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought that! I was expecting to get drilled and accused of sheltering my children….lol It was upsetting and I read another FB users comment on her post Sat and she said FB removed it because so many people reported it. It was a very dumb tweet and I hope she learned her lesson. Those kids could be on the road to destruction!

MOM2three on

I so don’t get her worry. Stay at home with them until they are in school. If you need money that is a different story, but they have plenty. Take a break and spend time with your kids. The definition of parent is self-LESS-ness!!! DER!

Bellais on

ahh no pity…i would feel guilty too .YOU DONT HAVE TO WORK! MAKE HIM GET A REAL JOB

Mrs JP on

Love Tori and Dean, they r such a cute couple and their kids r adorable.

My opinion is I think every parent thinks they may screw up their child but honestly, all you can do is give them love, support and be there for them. Show them right from wrong. Go day by day, that’s all you can ask for ๐Ÿ™‚

Good for Tori and Dean for doing such a great job!

AMK15 on

Okay so as for the people who are saying she does nothing: she owns a business. She plans parties and weddings. Anyone who doesn’t believe that is a job you’re insane. Also she is going through anything any other mom is going through. Just because she has money doesn’t mean she doesn’t have obligations she has to uphold.

Rob on

I thought she was expressing guilt about cheating on her first husband when she met Dean McDermott.

Jesse on

Maybe you should read up Lala, Dean and his ex wife were in the process of adopting a baby girl together when he went off to make a movie and met and “fell in love” with Tori. So NO the marriage was not over with. Who is going to adopt a child with someone they are no longer with. His ex did the smart thing and dumped his loser mooch ass and wound up adopting the baby girl as a single parent.

Tori and Dean are proof that money can not buy you looks or class.

gregbrady on

– kathy on September 12th, 2011

I find it disturbing that you would go to all the trouble to write this!

Sue on

For years, I didn’t think much of Tori Spelling, but as I’ve watched the way she focuses on being a good mom, I’ve totally come around.

I think she’s doing a great job with her kids, and appears to have one of the more healthy and stable marriages in Hollywood. Good for her!

And that photo of the four of them is just adorable!

edna on

In reply to Lala, no his marriage wasn’t over. He and his wife were in the process of adopting a baby girl. He went home one weekend while making a movie with Tori.

After he kept beating around the bush, she finally got him to spit out what he came to tell her, he was in โ€œloveโ€ with another Woman. He told her Tori was his sole mate, she loved him unconditionally. His Wife said what conditions, sheโ€™s only known you 5 weeks! She finished the adoption as a single parent. Dean may be nice, but he always looks like a deer in the headlights. Like someone just goosed him.

Anne on

They work hard for their kids…

jackie on

I am a working mother too and i have this guilt too, but I think Tori is doing a great job and is a great mother.

Jess on

they do work. they have the inn and they do fairytale weddings….she is not the only mother to work. Maybe she just feels like she would be bored by not working. And kids do watch tv and probably have friends. Maybe they got that phrase from tv or friends…..i admit she shouldn’t have retweeted it.

Tracy on

Love you Tori! Don’t worry so much, everything will be fine. Your kids are adorable. You all look fabulous.

Jennifer on

I like Tori but I had to unfollow her twitter. It seems to be that twitter is the death of the celebrity.

And Dean is just shady all around.

Kate on

“I struggle with guilt my fat A” what I dont understandis why you and your “under the thumb” husband keep getting television shows which are garbage.

Linda on

Tori, Don’t listen to negative comments. You are a beautiful women and your kids are cuties. People are cruel because they are jealous. You have what most people dream about. Your smart, talented and driven. I love your show and can’t wait for the new season.

Stacy on

hahaha.. she acts like it’s so tough.. she’s a millionaire and probably has a nanny.. try to talk to a woman who is a working, single mother and still has time to go to her kids’ events at school! I don’t pity her at all..

Guest on

I NEVER liked Tori. I am of the generation that 90210 was the SHOW to watch EVERY week, (I stopped watching it in 1996) I did not like her then and DO not like her now. Everyone knows that she has a TEAM of people who watch her kids, she keeps say that she is an “Hands-on mom” please, her kids r being raised just like she was w/ a Nanny and only being shown w/ her kids when their are cameras around. I agree with the above that Dean is a moch.

Cindy on

Dean & Tori and Eddie and LeAnn….what do they all have in common?
Men who cheat on their wives for Rich Young innocent women who will support them and hopefully help them land a career in Hollywood!! Once a cheater always a cheater…what goes around comes around….:) Never heard of Dean or Eddie until they cheated and got with Tori and LeAnn….need I say more.

Stephanie on

Oh please like she has to work. Both of my parents worked when I was growing up but my mom made sure she was a “room mother” and offered to help with every class function. And I think I am better for it. I know the value of hard work and I knew ever sacrifice was because they love me. So Tori can keep her “guilt”. I’m sure her kids will grow up just as entitled as all Hollywood offspring.

What she should feel guilty for is cheating on husband one with a married man.

Jaime on

Wow, I thought the headline pertaining to guilt was the guilt that Dean was someone else’s husband when she met him. I get it, it is guilt over being a working Mom. Yay to working moms !!!!

Tiff on

Everyone should do what is best for their family, whatever that may be! I am a SAHM for now becuase that is my choice. However, when my children are older and don’t need me as much, then I will take that next step in my life.

I like Tori, I think she is a really good mom.

HP on

She SHOULD feel guilty.
She stole a married man from his family.
They really disturb me.

Justlise on

Love Tori, can’t stand that Dean. I don’t like the look of him and I think he is a gold digger. (thats not nice) She is a wonderful mom and although she was born into money, she has had great work ethic and has alot of motivation. Keep up the good work Tori, and don’t listen to the haters. (Sorry about he comment about Dean)

Erin on

Her twitter post sayin STELLA WANTS TO RUB LIAMS WEINER ON HER VAGINA LIKE MOMMY AND DADDY……..oh yea fine PARENTING SKILLS there How in the world would these two babies know this???? For you doubters I have it screen capped I can prove it.

Tee on

Hmm… I could take or leave Tori Spelling. I actually gained more respect for her after reading one of her books. (I have only read the Mommywood one.) It gave me a bit of insight into her childhood and helped me understand why she does some things the way she does. I didn’t and don’t agree with certain things but at least I understood her better.

I don’t follow twitter, so I didn’t know about what Stella said until reading the comments here. I’m just going to be honest, I am downright horrified! I am really wondering now what in the heck goes on in that house. I understand and appreciate being honest with your kids. But if a three year old is talking about “rubbing together wieners and vaginas like Momma and Daddy?” That says something isn’t quite right in that house. And even if Stella said that, Tori should NOT have tweeted it. I don’t know, that shows a serious lack of social graces and boundaries. I’m hoping she just thought it was a cute little story and didn’t think about how it would come across.

Karen on

Tori: You think 30 is freeing, wait until 40! You forgive yourself for not being perfect. You don’t care about keeping up appearances. I’m a stay-at-home mom and I have guilt, too. What is it about us moms and guilt??

lmstate on

What ever the rest of her life is like…one thing I’ve learned from being in the school system is that children whose parents are involved do better in school. Even if it’s not all that often – it makes a world of difference.

Me on

Having children is not just about knowing how make babies…you are a mom, a leader, and smart. Be a mom, lead, and stay smart…key word lead…and most of all…HAVE FUN! You have the most cutest kids!

Me on

ps, I worked 6 days a week…

Lady on

Seriousssssssly people, we know the story, is it really necessary to bring it up in every single post?! GET OVER IT!!!

I love this family, they have so much personality. She’s always tweeting pictures from her kids classes/events so it seems like she’s very involved. I think they will have another boy!

JillZ on

I don’t follow twitter and I have no idea what goes inside ANYONE’s home, but something that came to my mind regarding Stella’s comment is that Tori’s kids are at that age where they ask where babies come from – especially with Tori actually being pregnant and they know a baby is being made – that the rubbing together might have been the explanation that they gave as to how the baby was made. It’s being honest with them (not the ridiculous “stork”) without getting into the actual process. I can see this being how Liam and Stella came to learn about babies and thinking – INNOCENTLY – that this is something they could do, too. Which is probably why Tori thought it was cute, and not inappropriate like some people are reading into it.

LP on

Seriously, she should not have put the comment out for public display, but come on people, kids watch parents all the time, often without the parent knowing. I don’t think they should be slammed because their children saw them doing something natural and made some remark about it. Why does everyone have to twist it into something sick? I feel sorry for those of you that think it is wrong to teach your children about the human body (at any age)it is a beautiful thing.

Stacey on

I love the picture! Stella and Liam are ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!

kathy on

@ Jillz…I don’t care how innocent…some things are meant to stay within the home! My kids are 4, 6, and 8 and know body parts and where babies come from. I included them in the pregnancies and all. I only told them what they wanted to know in age appropriate terms. Have you watched the show….Dean is an idiot and sensors nothing! I’m guessing he made a snide remark in front of the kids…he always does. Whether it’s for the cameras or not, he still does it. For a 3 yr old…she knows too much! You explanation makes no sense to me. Like I said, I like her, but there is no doubt that she had a brain cramp during this. And it certainly shouldn’t have been posted on FB or Twitter! I am pretty open minded when it comes to these thing. I get kids say the darndest things, but c’mon…really??

margo on

To JillZ I don’t think your explanation is very credible.I know of no mother who would explain making a baby to a 3 yr old and a 4 yr old in such graphic terms.If they did, that I feel is inappropriate also.I am not trying to bash Tori&Dean.I have watched their programs and admired their business sense and work ethic.The parenting in this case I would say needs some adjustment.I am not privy to what goes on in their home,I just hope they are reading these comments and taking them for what they are …constructive criticism.

Ali on

When is she due?

JillZ on

@Kathy: I don’t watch the show. I was only offering a possible explanation and a different perspective. These posts are exactly what this article is about – our choices are our choices, we all have the right to make them, we hope that they will be the best for our children, and we do this while dealing with the guilt and anxiety that comes along with wanting our kids to come through childhood as unscathed as possible. All parents know they are going to make mistakes. I’m sure when your children are older they will have a laundry list of things they thought you did wrong despite your best efforts. It’s inevitable.

BTW, the fact that you say “I’m guessing that he (Dean) made a snide remark” just shows that you don’t know what actually happened and why the kids have the info they do. You have your opinion and I am entitled to mine. Please keep this in mind.

Marky on

Bitter, hateful people never stop commenting about Angie and Brad, as if there were 8 kids with Jen, and they had not been having troubles and been separated for months, if not a year. It seems as if everyone just adores Tori and her family, regardless of the fact that that Dean was living with his wife and adopting a child when he met Tori. I don’t think these people are horrid, but I can’t see why so many keep saying they “love this family!” Maybe I’m just missing something…..

Monika on

I was hoping to read that she felt a little “remorse” for breaking up a family with a small child. Or how would she like a young girl come and break up her family? For her children’s sake I do hope that will never happen (but as they say; once a cheater always a cheater). & if she feels so bad to be a working mom or that she is “messing up her kids” why have a third one?? & why oh why do I even bother to write about “another poor little rich kid”. Remember when she cried in media how poor she is, have you seen her house lately? I’m just saying….

Mama C on

Guilt? Really???? Try being a mother who HAS to work! I have absolutely NO sympathy for a wealthy celebrity who has the luxury of putting their “career” on hold for their children, but refuses to do so!

Helen on

Maybe she should struggle with the guilt of stealing someone elses husband!

shelly on

Tori as far as teaching and raising your children from someone who grew up in a disfunctional family you have had a good example of what not to do and what not to be. Just do the opposite and you and children will be fine. From a Mom who is reaping her rewards with one grown Child,and working on the 2nd .

JillZ on

@Margo – my explanation was just a theory. I didn’t say that’s how I would explain it or most people would. It just seemed like, given how open they are, that it might be something they would say. I wasn’t judging whether I thought it was right or wrong.

Flipper on

oh my gosh that comment on twitter is disturbing and she is lucky child Protective services has not made a visit, as for her commitments Tori is filthy rich and doesnt need to work at all or very little she SHOULD be spending more time with her kids but money is the root of all evil

Amy on

Why do people still bring up how her and Dean got together? She had a lapse in judgment and didn’t do a very nice thing. Should she have to hear about it until she dies? We all make mistakes and do some not very nice things. They created a beautiful family together and I see them being together for years. As to working mom vs stay at home mom, I see it that if you can you should stay home with your kids. They way I see it is that no one else in the world is gonna care for your children like you can or have as much joy doing it. I’m very blessed that I’m able to stay at home. I know some families can’t afford for the mom to stay home and I don’t think the mom’s in that situation should feel badly about it. We all do what we need to do for our families and that is what matters.

I thnk we as mothers need to be extra supportive of each other and know that we are all on this journey together, we will hit bumps in the road, might make a mistake or 2, but the main thing is that we love our children and will do anything for them! โค

Amy on

@kathy she has since deleted that post. it was gone the next day. did you ever think that she didn’t post it herself? even if she did post it she did not say it was cute, she said growing up too fast. it is ridiculous for people to make assumptions not really knowing anything about the situation and if it even happened. i could go on but i’ve said enough!

Aimee Nicole on

Whenever you all are PERFECT I think then you can judge someone else! The only one that has the right to judge is God, so get off your thrones!

dawn on

Good Moms come in all sizes, shapes and different levels of time alotted to outside the home interests/responsibilities. But going to your kid’s school functions is important. When juggeling work and raising a family sometimes something has to give, just make sure it’s not the kids – or at least not every time.

ecl on

I agree with JillZ. That’s the explanation I immediately assumed. Just a funny, and innocent, story. She just made the mistake of sharing it with a massively judgmental and uptight world.

Jillian on

The more she “speaks” the more I dislike her. The twitter story makes me ill. There is nothing funny about it, no matter how I look it. And if someone else posted it for her, then that is just as bad. Her life is a public life, so people get to talk about her. That is the life she chose and continues to chose by having a reality tv show. She clearly doesn’t care because she keeps doing the show. The actions of how she and Dean came to get together are not ideal. Her actions surrounding the car accident, were not ideal. I feel that she is all out for attention and does it at every cost. Does she need to work to keep her lifestyle…..sure? Does she feel bad about it…..maybe? There are so many things in this article that are eh. I just can’t connect with her. I don’t fine her funny, warm, or someoneone I can connect with.

AimeeNicole, I can state my opinions of her and anyone. I don’t need to be perfect or your god to do so. If Tori or anyone doesn’t like it, then they should remove themselves out of the public. But, until they do, this is what will happen. If it didn’t…….they wouldn’t have a job and would have no money. And just a heads up, you are passing judgement of all of us, so under your theory, “you must be perfect.”

Toya L. on

That is a nice picture even with creepy eyed Dean in it. Yawn I’ve never seen a picture of Tori holding a gun to Dean’s head, how did she steal him? Tori Spelling is what OW #200? and the one that he finally left his wife for? These two cheaters deserve each other! Good luck to them and their family.

Rachael on

I’m still trying to figure out what “work” they do… So many of celebrities should really have to go out into the real world and work 40-50+ hours a week doing manual labor and then come home to a family that needs dinner on the table, help with homework, baths and don’t forget cleaning the house before you get a few hours sleep.

Granted, she may do all that, but I really doubt it.

I wish her well, and agree with the others that Dean is creepy, and seems that way in almost all the pics taken.

Shelley on

I’m with Rachel 100%, I don’t understand what “work” she is referring to. I’m not trying to be mean, I just genuinely don’t understand what it is she does that apparently takes up so much of her time. I’m sorry but I work full time from home (transcription) while simultaneously being a mom to two, keeping the house clean, making dinner, doing the school pickups, etc. with no nannies or babysitters and I don’t go around whining about how bad I feel. It’s articles like this that are an affront to those of us who work hard doing what has to be done.

pep on

she works? doing what ? last thing i ever saw her in was 90210 .. hey that is the only thing i have ever seen her in …