Working Moms

How do you make peace with your decisions and stop feeling guilty?

When I came back to work after maternity leave, I had two options. I don't want to work more than 3 days a week, so I could do 3 12 hour shifts at a clinic that I like a lot (and where I already worked for 3 years prior to my leave) or I could switch to 3 10 hour shifts at a clinic that I dont really like that much. The 10 hour days would come with a significant pay cut (approx $60 K) a year. In addition, DH works for the same group and for me to get the 3 10 hour shifts clinic, he would have had to come take over at my clinic (which he hates). Anyway, long story short, I told the powers that be today that I want to stay at my current clinic with my 12 hour shifts. I thought I would be relieved, but instead I feel incredibly guilty-- like I sold my daughter out for the extra money and the job that I preferred...the thing is, she will be picked up at 6 on the days I work until 8 by my DH, so it isn't like I will be keeping her away from us any longer by doing these shifts (and she is being kept by MIL anyway) AND she is already starting to move her bedtime up, so I'm not sure how much extra time I would get with her if I did the 10 hour shifts anyway. Anyhow, that is a lot of rambling to ask, how do you all make peace with your decisions and how do you keep from feeling guilty for being away from your kid/s?
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Re: How do you make peace with your decisions and stop feeling guilty?

  • I don't think you sold your daughter out for extra money. At all. In fact, I think what you did is very admirable.  By making more money (significant amount of money) you are allowing yourself to provide more for her. 

    Not only that, but you are only working 3 days a week, so you will still have a good 4 days off with her. Many probably wish they had that type of schedule where they could spend WHOLE days off with their kids, rather than the couple of hours that they get in the evening, which usually consists of meltdowns at dinner, bath or bedtime. 

    Don't feel guilty. Although, I say that, but we all have some sort of "mom guilt."

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  • I don't know that you should feel guilt at all.  A happy mom is a good mom. I've worked soul sucking jobs and it just makes everything else in life less enjoyable.  I'd give it time. I think you'll find that things will work out. IF it doesn't you can explore options for less hours.

    I really want my daughter to go to preschool in September. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is that I WAH with a nanny and it is getting really hard and I think I'd be more productive if she was out in the AM rather than being at my door every 20 mins asking to play. (she does this less in the afternoon for some reason) I feel a touch bad but I know that this will be a great thing for everyone.

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  • We are talking 6 extra hours a week right? To work at place you will be much happier at (plus significantly more money never hurts!) right? AND she's going to be with your DH.

    I think the alone time with your DH is priceless.

    The decision has been made. There is nothing more you can do. Give it time and I'm sure you'll make peace with it.

    Also, even though I am the queen of guilt, for some reason I never really felt guilty for having to work. The alternative to me not working would be not being able to pay our bills. Now that is something to feel guilty over.

    GL with your return.

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  • I was having this same *talk* with myself on the way home from the sitters after dropping my LO off for the first time. 

    I finaly came to this,  life is about choices.  The choices that dh and I are making now are a result of what we want for our family in the future. I am jealous of her, our sitter,  being able  to stay home with MY baby, but I realized that I could do that as well just by making other choices. 

    You are doing good things for your family by making sure that you are fullfilled professionally and financially stable.  I would as a pp said earlier love your situation. 3 days a week, MIL as a sitter, DH picking up,  Sounds like a good thing to me.

    Breather mama, you are doing well!

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  • I would sell out my kids for 60K!  Honestly, no way would I willing go to a clinic I hated for $60K less and 6 hours. For your own sanity.  And if you are unhappy, your baby will be unhappy, right?

    Your hours are great.

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  • image campbaby76:

    I was having this same *talk* with myself on the way home from the sitters after dropping my LO off for the first time. 

    I finaly came to this,  life is about choices.  The choices that dh and I are making now are a result of what we want for our family in the future. I am jealous of her, our sitter,  being able  to stay home with MY baby, but I realized that I could do that as well just by making other choices. 

    You are doing good things for your family by making sure that you are fullfilled professionally and financially stable.  I would as a pp said earlier love your situation. 3 days a week, MIL as a sitter, DH picking up,  Sounds like a good thing to me.

    Breather mama, you are doing well!

    thanks, I know i am lucky to even have the options that I've got...I've always been one to brood about things. Hopefully after awhile it will be second nature and we'll all be happy. In the meantime, I'm going to plan to bank the extra money so if I do eventually decide to cut back I won't have to feel guilty about THAT! lol.
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  • Am I reading that right? an extra 6 hours a week is 60k MORE in pay?  If so i think you just need some perspective to relieve the guilt.  In just a year you could have LO's entire college educations paid for.  I think that would be an amazing gift to your child.
  • I think about my working this way - it kind of sucks for now, but in 4-5 years it will be great for all of us. I'll be working while LO is at school and he will get a lot more opportunities because of my salary - travel, college paid for, etc.

    I started feeling less guilt when I saw that LO seems to like daycare - he is always either sleeping or happy when I pick him up. I do think that it's harder for me to be away from him than it is for him to be away from me. Having someone new to play with at different times isn't so bad for a little kid. 

  • It just takes time.  For me, I needed to be back at work for 12 weeks before I felt settled with my decision.  Things just fell into place and it worked.  DH being an equal partner helped things feel balanced too.  And, I had to let him be an equal parent.  He is just as good as me, so I don't feel bad if he's there instead of me just as long as one of us is there. 

    And, sometimes you really can't justify working less, even if you don't need the money.  I think $60k less for 6 hours less work is pretty ridiculous when you think about it that way.  Similarly, I decided to go back to work FT after DD was born b/c I was getting 20% less pay and only working 15 minutes less every day (while still paying for FT daycare).  That was total BS, IMO! 

    As long as things are in balance, it all seems to work out over time.  Just give it some time to see if you need to tweak anything. 

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • You have NO reason to feel guilty!  You'll see your daughter a few hours less a week, but you still see her a lot, she'll be with either your MIL or your DH, and you and DH will be happier in your jobs. 

    As a side note, that's a hell of a lot of money for 6 extra hours!  I wish someone would make me that offer. 

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  • Regardless of who is watching her, she is a baby and she won't know 6 hours away from you from 6 minutes away from you.  No reason at all to feel guilty for doing a job you prefer. Happy moms have happy kids.  It's much better to work these hours now and switch to shorter hours when your kids are in school and will need you there to help with homework, etc.  The more money you save now, the easier that decision will be in the future. 
  • Those are six extra hours that your husband will have to bond with your daughter, and in the meantime, you're earning an extra $60k/year that you can use for your family. You have nothing to feel guilty about!
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  • Holy crap, woman - each extra hour you are away = $10k. At a place you will enjoy being. And your DD will be bonding with her daddy during the time you're gone - it'll be great for them to have that special time together.

    AND you still get 4 days - the majority of the week - to spend with her.

    There will always be something to feel guilty about but this sounds like there a lot of positives here in your choice! 

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  • image Spenjamins:

    I would sell out my kids for 60K!  Honestly, no way would I willing go to a clinic I hated for $60K less and 6 hours. For your own sanity.  And if you are unhappy, your baby will be unhappy, right?

    Your hours are great.

    ditto. you should feel no guilt.

  • I don't think there's anything wrong with choosing to work at a job that you love. Your happiness is important too. Working 3 days/week, even if they are long days, gives you more free days with your LO than a lot of us have. 2 extra hours in the morning or evening probably doesn't allow you much quality time with your LO anyway. Concentrate on the time you do have.
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  • It sounds like you made the best decision for your family.  You will be more financially stable and more emotionally fulfilled. 

    Happy mom, healthy budget = what's best for baby = you really shouldn't feel guilty.

    Born at 31w3d due to severe IUGR & Placental Insufficiency--2lbs 3ounces
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  • It is hard, hard, hard to not feel guilty when you are heading back to work after a leave....that part I understand. :(

    After you get back to work, you have to be happy and fulfilled, and it sounds like you will be with job #1 (36 hours). Twelve hour shifts are brutal, and long days, but your days at home are sooooo worth it in the long run. You will not be disappointed with your choice overall, and I think you are doing the right thing for your family!

    I refuse to feel guilty about being a working mom; guilty when my house is dirty/messy, yes, but I have never, ever felt like my children are missing out on anything with me working and DH working. They get to spend lots of time with each of us, and they are happy, healthy kids who are doing well in school and are fairly well-behaved and kind to others. They have been to daycare, latchkey, and had neighbors and friends get them on or off the bus at any given time, so they have learned to roll with the punches of life and not stress out about too much. It is never a big deal if dad takes them to hockey or mom volunteers at school, it's all about balance and who can be there for which event.

    You will be just fine, it will just take a little adjusting!

  • 3-12hr days is still fantastic, the hours reduction isn't worth that pay cut. 

    My 1st LO was a residency baby.  He survived my chief year and DH working OOT to become one of the most happy go lucky, cuddliest preschoolers I know.  Your work balance is perfect, don't think for a second you're cheating your LO.  Plus, happy mom-happy baby.

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  • So I work two 12 hour shifts, and I don't feel guilty about it at all. (The only reason I didn't stay FT at 36 hours is because we weren't sure how my mom would do watching DS that long for 3 days a week). I went back when DS was 4 months old.

    You LO is still small, but as she gets older she is going to have a great bond with your MIL. My DS LOVES my mom. It is so great to see them together and how happy he is and how much my mom loves him. I think its great that they get to have that bond, and then he's home with me 5 days.

    To me, more money means that we have more to save so we can hopefully buy a house this fall, so my son will have more space to play and grow. So for me, I work for my son and my family, so my son can have a bond with his grandmother, and so I can stay current in my practice (I'm an ICU RN). So if I ever decide to go back to full time once I am done having kids and they are older, I will still know what I am doing and be relevant in the field. I can contribute to my retirement, have my "own," money and feel like DS will understand I am not just his "Mommy," when he gets older. I am a person with outside interests and responsibilities as well.

    GL! It was hard in the beginning, but the older DS gets, the happier I am about my decision to keep working. 

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  • My husband and I say "we're doing the best we can" to each other a lot.  I feel your pain but at least you have 4 days off!  I work from home 3 days a week and commut to my office (6 hours away round trip) 2 days a week.  It is so hard to be gone from the kids for that long but its what I have to do to support our family.  The other thing to remember is a healthy happy mama is one of the best things you can give your kids...even if your not with them 24/7.

  • I think the trade off would have been worse for your LO if you chose the office you don't like. The extra six hours will not affect her, but they are LONG days! I do three ten hour days now, and it's all I can do. I don't ever feel bad for not spending that time with LO, I'm paying the bills and saving for her future, and enjoying my own career choice to boot. I love having the four other days for her, but I work harder those days. Hands down.
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