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Working mom guilt, how do you deal?

Does anyone else here feel like me? I feel really torn between my career and my family. I love what I do, but I love my son more, and since he was born I've really resented the time I've had to spend away from him to work. I'm only half time, and I do a lot of my work from home even, so it's really only 2 mornings a week I'm away from him but it still feels like too much. Especially during the holidays, I really feel like being with my family should be so much more important than work. To boot, I'm in a pretty sexist profession that really doesn't support working moms, and I commute 50 miles from home to my work. By the time I've finished paying for gas I barely even bring any money home to support my family. What's the point in me working if I'm not even helping pay our bills? Yet, I really feel called to my work, I spent a lot of time in school to be qualified to do what I do...and it would grieve me to give it up. Guess this was more of a vent. Still, do any of you feel this way? How do you deal?

Re: Working mom guilt, how do you deal?

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    I can't personally relate to feeling guilty about working/ being away from DD- but if you are not really clearing anything or clearing very little, why not have a conversation with your SO/ DH about not working (at least for right now?)  Do you work in a profession where you could take a few years off and then return?

    I know a lot of women feel guilt, so you are not alone there.

     

    BFP 1- EDD 2/09/11 Missed MC DX @11 weeks D&C- 7/25/10 BFP 2- EDD 12/22/11 Natural MC @ 5w 2d BFP 3- EDD 1/25/12 DD Josephine born 1/16/12

    Lilypie - (TUWi)

     

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    I have zero guilt so I can't help you there.  But other women do and can perhaps add some perspective on how to cope.

    As to the benefits of working when you barely break even- do you carry other benefits such as insurance, retirement/401k, etc.  Do you have professional certifications and licenses that need to be maintained?  Are there non-paycheck related benefits to continuing to work? 

    That commute is a killer, I won't lie.  Could you try job hunting for something closer? 


    It isn't necessarily a career killer if you step out of the workplace for a while (career dependent, of course).  Many other women re-enter the workforce.  It comes down to answering if you can stay home, what that means long term and where you would be happier.

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    Also, how old is LO? 

    Newborn?  Give it a month or two and see if you still feel the same.

    Older and you've felt this way for awhile?  See above post.

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    I don't feel guilty per se, but I do oscillate between wanting to work full time and wanting to work part time to have more time with the kids and to dedicated to home-work. Some reason I am still working full-time are:

    - DH is not in support of me going part time

    - the short commute and low daycare costs make it worth while

    - I have a good pension plan

    - my job is fairly flexible if I need to step out for an emergency

    - I like to spend money without having to "ask"

    - I always think long term, and I would like to make money now while I can in case something happens down the road and I can't work/earn as much

    Reasons I want to go part time:

    - I always feel overwhelmed with things at home

    - I don't get as much time with the kiddos as I'd like

    - I'm tired

    How I cope with feeling like I want to go part time:

    - Take a "slacker" day at work (read: go on the bump and text my sister)

    - Buying myself something nice I wouldn't be able to afford otherwise, or fantasizing about same knowing I can buy it if I want to

    - Taking it one day at a time

    - Remembering that I want my children to have a "village", not just me as a caretaker 100% of the time.

    It's tough though, as I would go part-time in a heartbeat...the holidays can be especially tough for this when I'm at work and my SAHM friends are baking and making crafts with their kids. Mine are lucky is they have clean PJ's some days...

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    Sorry, reading these replies I realize I left out some important details. My son is 7 months old. A baby, but no longer a newborn. I only got 8 weeks of maternity leave, so I've been back to work for a while. We have a good routine. And I thank the stars I've never needed to pay for daycare, my husband and I take care of him ourselves. In my line of work I could not walk away and expect to ever come back. Once you're out, you're out for good. As it is I'm really feeling pressured to go full time (by work superiors). Then DS would have to go into daycare (no local relatives I could leave him with). My salary would still be so small that I'd go into debt just to pay for daycare so I could be full time. Yuck. I really appreciate your suggestions of making a pro/ con list, I'm going to do that. Also, I am trying to find work closer to home. No judgment to working mamas, y'all are awesome. No judgment to mamas who use daycare or nannies. That's awesome. I guess after several months of being back at work I'm realizing I'd vastly prefer to be a SAHM. My mom was one, I guess it's just in my blood. I feel guilty for having any interest in working. But, like I said, if I leave my work, after all I invested in getting where I am, I leave it behind for good. Part time with no benefits at all, just a chance to do something I love. Sorry if this sounds a bit disorganized, just what I've been munching on for some time.
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    I have moments when I wish things were different than they are, but on the whole I do not feel  sustained feeling of guilt about working. Two examples of what I mean:  

    This morning DH is staying home with my ill daughter, and DS was upset that he and mommy were the only ones going to work and school. I felt bad that we couldn't take the day off together. (I don't feel bad about not being home with DD, though, DH is more than capable and she's so cranky right now b/c she's sick, lol).

    Also, the other day at a birthday party I met a woman who was a teacher at my son's school (her daughter goes there also) and it sounded like she had a great set up. She took a step back from teaching while her kid was a baby until just recently when her daughter started kindy. I had a full 24 hours of raging jealousy.

    These are moments, though, and they pass.

    They are either based in days that are just hard days, and I know there will be hard days whether I work or stay home OR they are based on passing fantasies of how great I think life would be if I had someone else's life. What gets me through those is reminding myself why I made my life choices (I didn't just wake up one day and decide to be a lawyer, I planned and worked really hard for that) and the benefits I glean from that (the money, I have a fun, interesting and challenging job that suits me).

    I tell myself that when I tell some mom at a birthday party or play date what I do then at least a percentage of the time (I know not all the time) the SAHM feels a ping of jealously, like she wishes she was at least sometimes working a job, getting a paycheck, interacting with adults, working her brain in a different way than you work it when you are with your kids. Just like a percentage of the time I feel a pang of jealousy when I'm getting a snapshot into someone else's life. The grass is always greener, but you count your blessings for the benefits of what you have vs. what you think you want.

    But if being a SAHM is what you want, I suggest the pro con list to really discern if it's what you want, and also just figuring out what you would need to do to make it happen, provided your spouse is on board. That is definitely a couples decision.

    I will say that DS was taken care of family until he was 20 months old and DD has been in DC since she was 14 weeks old. Between the two, I prefer the one on one care of family or one on one care of a nanny, so I hear you on that.

    I did try to make the nanny thing work or to find a nanny share for DD, but when it didn't work out we did a center. It's fine, but not my first choice. She is safe and well cared for but, you know, if I could do it a little differently I would, so, again, I understand that sentiment.

    Having said that, I love centers for older kids - so much so that it's actually one reason having a nanny didn't work out. We could have done it if we pulled DS from DC, but I really didn't want to do that, so we picked what worked best for our family looking at things overall.






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    Now that I've been a working mom for a few years I don't really feel guilty.  I've worked PT since DS was born but have been slowly getting closer to full time.  What really helps me is being able to see the benefit of my working in our family.  If I was breaking even or losing money then it would be really hard for me to work, especially if I had a desire to stay at home.

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    I work FT and periodically feels guilty - but as DS has gotten older (he is now 2.5), that feeling comes less and less, because I see how much he thrives at DC.  DS was sort of a grumpy baby and I was very worried about his social skills for the first 1.5 years of his life - he didn't smile much, wasn't interested in other children, etc., and I've seen how being exposed to different adults and children has really changed him.  Now he is a total social butterfly and can't/won't stop talking and laughing all the time.  I also am not cut out to be a SAHM.  However, if you are really unhappy with your job situation, perhaps you could sit down and work out a detailed budget with your spouse and see if you can make any adjustments.  It does suck to "waste" all those years of education, but ultimately you have to do what makes you happy.  Nothing is more important for a child than having a happy parent!
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    I have to say, it took me until DS was 6 or 7 months to really be content with my decision to work.  I also changed jobs/employers, and it was a good move - I have a shorter commute, a more flexible schedule, and a boss who is family-friendly.  I'm also happier as a working mom.

    I agree with a PP's suggestion to make a pro-con list. Make sure to consider future goals.  A big reason I work is so we can save more for retirement and for college savings accounts for the kids.  If you decide to SAH, will you be bored once you're done having kids and they're all in school?  Is it easy to get back into your profession after a period of some years?  I think that ultimately, each family makes the decision that is right for them.  If it's an option for you to SAH, and you would be happiest doing that, and your H supports it, then I say go for it!

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    This post came at the perfect time for me as I've only been back from maternity leave for three days and really struggling with leaving my baby.  For some reason it's harder with my second child.  Thank you to all of the responses to OP - you reminded me why I want to work when I was having serious doubts.  I'm very career driven and want my life to be more than just the kids because they leave and go on to have their own lives. I also don't want to feel guilty about spending money, want to be able to provide my kids with extras (vacations, college fund, toys, etc) and one of my biggest motivators is setting a good example that women can do anything. I want my daughters to dream big.  The uninterrupted lunches and hot coffee are perks too. :)  I know that I'm more attentive and a better mom if I work.  I just needed a reminder. 

    DD1 5.26.12 - Femara, Gonal F and IUI

    DD2 10.18.14 - IVF

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    Thanks for your wisdom everyone. You. Have to make some hard choices when you're a mom! Thanks for giving me some perspective.
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    Honestly, it sounds like you have the best of both worlds.  You aren't away from your child all day M-F and you are working in your chosen industry.   Not that your feelings of guilt aren't valid, maybe just try and look on the brighter side that you have more time with your child than a lot of people do?

    (That IS a long commute, though!)
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    Hi there, I can relate with you.  I've worked a reduced schedule and I still feel somewhat "guilty" being away from my little girl.  Before I had her, I was so used to working and working.  Ever since she was born, my passion for a career has dwindled and all I want to do is be with her as much as possible.  Even going out for errands or "time outside", I feel somewhat guilty.  I try to remind myself it's great my husband and parents, all of us, put in our time for her to be cared for as wonderful as we do.  Hang in there.  I would think a lot of mommies would love to hug their little ones all day.  I think I about her precious face even when I drive away every day.

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    When I had my dd five years ago, I quit my job and stayed home with her full time. I loved it. Staying at home suits me pretty well as I like the freedom and flexibility it affords me and I don't get bored easily. That being said, after two years an opportunity came up for me to start working part time (20 hours a week) at a job that I enjoyed and had done before. I figured at that point some socialization would be good for both of us and it was. Ideally, this would be our situation however life did not allow that to continue. My husband lost his job when she was 3.5 and had trouble finding full time employment again. Shortly after that an opportunity became available for me to transition into a full time position in the same place and same department. I felt that I needed to take the opportunity as she was getting older and would be going to school full time eventually and this position was more of a career. The biggest drawback at the time was that I would have liked to have been part time until she started kindergarten. We made it work but I do miss the ability to be home more and have more "free" time with her as everything now is very focused on time and schedules etc. I like my job a lot and am very lucky to have it. It is ultimately very flexible, has decent pay and benefits and suits me well however I do miss spending time with her since we mostly just have time to eat, do a bath and sleep in the evenings. Now that I am expecting number 2, I know I am going to have a lot of guilt and trouble adjusting. I will be taking 12 weeks off which I know won't feel like enough for me and I am not sure how I am going to function with a baby and a full time work schedule. I worry that I will feel overwhelmed and stretched too thin, not to mention the guilt of not having enough time to spend with both of them. I also worry that I won't be able to bind with the new one the way I did with my first because of lack of time and added stress. I would love to SAH with him for at least a year but at this point I am the primary breadwinner for our family and my job is just too good to give up. I think the only part that makes me feel a little better is that my h works nights and will be home with the baby so we won't have to do daycare right away. I think ultimately you have to do what is right for yourself and your family but if you want to stay home and it is financially feasible, it can be a great experience. However if you want to keep working that is fine too. Good luck, it is a hard choice.
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    Ladies, thank you for your wisdom. Today was a particularly bad day at work. I so wanted to just be at home with my son and it was demoralizing. I never imagined myself as a sahm, but I also don't feel called to keep doing what I do. I just want to mother right now. Again, thanks.
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    edited January 2015
    Ladies, thank you for your wisdom. Today was a particularly bad day at work. I so wanted to just be at home with my son and it was demoralizing. I never imagined myself as a sahm, but I also don't feel called to keep doing what I do. I just want to mother right now. Again, thanks.
    Sorry to hear that, yeah we definitely have bad days at work and having a baby at home makes some of us wanna home even more.  Hang in there.  I understand what you're feeling.  I mean, yeah we have jobs but being a mom is #1. :)
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