Mom Guilt: Working Away From Home.
We all have our struggles when it comes to motherhood or just raising children in general. Whether it is feeling like you can’t keep your house clean because you work all the time or feeling like you aren’t contributing enough to the family, we all experience the guilt.
Most of the time, we just don’t talk about it. I know I don’t want to talk about the things I feel guilty about or the things I feel like I am failing at. Instead, we stay silent and suffer alone.
As a Mom, What do You Struggle With the Most?
Every time I have asked another working mother this question, I get the same response: Guilt.
It is guilt over not being present enough. It’s guilt over not being able to attend school activities because of a work schedule. It is guilt over feeling like a bad mom.
Everyone’s reason for guilt is different, but nonetheless, it is still guilt.
How do I Deal With Mom Guilt?
Honestly, I don’t deal with it very well. As a human, it is hard to admit our faults. I don’t want to talk about why I feel guilty because to me, that is admitting out loud to someone, who will likely judge me, that I am doing the wrong things and I don’t know how to stop it.
Realistically, that is not the case. If you are struggling with guilt from having a career and sending your baby to daycare, you have to remember you are not doing anything wrong. There is nothing wrong with going back to work.
We know this. Logically, we know this. But it doesn’t make our guilt feel any less valid.
We, as parents, have to understand that and support fellow mothers, and whatever they choose to do.
What do I Struggle With?
I’m going to be totally transparent and vulnerable for a minute. When I say I don’t talk about this out loud.. I mean, I don’t talk about this out loud. The guilt I feel every single day is never a reason for guilt that I hear from other moms. So I do feel like a bad parent.
I Want to work
I love my job and I want to go to work every day. Over time, I’ve realized that I don’t have a desire to stay home and raise children as a 24 hour job because I need time to use my brain and use the skills I worked so hard at gaining through college. I need time to myself to shut down for a minute and breathe.
That is not me saying that I don’t love Ember. She is my absolute world. This is me saying I have no desire to be a stay at home mom.
Now, if someone had come to me and said these things, I would tell them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to work. To be a good parent you have to take care of yourself, too. However, I still feel that guilt.
Changing jobs gave me a work schedule that completely balanced out our lives and I am truly lucky for that. But I know some mothers don’t have that luxury and my heart hurts for you.
I Hate Doing Homework
I loathe homework- reading homework the most. Sometimes, I feel like I wasn’t good at teaching Ember things and my lack of being able to do that properly has caused her to struggle with reading.
Whether that last statement is true or not, I still feel like it is and I will carry that guilt for a long time.
Ember struggles with reading so much that she is behind in her class and I had to hold her back a year. She hates reading because it is hard for her to do. She doesn’t feel like she is good at it and wants to avoid it, as any other human does with things they don’t enjoy and aren’t good at.
I dread having to do reading homework with her because it always ends in tears. She feels my anxiety immediately and reacts to it. In our house, Leslie tends to take over the homework because she is more calm about it. She has more patience than I do and this works for us.
I love that I can come home from work and start homework with her, though. It is like a clean and fresh slate for us when I get home from work and we sit down to start it.
We’re excited to see each other and we haven’t had any tension developing from little things that may have happened during the day. It’s a time we enjoy because we’ve been separated all day.
But man, I hate the homework.
I don’t like playing
This is the number one reason I have so many feelings of guilt. I have never enjoyed pretend play. I can do it for a little while but that is all my mind has the capacity for.
My anxiety is so high and my mind is always going a mile a minute with things that I need to do and sitting down doing something that isn’t productive is not something I can tolerate. Play time is something I have to force myself to do.
When Ember was about three years old, I went to the doctor and was put on antidepressants for the first time. The reason I went to the doctor was because I was so depressed with the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to want to play with her.
What kind of mother doesn’t love playing with her child? All over the internet I see stay at home moms just playing and doing crafts all day every day and absolutely loving it.
I read that having toys and mess every where is “creating memories” and how childhood should be remembered, but in my house we have a “no toys in the living room” rule because I can’t function when there are things out of place and everywhere.
Why don’t I have the motherly instincts that other moms have that allow them to play so happily and willingly with their children, for hours?
We spend time together doing other things and we play board games as a family, I just really struggle to pull out the Barbies and go for it.
I wish I had a solid answer for this one if you struggle with this, too, but the truth is, I don’t. What I would tell another mom admitting this is that it’s okay to want to be your own person and not completely change yourself because you have a child.
If your child is happy, you are doing your job. Trying to be a good parent but being miserable while doing it is not your best parenting. Your best parenting is being happy and sharing that happiness with your child.
How does this tie into feeling guilty for working away from home?
Well, I feel guilty for working away from home because I want to work away from home. I don’t want to be a stay at home mom.
The things I struggle with started while I was staying home for the most part. I always had a means of bringing some income into the house by babysitting, etc, but Ember was always with me. I was 100% a full time mom.
The longer that went on, the more I hated it. It was when I finished college and started working that I started to feel some peace. I was able to leave the home and be my own person for 12 hours at a time. I wasn’t just “Mommy” anymore, I was an actual respected adult.
Staying at home and just being a caregiver or homemaker doesn’t bring me joy.
Even though I absolutely LOVE caring for my family and I love doing homemaker responsibilities, I still need a balance of being a mom, partner and Candace.
Your Best Is Perfect. Let go of the Working Mom Guilt and Forgive Yourself.
As a working mom, myself, this is hard to do. I am very hard on myself. However, I do my very best.
Something I like to remind myself is that even if I wanted to be a stay at home mom I couldn’t. I have bills to pay. Ember needs food. (and gluten free food is not cheap, friends). I should feel lucky that I am able to have a career that I love and take care of my child.
Yet, that guilt still creeps up on me. Every time I can’t attend a field trip or school lunch, I feel it. Every time I have to call around for someone to go pick her up from school because she got sick and I can’t leave, I feel it.
There are pros and cons to being in the workforce, but the pros out weight the cons for me.
I am happier working and Ember is happier having a happy mom.
Your children feel the same way. You can be a working mom and a good mom. Take guilty mom out of the equation because she’s not needed here. You are doing your best and that is perfect for your child.
Your child is seeing their mother with a career and doing absolutely everything she can to make their life good. Your child is seeing a woman who is able to support herself and not rely on anyone else.
That is powerful.
So the next time you start to have working mom guilt- remember that. You are a good mother. You are a good human. Your best is perfect.
What is your biggest source of guilt as a working mom? Or just as a mom in general?