1. Parenting

Readers Respond: What Triggers Your Working Moms Guilt?

Responses: 60

By

Never regret about your choice

I have always been working. My parents both worked their entire life while we were kids. Do I feel guilty of leaving my girls (5 and 12) in daycare/afterschool... of course I do. But I am happy that I am able to raise two beautiful kids by myself (divorced a year ago and before that, I was like single parent anyway.) while still have a sense of professional achievement. I never felt sorry for myself. Whether staying at home or working is a personal choice. Once you make it, don't be regretful. Only to work the best out of it. There are always pros and cons for both. I know I made the best choice of staying at work. There are times I feel maybe I should stay at home. But mostly I am happy even it means running around with kids' activities all the time, choatic dinner time, and so on.
—Guest Maggie

Cabin fever in and out of the office

I was a working single mom of one for seven years and every day dreamed how much better life would be if I didn't have to rely on family for day care! Lets face it, sometimes your take home only allows for groceries or day care, not both! I finally met a wonderful man and here I am with a beautiful baby girl. I have learned that the fantasy is much different from the reality. I do not maintain a perfect houselhold. The dishes stay dirty some days and I am more stir crazy here then I ever was in an office. It truly is a trade off. Did I get to see her first steps. Yes, that's a matter of luck, my husband did also and he works all day. I take my daughter for walks and running errands, but now I find myself hungering for the success I felt when I got a pay raise, praise and saw that check pop in the bank. I don't regret my decision, but I see now that sometimes taking care of our children means taking of our needs as adults. We are better parents when we're happy and healthy!
—Guest Amy

Sometimes you just have to work...

As a single mother with a five year old I do occasionally feel guilty, but I think that it's important to remember when one is doing the best that one that one is only a mortal with limited time. After all, my child would be a lot more distressed if we had nowhere to live and no food to eat, after all. Just do the best that you can and don't waste time on guilt, because that's time you could be using to make yourself feel better so that when you do have time with your child, you can use it well. One of my tricks is on days when I come home exhausted rather than staying up late and catching up on my endless tasks, I go to bed early and let my five year old sleep in bed with me. It gives us snuggle time and I always do better the next day when I have lots of sleep. The dishes and laundry will still be there when I wake up.
—Dawnelle_

Mommy Color First

Every morning I try to make time to "play" with my daughter before I rush out the door. But she of course wants more time. This morning as I was pulling on my coat (10 minutes late for the bus already) she asked me to come sit down. "Mommy has to go to work," I said. "No. Mommy color first." I gave her a kiss and cried all the way to the bus stop...and I am crying again now.
—Guest maisey

New mom guilt

I have an 11 week old beautiful baby girl and I just started back to work last week. My husband and I are lucky because his mother and sister keep her instead of us having to send her to day care. I have been fine until this morning when his sister came to pick her up to take her to church with her. I am the one that should be doing this. I just spoke to my sister-in-law and now they are going shopping. I'm so jealous I can't stand it. I work 10 hour days and my husband works night shift so we really have no family time. When I get home at night I barely have time to read her a bedtime story before it's time to get her in bed. I feel so depressed and guilty I don't know what to do with myself. I want to be a good mom and give her all the attention and interaction she needs and I feel terrible that someone else is getting to do this. I know things will get easier as time goes on but I feel like I might lose my mind first.
—Guest Andrea

I can relate

I'm a single dad and the guilt I feel is very similar. I frequently feel that I'm just not trying hard enough. Or that, no matter what I do, I'm failing him. There are no easy answers. Whenever I feel down though, I just try to remember that there are many more children in the world growing up in abysmal circumstances. Cold comfort, I know, but it helps with the guilt a little.
—Guest single dad

Anticipatory Guilt

I haven't even gone back to work yet and I can't sleep thinking about leaving my little girl in the care of someone else. I know the best thing to do is enjoy the time I have at home with my daughter but the thought of going back to work is a dark cloud that constantly hovers over me. I have imagined so many possible scenarios to be able to stay home. But the fact that we need health insurance gives me no choice but to go back to work. How will I be able to do it? I'm already losing sleep and my first day back at work is still weeks away. I am afraid that it will affect my marriage because part of me blames my husband for being in this situation. By me going back to work, he can pursue his dream of owning and operating his own business. I can only pray that this will be a short term situation. What triggers my guilt? Seeing my daughter's sweet, sleepy smile when waking up from her nap. I know I won't get to see that when I go back to work.
—Guest working mom

No Choice....

I have a wonderful husband who helps out and takes care of my child's sport activities, but unfortunately he is a teacher and even if I wanted to stay home, we cannot live on a teacher's salary. So not only do I have to work, but I am the main income of our family. I guess it all depends on the quality of life you want to give your children, we could probably go on my husband's salary, but thinking of all the things we have to give up, it is not feasible. I try to cherish and enjoy every second I get with my son, and let him know about it. For me this is what counts, not quantity but quality. And being a working mother helps out on the quality part too!
—Guest Aifos

Guilt at returning to work

Reading all this makes me realise I am not alone.My LO is 5months old and although work gives me only 9months paid mat leave,i am terrified of going back to work. Its always been my intention to return to work full time even though I dont like my job much because of financial reasons. Now I dont know what to do. I dread returning to work because i dont want to miss out but financially i have to.suffering from PPD doesn't help either. Just feeling miserable about it all.OH is studying full time so cant look after LO,its all down to me and my wage. I know things will get better but cant see the wood for the trees.
—Guest New mum of one

Missing out on events in my sons life

I am so happy I came across this as I had felt extremely guilty today. I am single mom of a 7 year old boy. I work 40 hours a week and go to school on my days off. Most of my free time is spent cleaning, running errands leaving less time to spend with my son. I've learned to fix it and leave cleaning alone and rather lay with my son and read or watch a movie. Anyway, yesterday he came with a letter in his bag saying he was chosen for student of the month! Feeling wonderfully proud, I asked my manager today if I can arrive 2 hours late so I can make it to his award ceremony. Unfortunately I was not able as we are short staffed. I have missed so much. His kindergarten graduation, along with Christmas carols and other events. Thankfully his dads side of the family is always there, (dad and I are separated) They are always there to attend when I can not so I am happy he has their support. But this life is so short and it makes me sad that I am not there; missing these wonderful moments.
—Guest Full time/ part time student single mom

going crazy...not enough character spc

My son is 19 months old. His dad is in jail. I am single and work 50 hrs a wk from 9am to 8pm. I see him for about 2 hrs a day. My days off are spent shopping and othr household chores. I have very little time with him and none for myself. Somedays i literally feel as if im going crazy. I just seem to keep going. I cry myslf to sleep at least 4x wk. My son barely knows me and vise versa. Its literally killing me. I dont have an education but my semi eh ok job pays the bills. Idk what to do. My son knows my sister more than his own mommy! I am miserable and lonely. I hate leaving him to go to work but im the only parent he has. It hurts even more that he doesnt talk and barely acknowledges me when i do get home. I feel like i dont have a son. I dont know what to do. Ppl suggest finding a diff job but then there will be something i wont be able to afford and there are no jobs out there unless u have a Phd!! His dad is a deadbeat and his side
—Guest sad mom

Missing My Son

I normally don't write on message boards but I've been feeling so guilty about not seeing my son much at all that I needed to know if other working moms feel this way. I commute to NYC everyday from NJ, usually having to wake my 20 month old son up from a dead sleep so I can rush him to daycare and make the train. I rarely make it home in time at night to even spend a half hour with him and the weekends are so crazy playing catch up with laundry, shopping, etc. that our quality time together is so limited. Financially we need the money and my hubby works close to home so he picks up the baby and does most of the house hold chores, but deep down it kills me inside not to be the one taking care of my son and household! I'd like to start my own business from home but afraid to take the risk with loss of healthcare and stable income. Helps to know other moms feel the same way :(
—Guest LandonsMom

Feel Guilty

I relate to most on here. I am a single mom to a beautiful five year old daughter. She's my world. I work full time so she has to go to daycare since I've no family of my own to help out with her. I realize I've to work to be able to support my child, but most nights I cry myself to sleep of feeling so guilty being away from her. My ex husbands parents watches her if I've to work on any given weekend since daycare is closed on weekends. It makes me feel like I'm not doing enough bc if me having to work so much and not being able to spend more time with her. If I'm doing what's right why do I feel like I'm not? She's starting to throw tantrums and I know it's bc of her not understanding why mommy having to work so much. I tell her mommy in your heart no matter always, and one day it will all make sense to her. I get frustrated at times bc of all the stress from work and having to be away at times but I know deep down I've to be strong for my daughter. God Bless
—Guest ClarkMama

Unsure what I should do

I am a full time student and a stay at home mom if that even makes sense. When i am in class she is with her dad and the rest of the time she is with me. I feel like I've missed the baby stage by being so overwhelmed by school. I feel like I want to much out of life and am now left with a hard life Changing choice. On the one hand I can graduate this year and take two years off to be with her or I can jump right into my masters program and put her in daycare. I don't see anythig wrong with day are but when I dreamed of having kids the forst few years of their life I skews imagined then home with me. I know this stage doesn't last forever and her dad is so wonderful giving me the opportunity to choose what would make me happy. The problem is I'm scared to disappoint people with my choice and even mite scared to live with regret and guilt.
—Guest Student mom

Guilt over candy

Today- I have had a mental breakdown. I was unable to take my daughter to dance class because I was at work over. At dance class they got to dress up in there halloween costumes. I didn't have her costume ready, so she went as a ballerina. The teacher requested candy be brought. So I sent a bag of reese's with my husband. When they got home, other mothers had made ADORABLE treat bags- I lost it. Then I got on FB. There is a picture of all the girls in there outfits-hair fixed, treat bags they brought. And mine had a tutu on and a bag of reese's. I can't stop crying. I stummbled upon this blog, and I just needed to know I am not the only one out there that feels like she fails. I think this is awesome, and doesn't make me feel so alone. Well written and encouraging. I guess all I can say is thank you. Thank you for writing this.
—Guest Lisa

Tell Your Story

What Triggers Your Working Moms Guilt?

Receive a one-time notification when your response is published.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.