A Working Mom’s Guilt

guideposts-jan-with-kids-photoI have been so out of my mind busy lately, I forgot to tell you about my last couple posts over at Guideposts.com.

A Working Mom’s Guilt,” is a post I wrote the night before I left for a business trip that included a stop at the Kraft Mom Blogger event. As I shared here at 5 Minutes for Mom when I got home, leaving my kids to travel is incredibly difficult for me.

Here is some of “A Working Mom’s Guilt.” Click over to read the full article at Guideposts.com.

A Working Mom’s Guilt

It’s like living in two worlds at once…

It should be simple.

My (almost) two year-old daughter wants me with her all the time. I should be there.

Sure, Olivia has fun even when I am missing. But I know she wants Mommy. Having me next to her seems to make her happiness taste that much sweeter.

She bounces and smiles and shines, as she relays to me everything that is going on, living it all over again in the telling. She seems to adore me almost as much as I adore her.

So, how could I deny my baby girl her constant wish to have Mommy by her side? How could I let a single moment of these fleeting days disappear without her little hand clenching my finger?

Well, it isn’t so simple.

As much as I often wish that my realities would wash away and I would be left alone and unrushed, cuddling my kids all day long, that isn’t going to happen.

My reality remains. The clock ticks. The bills grow. And I have two children, at very different ages, who want me at their beck and call.

I think every working mother feels the conflict.

I may have the luxury of working from home and having snuggles with my baby sprinkled throughout my day. I may still get to taxi my son to school and sports. But there are still many hours away from them, many times when I have to hand them over and return to my computer or board a plane.

And it hurts.

The guilt piles up—I have a storage room inside me, packed with doubts and questions. But I do roll up my sleeves every so often and head in to sort it all out…

Click here to finish reading at Guideposts.com…

YOUR TURN: What about you??? Do you work in or outside of the home? Do you feel torn between the desire to always be available for your children and the reality that you also have other responsibilities and things you want to do?

Written by Janice.
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  1. says

    Oh yes, the guilt… I felt it horribly as a 'working' mom, full-time out of the house. And I feel it still, even unemployed and home all day. Guilty that I'm not earning a full-time income right now, guilty for spending so much time online trying to do something for myself (and earn at least even a little bit of extra money), and so on. Sigh.

  2. elizabethmahlou says

    I have always worked outside the home, holding increasingly higher level positions that have required much travel. I have also raised seven children, four of them my birth children and three of them belonging to other people who handed them over to me when they were young teenagers. My husband and I did a number of things to try to minimize the loss of quantity of time and maximize the quality of time. We would take each child out for one-on-one time about once a month — at least, we would try for that frequency. We also served as outdoors counselors for their Scout troops; these activities were always 1-2 days on the weekends, which fit our schedules better: canoe trips, backpacking, etc. We also maximized individual time as the kids got older by including them in what we were doing. For example, my husband spent six months hiking the Appalachian Trail and took our 10-year-old son with him; that kid has never forgotten that. I spent the better part of an academic year doing research in Russia and Siberia and took our older daughter with me; she has never forgotten that and still speaks Russian. I also took her to Germany with me, and I took our older son to Moscow and Finland for work trips and followed up on his language development by sending him to a Finnish summer camp. My younger daughter who cannot travel as well because she is paraplegic I took to Hawaii with me and took her older sister as babysitter; both considered that a good deal. The younger son who is mentally challenged I took to more local places, including NYC, on outings since fitting him into a business trip was simply not feasible. None of my children (all grown) complain that they were left out. Yes, there were days and weeks that I was gone — but often one or another was with me. It may not have been a perfect solution, but it was at least better than a bandaid on a wound.

  3. freedomdebtrelief says

    Well it is hard for all MOM's to leave the kids behind and go doing other things that are necessary… i would say that you are one terrific MOM :) and we dad's also miss out on our kids… but is mom that feel the pinch and we can never thank all the MOM's in the world.

  4. says

    oh i have tons of working mom guilt. it is one thing that i have really been struggling with lately – but i would feel guilty not working too b/c i know what our income provides our family. catch 22, huh?

  5. says

    After conducting a nationwide survey with over 700 moms I learned this: Guilt is the number one reason preventing moms from returning to work. As such, we at myworkbutterfly.com, have enlisted a resident psychotherapist to help moms with this very thing. She is available to you 24/7!

  6. maggiecassidy says

    I don't think there is any way to avoid guilt as a mother, both working or otherwise. I have been a working mother for the past 4 years with my son, and guilt is a constant (both at home – for not being there for my son all the time, and also at work – where you are never really able to give it your all, because your all is with your family).
    Now that I have a new baby the doubt and guilt is creeping in again, reminding me of all the holding, cuddling, giggling I'll be missing while I'm at work, but like so may of the other mothers said, not-working isn't an option. So I settle for quality and not quantity, and hope that I keep my fine balance and learn to let go of the guilt a little. In the end it really doesn't help anyone.

  7. says

    The guilt is VERY real! I, too, work mainly from home…and I also go into the office three mornings per week and have to leave my two children with a neighbor. While they are wonderful, talented, loving Christian people, my mom heart still aches when I leave my babies with them. I've been letting the guilt pile up for a while now…I'm such a packrat! :) I need to get in there and sort through things, too…
    Thanks for this great post and for your writings…extremely helpful and insightful! :)

  8. says

    Your piece is beautiful, Janice. I think every mom feels “guilt” to some degree – whether she is a SAHM, WAHM, or working-outside-the-home mom.

    I know I always feel that I should be – and do – more. I want to spend MORE time with my girls. And be MORE thoughtful of my husband. And do MORE things to impact the world positively.

    I think that restlessness is a good thing because it keeps me striving for big dreams.

    From where I sit, it seems like you are an amazing mama, Janice. Keep doing what you are doing.