Working Mom guilt ~ Finding the balance between work and family is the sweet spot in life where every working mom wants to live. But how do we find the perfect balance between our careers and our family, more importantly, our children? This is a struggle that I think every woman is too familiar with; one that I, myself, have struggled with since giving birth to my first child.
Even if we are afforded the luxury of being stay-at-home Moms, we are torn and left feeling guilty for not wanting to be in the house, with the children, sans adult conversation for 24-hour increments/ 365 days a year. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, a work outside of the home mom and a work-at-home mom. All have had their challenges and in every category, I was a working mom. Raising children and maintaining a home is never ending work, even if the perks include spontaneous hugs form adorable munchkins.
As a stay-at- home mom, I wrestled with being overwhelmed with no down time. I found myself having verbal explosive diarrhea each afternoon when my husband walked through the door. I felt disconnected to the outside world and then I felt extreme guilt for feeling like I wanted to be anywhere else. After all, what kind of mother needs time away from her children? Obviously, this was a sign of a major character flaw on my part and I should suffer in silence like a priest trying to purify his soul and purge the impure thoughts. After all, wanting to be away from my children, wasn’t that the most impure thought that a mother could have?
While pregnant with my second child, I temporarily took a job outside of the home. It was only in the afternoon, after my husband was home from work, because I could not bring myself to leave my 1 year old with anyone else (another side effect of extreme Mommy guilt). She was up for precisely 2 hours after I left for work. In retrospect, she probably didn’t even notice that I was gone. She normally played with Daddy from the moment he walked in the door until bedtime anyways, regardless if I were home or not. Yet, every single day that I walked out the door for my 5 hours of work, I felt like I was betraying her in some profound way; abandoning her. The guilt was palpable. The job lasted eight months. From the moment I took the job, I was looking to find something that allowed me to work from home.
At six months pregnant, I found a fabulous job that allowed me the flexibility to work from home and make my own schedule. I was ecstatic. Then I started the job and realized there is only one rung of Mommy guilt worse than leaving your child to go to work and that is sitting in the same house as your child, hearing them call out for you and having to make the decision to tune them out so that you can get work done. The guilt I wrestle with is colossal.
I’ve been fortunate that my job has allowed me to scale my hours back when I need to and increase as I see fit. It’s been a Godsend. Now, the girls are a little older and next year, they will both be in school all day. I decided it’s time to pursue a career that not only fits my lifestyle but also is something I love doing. After all, don’t we all deserve to have it all; the partner, the children, the career and the lifestyle that we want?
I’ve just started a couple new jobs. I still have my original job; editing and tutoring in English but I have added regular freelance writer to my repertoire. I can now be found at SmartMomStyle.Com and The Stir daily plus I am writing my weekly post at Aiming Low. It’s very exciting and absolutely my dream job. As it is starting any new job, it’s taken some concerted scheduling efforts on my part. My husband and I had to sit down, figure out a writing schedule, incorporate the kids schedule and make certain days and times off limits because they are reserved fro family time. It’s only been a week but I can see that the schedule is already making a huge difference in the amount and quality of time that I am spending with my family. It is also working wonders for alleviating the Mommy guilt.
I’m sure you working moms have many different ways to deal with the Mommy guilt, the schedules and how to make the best out of your time. I’d love to hear your stories and recommendations. I want to have it all and leave that working mom guilt out of it.