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working mom , mommy guilt, work, mom, family and work balance

Working Mom Guilt~Finding the Balace Between Work and Family

by Deborah Cruz

working mom , mommy guilt, work, mom, family and work balanceThe Working Mom

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.

This Working Mom wanted 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.

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Bye Bye Working Mom Guilt

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ToDoListMom 2012/03/07 - 1:50 pm

This is me!! Minus the awesome new dream job!lol Congrats. I will live vicariously through you until I can land a freelance job and make it a career 🙂

Truthful Mommy 2012/03/07 - 2:14 pm

LOL! Oh you are so sweet. It will happen for you. It only took me a couple years of banging my head on doors before they finally found a place for me. Of course, it all happened in the same month. What’s the saying success (LUCK) is opportunity meeting preparedness? I love that saying. Be ready girl, opportunity will sneak up on you.XO

Jennifer 2012/03/07 - 3:23 pm

My dream is to have a part-time job outside the home someday. I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a reality but that’s my dream. For me, I’ve had to realize that I can’t have it all, all the time, and that really has relieved some of the guilt and pressure to be perfect. Finding great daycare for my daughter was key to being able to focus at work after my maternity leave. Even though I had to leave her in dacyare when she was 4 months old, I knew she was well taken care of and has helped her (and me) in her transition into pre-school and soon kindergarten. Still, there are plenty of stories I have about juggling a crazy, intense job and being a frazzled mom, especially when my daughter was younger and getting sick all the time (thank you, daycare, for building up her immunity!). What has helped as well is a great support network (my husband and my parents). There are still plenty of days that I wish I could be a stay at home mom and devote my time to my little girl but there are many days I’m thankful for my job that allows me to get out of the house and have plenty of non-kid/non-mommy interaction. 🙂

Samantha 2012/03/07 - 9:41 pm

Thank you very much for this post. Thought I’m the only one going through this.

I am a stay at home mom with a son. Everything you wrote down just showed what I am feeling right now.

“I felt disconnected to the outside world and I felt extreme guilt for feeling like I wanted to be anywhere else.” — This is so true.

I started blogging to ease up that “disconnection” feeling.


Jessica 2012/03/08 - 1:47 pm

I think it’s amazing that you found a great job that allows you to balance your goals, ambitions, and values. I am now a stay at home mom, so I write around their naptimes and bedtimes. It’s not ideal usually, but it works for what I want to do at this point in my life. Later, when they are in school, I hope to make more of a career of writing.

Kristen Daukas 2012/03/08 - 9:49 pm

I’m with you all the way on the WAHM piece of feeling more guilty for being under the same roof as them and not being able to actually BE there. I’ve worked from home for 6 years and just recently (thanks to the Rooster taking over my office) have stepped into an office environment. I still have the flexibility but it’s not “me” that’s at the busstop every day and the wee Hens are adjusting to that. I get texts from the oldest every day telling me where her bus is to which I text back.. “at the office, tell dad”. The youngest asked me today to “quit my job” so I could work from home again. LOL.. the funny thing is that my job hasn’t changed… I still own my own company.. just the location has changed. They’ll get used to daddy being the WAHP soon enough, I’m sure 🙂

Chris Barker 2012/03/14 - 11:02 am

I really appreciate what life been giving you. Imagine working mom is very difficult and in such a way you’ve survived from it. Great mom!

Jacquelyn 2012/03/16 - 5:12 am

Can I just say what a relief to search out somebody who truly knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know find out how to convey a difficulty to light and make it important. More individuals have to learn this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre no more popular since you definitely have the gift.

Grey 2012/03/16 - 11:59 am

I am a single mother that’s why I really relate on it, becoming this is not simple but I need to prove my self in my children that I am worthy… Thanks for sharing with us this wonderful post…

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Sara 2012/03/19 - 8:47 am

For me this was the most important thing to..once you make the balance everything is working smoothly. Beeing successful at home and at your job at the same tim isnt myth 😉

Jess 2012/03/19 - 10:24 am

This is such a great post! I stayed home with Ava for 2 years, but by the end I was so ready to go to work. And I felt bad for it. There is so much of a different side to SAHM v WAHM v working outside the home. But at the end of the day we all love our babies and we each have our own reasons for feeling the way we do.

Jane Green 2012/04/25 - 9:34 am

It is difficult to create a balance between work and the children. Whatever the situation our children need our attention.

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