How can I deal with guilt about working?
Many working moms feel guilty that they can't spend as much time with their children as a stay at home mom. What are ways to deal with these feelings?
The guilt most mothers experience in relation to working is caused by the notions passed on to them about what life is SUPPOSED to be like after motherhood, vs the reality of today's world. Mothers tend to attack other mothers and be more critical as society conditions females to do this since birth. Likewise, women are far more sensitive to the criticisms of other women.
Women of the past may have relied on one income because it was not only possible, but expected. A man could afford to send all 4 of his kids to college on his salary. Today, most people can't even be middle class if both parents aren't working. Today's employers not only demand things that are chaotic and disruptive to any family (either married or single parents), but mothers have far more to worry about than the Baby Boomer generation or their parents. On average, even when working full time, women end up with up to 300% more household chores than men. The system works very well for men, which is one reason they aren't looking to change it. Likely, some of your guilt may be coming from the fact that you feel you HAVE to do more than your partner (if he is in the picture) and have far more on your plate than he. This can take away from the quality time you do spend with your kids.
If your own mother was pulling more than her weight around the house and at home with you, you may have guilt stemming from this. If your kids are thriving and healthy while you need to work, there is nothing to feel guilty about. Children whose parents work do not suffer scarring for life. In fact, they display more independence and ability to cope with change. Mothers who work are less depressed and their kids have what they need financially. 1/3 of SAHMs say they "love" parenting while 2/3 are either mixed in feelings about parenthood or greatly dislike it, citing it wasn't as rewarding as they envisioned. Quality is more important than quantity. As long as you're paying bills, you don't have to feel guilty.
Focus on thinking about the positive aspects in this situation. There are many, such as the fact that being a working mother provides a great example for your daughter, she will value the importance of work/career. Being away from you has some positives because she is learning to socialize and interact with other adult authority figures outside the home, this is good practice for the future. Preschool provides tons of fun educational activities you may not be able to do at home. She is learning to be independent and self sufficient outside the home. The pros for you are that you are maintaining a decent lifestyle for your daughter, you should feel proud for being her sole provider, by doing so you are securing her future and providing stability. As a working woman you get to interact and socialize with other people your age and at the end of the day nothing is stopping you from giving your daughter your undivided attention. Be grateful for these things and don't dwell on how things would be if things were different. Your child will grow up grateful & proud of you, she won't love you any less because you left her in a safe, age appropriate/educational setting while you went out to earn a living.
Try not to feel guilty about working outside of the home, if you are working to provide fo your children,that is what we are suppose to do. I know that you feel like you are missing out on their child hood. The time that you do have with your children make the best of it and do all you can with them even if you have to put off some house work etc.That is material things and they are not going anywhere it will be there when your children are grown up and married. Your child is a child only one time. If it is bothering you that much, have you ever thougt about starting your own home based business? Then you can set your own hours around you children schedule and be there for them. Don't feel guilty there are a lot of moms that wish they had a job to go to . I know a great company that specializes in helping moms stay home and earn residual income. If interested I would love to share info. with you...
I don't feel guilty, because staying home is not an option in my single parent situation. I make the most of the hours we do have together. After dinner, we go for walks, play on the swings, etc. Before bed we read stories and sing songs. Also, she is not signed up for soccer, gymnastics, dance, piano, etc. The last thing I want to do when I get off work is to take and drop her off with someone else! :) Between preschool, babysitter and church, she is getting plenty of exercise and social interaction. She helps clear the table and sweep. I leave the dishes for later when she's asleep.
And stay at home moms often feel guilty for not being able to provide 'extras'. Just because a mom stays at home does not mean she is a great mom and just because a mom works does not mean she is a bad mom. Perhaps guilt is a way of keeping ourselves in check and always striving to be better? But as far as dealing with feelings of guilt over work, don't sweat it. Take that extra mental energy and put it toward your kids. Have a movie night. Sit down with you kids and just do nothing but be with them. Figure out what makes you feel guilty and then do the opposite. If you feel bad for not spending time with them, then just spend time with them. It's hard to leave the dishes to do, but just don't do them till later. Or engage them in doing dishes with you and you will also be teaching a life lesson.