How do you get past the guilty feeling of going to work and leaving the kids i feel awful doing it ?

Tracy - posted on 10/28/2008 ( 34 moms have responded )

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I work from 7 am til 9 pm 3 days a week and although i have got really good child care and the kids daddy looking after them really well i still feel i should be at home with my family but am not in a financial situation to do so i feel really guilty when i go to work and im sure the kids are missing me just as much as im missing them .

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Laurie - posted on 11/03/2008

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This is the battle that I have within myself all the time. My home life gets 50% of me and work gets 50% of me. I made it perfectly clear to my employer when I started my current job that my child comes first in every aspect of my life, but when you work in an office of 10 women and I am the only one with a child under 20 it is difficult to receive simpathy reguarding a sick child or wanting to go on vacation only when the child has off from school. My best advice is to remember you are going back to work for a reason. Mine was that I like running water and electric in my home. As long as the reason for going back to work makes sense to you then you are good. So you will not be the Mom who makes cookie, cupcakes,or brownies for the classroom. Your Halloween costumes are not homemade. Your child cannot join a sport because they meet at 3pm. My daughter took Dunkin Donuts to school for her birthday, she wore a store bought (and internet bought) costume, and she takes karate because it starts at 6pm. She is the happiest kid I know. Life is full of things we cannot always do, best to learn this now at a young age. Life will be too hard if you find this out at 21.

Just remember 30 minutes of quality time is just as good as 5 hours. Just make it count.

Joan - posted on 11/03/2008

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I have two boys, aged 2 and 3. I recently decided to go back to school and had to quit my teaching job and pick up a part time job. I see my kids alot less than I used to so I understand your guilty feeling! I cried when my youngest sat next to me and said, "I miss you Mommy." I work through it by reminding myself that I am going back to school to get a better job to help my children have things they wouldn't have gotten before. Things like family vacations and more savings for college. Everything I do is for my family. When I remember that, it motivates me to continue on my path. Good luck to you! You sound like a great mom!

Beth - posted on 11/03/2008

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I agree with some of Rita's comments. I am definitely a working mom because of the choices of my past. I also have a Master's degree and a career driven person. However, when I am out and see mom's with their kids during the day, my heart is broken. I want to be the one with my son 100% of the time. I guess we can't both worlds. I am working toward possibly finding something part time so that I have more time with my son.
I also have a question for those who respond. My husband and I were relocated and do not have a lot of social contacts. I have always wanted to join a mother's group or MOPs. Our church has several programs, but all during the day on week days. I can't seem to find an evening group. Any suggestions?

Terri-anne - posted on 11/03/2008

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Being a mother who works in a day nursery (as a chef, not in the rooms) I see first hand mothers struggling to leave their "babies" behind.....take it from me they miss you for all of 5 mins, the tears you see, the way they cling to your leg as you try to walk away....all this stops as they realise they have the day to play with all their friends...they may miss you, but the fun and adventure they have with their friends far outways any guilt you should feel. Each child takes their own time to settle, but they all settle in the end. It breaks our hearts when mothers decide to take their child home instead of letting them learn how to settle to the stage where they wave goodbye to you and they run off to play.

Beth - posted on 11/03/2008

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I totally feel you! I was working for three months straight 12 hour days and only seeing my baby on the weekends. I felt terrible! But i kept telling myself i am doing this for my son. Between getting diapers and formula and clothes for all seasons plus toys it all adds up. So that is what i kept telling myself. I know my heart and i am sure yours too just felt empty and broken. I know what killed me was he stop saying mum and saying DaDad. I felt terrible! But now that he is a little older almost one he comes to me more now. Just hang in there mom your doing what you need to do to support that little one. Your doing a great job!

Krystal - posted on 11/03/2008

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I recently went back to work as a preschool teacher at a daycare. I take my son to work with me for a couple of hours and day until his dad picks him up. Even though he's in the same building as me I still feel horrible about it. I think in the end you just have to say to yourself that you're helping to support him.

Andréanne - posted on 11/03/2008

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The thing is : if you work only for the money, it will be harder than if you work because you get a feeling of achievement from work. That feeling can be transmitted to your children. If your kids feel that you are miserable when you are away from them, it won't help them develop a healthy relationship with work, when they'll be old enough to work, and it may lead to separation axiety! Don't forget that you're not just a mom, you're a human being, and work is part of what we do - be it working hard to keep a home running, or working hard outside to pay for the home. As a lot of people said : it's the quality of the time you spend with your children that is important, not the amount of time. My parents both worked when I was a child, and I still love them :)

Niamh - posted on 11/03/2008

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It is soooo hard not to feel guilty about leaving the kids behind to work. However I reconcile the guilt by telling myself that I am taking care of my family by working and providing and income to pay the mortgage to keep the roof over our head. In addition, my job provides the benefits and I pay into my retirement fund; by doing so I provide a more financially secure future for my child.

[deleted account]

Ok, I may ruffle some feathers. Don't be mad, this is just one opinion. A lot of what has been said is true, that it is hard and we do it to make ends meet and kids may not be permanently scarred. But I cannot accept that we're doing it all for them. How many cliche' movies have we seen where the dad works all the time and is gruff with the family and the wife confronts him and he says, "I'm doing this all for YOU!" Yeah right. I'm working because I can't control my spending habits. I have credit card debt and student loans from being stupid for years, and you can bet I wasn't thinking of my kids' future then. (Granted, they weren't born yet...) Yes, the only-children get interaction with other kids. Social skills, whatever. But I think it's justification for doing something fundamentally wrong. Why else would so many of us feel guitly? I do try to make quality time with my kids when I'm here, and I really love how excited they get when I walk in the door. But honestly, I know that working now, walking out the door trying to ignore the "Mommeeee, don't weave me..." is my own dang fault. Think about what you're working to pay for.



I have had this argument with my mother-in-law many times, because she was a working mom. My husband and sibilings were all in daycare from 6-weeks on. They turned out fine (mostly), but she never did figure out the reason why she "had" to work. She still spends money like it's on fire. It's our society and lack of discipline. Heck, whatever happened to the mom going hungry so the kids could eat? That's just not gonna happen these days. She'll pay for daycare and bring home that extra $4 an hour so she can buy herself a big mac.



I'm sorry. I know I have probably said too much for such a public place, but it's a sore subject for me and I got all steamed up. No one's situation is the same, and it's not right for me to say that people are doing wrong. I am old-fashioned in that I believe the mom's place is at home with her kids. I just wish it worked out that way still.

Yvette - posted on 11/02/2008

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I used to work overnights so I was home with my kids all day and worked at night then that changed I feel the same way sometimes where I miss my kids and the things I used to be able to do with them. I can't stay home and my two older children understand eventhough I do miss volunteering at school. We have to do things that we are not always ideal to us because in these days and time even two incomes don't always support everything. Don't feel bad that you aren't always there they know you love them just make sure that you do spend time with them when you are those are the times they will remember and they do understand that we are doing this for them not just for fun:)

Kelly - posted on 11/01/2008

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I have a 5 month old and have been struggling with my decision to return to work full time. I have a very demanding job but am also the bread winner in the family. We have excellent childcare which makes it a little easier but I miss him constantly. I know I am doing what is best for him and I also got advice from my boss who is a mom of three that it is "quality time with your kinds not quantity". So I make the most of every minute that I have with him when I am home. Even if it is only 3-4 hours a day we connect for the full 3-4 hours.. It is a challenge at first but I know he is happy, healthy and loved not only by mom and dad but also his grandmother and nanny.

Cristina - posted on 10/31/2008

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Think of it this way (I do!)- you go to work FOR THE KIDS- to make money to keep a roof over their head and food on their table. Everything you do IS FOR THEM regardless of where or how you do it. The rest of the time you are home with them is a mega bonus that SO many other parents don't even get. Be considered lucky that you do get to stay home a large majority of the time AND you get to provide them with a good hard working role model as a mom!! Best wishes, Cristina

Michelle - posted on 10/31/2008

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I would like to feel less guilty as well. I am self employed. I own a Barber Shop and I went back to work after 2 weeks, my husband works for a company that made it clear that he wasn't to take parent leave.. (it's a good job...really) so i made a nursery at the shop so I could still spend time with him in between client's but when he was 3 months old I started sending him to daycare and it was the best thing for all of us. He has progressed so much from watching and playing with the other children as well I don't feel so stressed to hurry and finish a client and get to Ori as I did. Now I go to work and then pick him up at daycare and he looks at me with arm stretched out as if to say Mommy HI! He's glad to see me as much as I am! The guilt kicks in every once in awhile to lewt you know your a good mom!

[deleted account]

I'm an RN working nights, three 12-hour shifts a week. My kids watched me struggle through school as a single mom, and have seen my commitment to my patients and my job. I miss them while I'm at work, and it's horrible to leave when they say, "Don't go to work tonight, Mom!" I do feel, though, that even though it can be difficult, I'm teaching them an important lesson... Work can be hard, work can be fun, but it's necessary and we have to make the best of it. I spend as much time as possible with them, and they know I miss them. Our time apart makes us appreciate the time together more, and they see me meeting my commitments and caring about a job that is important to me-- not as important as they are, but important. It's also allowed them to have a closer relationship with their stepdad, who is doing the "homework-dinner-dishes-showers-bedtime stories" dance while I'm at work. We make sure to do things together, whether it's something super-special or just cuddling on the couch. Doesn't make the leaving part easier, but it helps!

Marta - posted on 10/31/2008

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i also work 3 days per week, and i have to keep reminding myself that everything i do is for baby james... you're a good mother, the best in his eyes and you have to do what is right for you and yours...

[deleted account]

It's never easy. I still struggle with it from time to time. I am single mom that works full time. I make the most of what I can when I am with the kids. If I have to do dishes then I try to make it fun and let them help so we are spending time but still getting things done. I make special times for them and if need be my housework can wait because my kids are so much more important. Capitalize on the time you do get and it gets easier to not feel guilty about the time you don't get.

Kat - posted on 10/30/2008

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Honestly I dont think you fully do get over it. I just make the most of the time I spend with my son and make sure when he is away from me he is with people who love him!

Ashlie - posted on 10/30/2008

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My daughter is 11 months and I work full time, 7:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday and I also go to school full time. I have Class on campus on Wednesday and Thursdays 5:30 to 8:30 and I am taking an online class. It is really hard to leave her but like everyone else has said, it is all for her. I am really lucky because I have a great boyfriend who also works, but is home with Hayden when Im at school and some days when Im at work, and when we both have to work then my friend watches her and she has a 3 year old. Her son has taught my daughter alot. She crawls more is taking steps. Although I would love to be with her every second of every day, I know going to school and getting a degree is going to make our future even better.

Whitney - posted on 10/30/2008

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I struggled with the exact same feelings after I had my children. The one thing that helps me get through it is knowing what a benefit this is for my children. I know that I am providing for them in ways I may not have been able to without working. I think everyone wants the best for their children, but with this economy and day and age, doing that is very hard. Being a mother is a sacrifice. From the moment you find out you are pregnant and putting your body through the horrific changes your body turns to, until now. Sacrifice is a key role when you are a mother. I do take a sacrifice when I am not home with my children in the evening, but my children will come to appreciate that. If you focus on feeling bad about having to work, your children will pick up on that and learn to maybe even resent you for that. It's all in the way you look at it. I know it's hard to always have a positive outlook on the struggles in life, but if you try to always do so, your children will pick that up, and being an example for your kids is the most important aspect of being a mom. I must say, I appreciate that you work to support your family, and not use my tax dollars to live off of welfare!

Sarah - posted on 10/30/2008

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I feel ya girl! I work full time monday - friday 7:30-5pm! Makes for a long day. While I love my child care provider I do feel quilty sometimes. I don't know how to over come that other than just knowing that are getting the care they need.I wish I could afford to stay home but I can't =( Good luck to you! You are doing a great job!!!

Tonia - posted on 10/30/2008

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I work 8/9-4/5 5 days a week. AJ is either with my sister or hubby. I get past the guilt knowing she'll have heat and clothes and diapers; and being an only child she gets outside socialization with my sisters 4 kid family that she otherwise wouldn't get. Gives me something fantastic to come home to too!

Tara - posted on 10/30/2008

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Wow. I read your question, and I've read so many answers. I work, but, from home. I do it so that I can "have my cake and eat it, too". I've worked from home for over 10 years, doing something any one of you can do. I'm not here to pitch you, but rather encourage you to find a way to work from home if you can.



Working from home as a mommy can certainly be a challenge now and then. It's hard when the litte one is being SO cute, or needs mommy RIGHT NOW, but, when you have your own schedule you can find ways around it - we're born multi-taskers, right? =)



Start a part-time home based business that you work on, and you build, 5 hours a week in the beginning. If, after a year, or two, or three, it means you can walk away from your job - and walk away from someone else dictating your income and your schedule - it's worth doing it today.



When Avery was 2 months old, around the time I'd have had to go back to work if I worked outside the home, I remember I just started bawling - not for me, but for moms who did have to leave the house then.



I work my butt off for 2- 3 days a week, but then enjoy being "full time" mommy for the rest of the week. I accomplish more in those 48 - 72 hours than most full time employees get done in two weeks, I'm sure. Every one of you working moms out there can do the same.



Just find a home business - a legitimate, successful one...which is going places - and work hard to earn enough to stay at home, avoid paying childcare and extra gas, save on taxes, and make your own schedule.



It's an option, if you want it. I'm not trying to impress you, but I earn 2 to 3 times more than the highest possible salary I could earn with no college education or real Corprate America work experience. If I can do it, anyone can.

Mirtha - posted on 10/29/2008

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You are very lucky in terms and good child care and the kids daddy looking after them I have twin girls and a newborn and I am supposed to go back to work in November. I am not looking forward to doing it. I need to pay a full time live in Nanny and another part time nanny (35 hours per week). Here in NY childcare is a lot of money. I wish my mom, husband or sister could look after them, but I am not that lucky.

I work 5 days a week 9- 7pm and will have to travel for clients.

I think i should look for something less hestic and stressful. WIsh me luck!

Kari Lynn - posted on 10/29/2008

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I will be facing the same dilema as you and I already feel the pain! However, the advice that I can give comes from my experiences from my mom. She was a single mom and I was in a daycare from birth (well not quite) and all I remember of that is the quality time that my mom and I spent together. I am sure that I missed her and at times made a horrible scene because she was leaving me at daycare....however, one of my fondest memories was every week her and I would go out to dinner and it was just us time. So in talking to my mom, she says that you have to make the time that you do have with your little ones the best quality time you can! I can truly tell you that I have no bad memories about growing up, only the fun times that my mom and I had together! Quality versus quantity.....

Corinne - posted on 10/29/2008

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I am away 3 days a week as well, and I too feel guilty about it sometimes...but then I realise I get 4 other days with my family every week, when most only get 2....

On the other side, my son doesn't freak out when I leave like some kids do, we have a lot of quality time together (even if its just washing the floor together) and I think he recognises that anytime we can spend together is precious!

Beth - posted on 10/29/2008

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I felt really guilty at first, too, but, it really helped that my husband and I work opposite shifts, so I knew she was still in good hands. After a little while, the feel-bad feeling went away and all's well that ends well.

Katie - posted on 10/29/2008

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I think Alisha made some really good points. I think my son learns a lot of things at daycare that he would not learn if he were home with me all the time. Like many of you, I have to work for financial reasons, but my work is also very important to me on a personal level. When I go to work, it is for the benefit of my family's finances, my own self-worth, and the kids I help. So, while it was very hard on me at first, I've gotten over that guilty feeling. Me working at a meaningful job is the best thing for all of us. Now if only I could go part-time...

Amy - posted on 10/29/2008

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I am a nurse and my husband a cop. So therefore, me not working is NOT an option. I don't know if you would be able to, but I work at night. My husband is there at night the majority of the time when I am not. If he isn't, then my mom is. I like working at night, because I know that I am not missing anything except for a few hours in the evening before bedtime.....And then they are sleeping the rest of the night. When I get home in the am, I usually see them for a little bit, and get them dressed, and then I lay down until around 2:00 or so, and then get to spend time with them before going back to work. I try to do my days together, so I have 4 days off at a time. I don't know if it would work for you, but it works great for my life, and if $$$ is an issue, I also make $4.00 more an hour working at night.

Stacey - posted on 10/29/2008

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I totally agree with Alisha when she stated, "The best advice I got from my mom was to take time for yourself (work, dates w/dad). This way when you are with your children you are refreshed and ready to concentrate on them and are not burnt out. This makes your quality time with the kids much more meaningful." I have been home with my three children since June 8, I am currently on maternity leave. I can say being home 24/7 is exhausting and I am kind of looking forward to returning to work, to have my time away and refresh. I have found over the past 6 years as a working mom, that I appreciate my children more when I work, because you value the time you have with them in the evening and on the weekends more. You don't take spending time with your kids for granted.

Alisha - posted on 10/28/2008

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Being away from the kids is a good thing, and you are lucky it is only three days a week and you have 4 full days to spend with them. When you are away they are growing and learning to cope without you and learning that mom's way is not the only way to do things. Which is a skill everyone one should learn. The best advice I got from my mom was to take time for yourself (work, dates w/dad). This way when you are with your children you are refreshed and ready to concentrate on them and are not burnt out. This makes your quality time with the kids much more meaningful.

Ivy - posted on 10/28/2008

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My life story.. I'm a single mom and i work practically 24/7. I have no child support from the dad... I know I don't spend much time with my daughter. Now i work freelance and still trying to make a better schedule so i can at least be with my daughter for most of the week.. Normally, if i know I'll be working on the weekend, then i'll try to make days during the week to be with her..
It's tough, but like Lisa said.. if it's for our children future, i bet they'll understand.

Lisa - posted on 10/28/2008

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My son is 12 mos and I work full time. It was incredibly hard to leave him, but our financial situation is such that I make more than my husband so it made sense for me to go to work and him to stay home. I often get jealous and upset that I should be the one there. But then I remind myself that my son (and whole family) is better off with me working to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs and that is just as important as what my husband does staying home with him. When I get home in the evenings and on the weekends I never leave his side and we do as much together as possible. Basically my husband and I are both are working toward fulfilling all of our son's needs and the roles are just reversed from traditional times. As long as they are being looked after by people who care about them that you trust, you are doing the right thing for your kids. It is a shame that money makes the world go 'round, but it does and we all have to do the best we can to provide for our families financially and emotionally. Your kids will thank you for it when they are old enough to understand:)

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