Working mother guilt...

Laura - posted on 01/08/2009 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Can anyone give me some advice on how to deal with the guilt that I'm not at home with my son.

My son is 4 years old and since he was 3 he has been in a creche full time (9am-6pm).

I took a break last summer from May to July and I was going mad with frustration at home and so was my son so the solution is defintely not to give up work. I feel awful every day when I have to leave him and in the evenings when I get a couple of precious hours with him I smother him with affection...so much that he actually says 'Mammy, stop kissing and cuddling me I want to play'.



I feel like I'm missing out on precious years that I can never get back does anyone feel the same as me or am I an overprotective mother??

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Amy - posted on 01/09/2009

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You are not over-protective, I think it is normal to feel that way.  I have to work because we need my income, and I feel so bad at night when I try to split the precious few hours between my two year old and three month old.  I miss them both so much during the day. 

Barb - posted on 01/08/2009

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You are not being overprotective.  I wish I could stay home (even though like you I'm not the stay at home type of person) but it's just not fesible.  I would be most happy if I could work a couple days a week and be home the rest but since that's not possible I just spend as much time as I can with my daughter.



I have found to help with the guilt, is to make sure we eat dinner together every night and we talk about what happened that day.  Even though my daughter is only 15 months old, she loves this.  She even tries to chime in when my husband and I are talking about work and the such.  I use my weekends as time spend with her.  I don't worry about cleaning house, laundry, nothing except for playing with her.  I save all of that for when she is napping or after she goes to bed

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Laura - posted on 01/13/2009

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Thank you to all the wonderful mothers that have replied to me on this subject!! It is so nice to know I am not alone.  I tried to reply to everyone individually but it is taking me forever, and as all working mothers know...time is something we don't have a lot of!!



 



So again, thank you everyone for taking the time to respond...all of you have helped me greatly and I already feel less guilt!!  I know I'm doing the best I can..which is all any mother can do!!xx

Laura - posted on 01/13/2009

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Quoting Gloria:



Laura,






There are so very many of us that share your thoughts.  It is important that we know ourselves.  You indicated that you are not cut out for the stay home deal. Ok, so don't punished yourself.  Everyone is not cut out for the stay home mom situation. And trust me there are many working moms (not all, but many) that say that want to stay home with their child/children, but if given the chance, they would agree with you. 






Time is precious and the formative years are limited. So if you get there and want to cuddle,  you just cuddle til you can hold him no more.  And when you think he is too big to cuddle and you stop...... he will find his way back to you..  My best to you. Take care.






Thank you Gloria your reply was touching!!xx

Laura - posted on 01/13/2009

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Quoting Beth:

What you dont realize is that your teaching your child some valuable lessons about life. I know your missing your child but like Barb Boggs has posted here, eating together really is important. The house work will always be there but your child will only be little once. At 4 children can start help preparing meals with you. At that time your getting something done that needs doing and you can talk at the same time. My son is now 6 and hes been "helping" mommy in the kitchen since he was 3. I even bought him his own apron and chefs hat. Makes things fun and he really truly thinks I need the help cause I cant do it on my own. He thinks now he can stir things on the stove...that wont happen quite yet. So there are more ways than one to spend time with them and get things accomplished and oh yeah I forgot to tell you the most important thing....my son is so proud of himself when I say he made this dinner for the family tonite. I give him the credit. My son can make meatloaf all by himself. I just have to put it in the oven and take it out. He loves this. Now getting him to pick up his toys is another thing.



thank you for your practical advice Beth, I will definitely be using your idea to get my son helping in the kitchen!!

Laura - posted on 01/13/2009

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Quoting Sheri:

I know how you feel. Its hard to leave my kids at home while going to work. It helps me to think that I am helping my daughter by being a role model for her and to help her understand that there is a big world of opportunities for her out there. When we are fulfilled as a person, we have more to offer as a parent. This is the best gift we can give our kids beside just time.
We are still good moms, but we are being responsible moms too!



thank you Sheri your right I would not be happy if I was at home and if I'm not happy how can I be a good mother.  this answer made me feel a lot better!!

Laura - posted on 01/13/2009

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Quoting Sara:

I struggle with this too, and my daughter isn't even 5 months old yet. Not working (or at least not replacing my income) isn't an option for us either at this time. I miss her so much. I am happy, however, that I was able to find an excellent daycare for her, and she is learning more there than I can teach her. One of her teachers reads to them in spanish, they visit the residents of the senior living facility, and she is learning things from her peers, and teaching them things. For example: she loves tummy time, but one of the other infant boys HATES tummy time. But when they put the two together for tummy time, the boy does great because my daughter is talking and squealing up a storm to him - and he seems to forget that he's not comfortable. Also, when she's in a circle with two or three of the other girls, they all start babbling like crazy to each other. That's interaction and reinforcement I can't provide at home and makes me feel good that my daughter is already having a positive impact on the world around her.

But when she's home with me... I can't get enough of her.



thank you for your advice Sara, it's great to hear your little one learns so much...and it made me see the other side of the coin, my son is being well prepared for school and interacting far more than if he was stuck at home with me.

Laura - posted on 01/13/2009

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Quoting Sally:



I suggest you re-evaluate the decision of having to go back to work. If your answer still remains that indeed, you need to keep working, than you will need to take the pressure/guilt off yourself. I say re-evaluate the decision, because as working moms, we are always questioning if it is really better to work or stay at home. You are the only person who an only answer that for yourself. If it helps, try writing a journal or diary about your feelings. This can serve as an outlet for the guilt you may be feeling. Talk to other working moms, sometimes that helps to. All in all, try to be easy on yourself. You love your son, he knows it/feels it and is only too happy to know that you are there. Juggling work and mother hood is not easy, so be proud that you are one of the many moms that is willing to provide for her child the best way you know how. Hopefully, this has helped you a little. Don't feel guilty, you are a wonderful mom and your son loves you so much for who you are.






Thank you sally, I did re-evaluate my decision with the help of my partner and I need to work for financial reasons and for myself.  Your answer helped a lot.

Laura - posted on 01/13/2009

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Quoting Barb:



You are not being overprotective.  I wish I could stay home (even though like you I'm not the stay at home type of person) but it's just not fesible.  I would be most happy if I could work a couple days a week and be home the rest but since that's not possible I just spend as much time as I can with my daughter.






I have found to help with the guilt, is to make sure we eat dinner together every night and we talk about what happened that day.  Even though my daughter is only 15 months old, she loves this.  She even tries to chime in when my husband and I are talking about work and the such.  I use my weekends as time spend with her.  I don't worry about cleaning house, laundry, nothing except for playing with her.  I save all of that for when she is napping or after she goes to bed





Thank you Barb you gave me practical and helpful advise which I have started to use already!! And its nice to know I'm not alone!!

Karina - posted on 01/13/2009

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i can relate to you. i think that its qualty time you are spending with your son, quality over quantity....i mean there are parents that would spend all day with their children and not make the most of it. dont feel guilty, you are providing and showing him a balanced life.

Shana - posted on 01/12/2009

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I am so glad I'm not the only one dealing with this. My son will be 4 in April and I did stay home with him for a yr. but because of the finances I had to go back to work. Some days I am o.k. and others I just want to cry because I don't feel like I'm doing my job as a mom...My son has C.P. so I am constantly having to deal with therapists, doctors, medicaid, wic, work, etc.I know I drive my husband nuts at times but knowing that he understands and knowing that he has a great daycare to go to everyday does give me relief.

Aimee - posted on 01/12/2009

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I think you are feeling what every working mother feels. I had to come to the reality that I was actually feeling guilty because I was to frustrated to stay at home and working was a good adult outlet for me (not to mention the income). I decided that I am a better mom when I work because I appreciate the time I have with my son even more. You are not being overprotective, it sounds like you are just trying to find your balance. I'm sure we will struggle with finding balance forever, I think it is just part of the mommy job.

Lora - posted on 01/12/2009

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I know exactly how you are feeling! I dealt with it my kids where that age. I still feel that way at times and my kids are teenagers now! I'm currently working evening shift for the last 9 years. I missed so much with them. They are at school when I am off and when I work they are off school! You are not an overprotective mother. Enjoy every minute you got with them. They do grow up fast! How I wish I can turn the clock back and do it all over again!

Lora - posted on 01/12/2009

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I know exactly how you are feeling! I dealt with it my kids where that age. I still feel that way at times and my kids are teenagers now! I'm currently working evening shift for the last 9 years. I missed so much with them. They are at school when I am off and when I work they are off school! You are not an overprotective mother. Enjoy every minute you got with them. They do grow up fast! How I wish I can turn the clock back and do it all over again!

Helen - posted on 01/11/2009

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hi my daughter is 13mths now and im back to work 19this month, gonna do nights 7 on 7 off 70hr wk so i can spend every other wk with ellie this way i get a full time wage but only work 6mths of the year i really hope this works out as i still need to pay my mortgage

Chrissey - posted on 01/11/2009

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I've had my oldest in daycare since he was 13 months old. He's now 4 years old too.

I went to school for a year, and since then ive been working full time. Oh, and in that time i had another baby! So now both my boys ( the youngest also started daycare at 13 months) are both in daycare from 830am-6pm. I do feel bad too most days, but I know both my boys enjoy daycare. They have so many fun activites there.



At one point i want to give up working too, so i could stay home. I also felt i was missing all the precious time too. As a single mother I decide that I need work and also to show them that im reaching my goals even with the extra of taking care of them. Its so tiring everyday since now im pregnant again and due very soon! We just have to organize our time and any time that we do have with our kids should be charished.



Im going to be home soon with my new baby and my youngest son. Im so excited! My oldest son will be off doing his regular activites with school. :D

Beth - posted on 01/11/2009

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What you dont realize is that your teaching your child some valuable lessons about life. I know your missing your child but like Barb Boggs has posted here, eating together really is important. The house work will always be there but your child will only be little once. At 4 children can start help preparing meals with you. At that time your getting something done that needs doing and you can talk at the same time. My son is now 6 and hes been "helping" mommy in the kitchen since he was 3. I even bought him his own apron and chefs hat. Makes things fun and he really truly thinks I need the help cause I cant do it on my own. He thinks now he can stir things on the stove...that wont happen quite yet. So there are more ways than one to spend time with them and get things accomplished and oh yeah I forgot to tell you the most important thing....my son is so proud of himself when I say he made this dinner for the family tonite. I give him the credit. My son can make meatloaf all by himself. I just have to put it in the oven and take it out. He loves this. Now getting him to pick up his toys is another thing.

Nikki - posted on 01/11/2009

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I feel the same way but am fortunate enough to have a great employer that allows a somewhat flexible work schedule. Many companies now offer a work-from-home environment - if you haven't looked into that I would suggest you do. I didn't think my employer would allow it but to my surprise, I was given 1 day a week from home. That helped tremendously, especially since I have a long commute to work. Cutting out that drive allowed me to spend more time with my family. Never be afraid to ask for things like this - you'd be surprised with the response sometimes!

Sheri - posted on 01/10/2009

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I know how you feel. Its hard to leave my kids at home while going to work. It helps me to think that I am helping my daughter by being a role model for her and to help her understand that there is a big world of opportunities for her out there. When we are fulfilled as a person, we have more to offer as a parent. This is the best gift we can give our kids beside just time.

We are still good moms, but we are being responsible moms too!

Sara - posted on 01/10/2009

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I struggle with this too, and my daughter isn't even 5 months old yet. Not working (or at least not replacing my income) isn't an option for us either at this time. I miss her so much. I am happy, however, that I was able to find an excellent daycare for her, and she is learning more there than I can teach her. One of her teachers reads to them in spanish, they visit the residents of the senior living facility, and she is learning things from her peers, and teaching them things. For example: she loves tummy time, but one of the other infant boys HATES tummy time. But when they put the two together for tummy time, the boy does great because my daughter is talking and squealing up a storm to him - and he seems to forget that he's not comfortable. Also, when she's in a circle with two or three of the other girls, they all start babbling like crazy to each other. That's interaction and reinforcement I can't provide at home and makes me feel good that my daughter is already having a positive impact on the world around her.



But when she's home with me... I can't get enough of her.

Sally - posted on 01/09/2009

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I suggest you re-evaluate the decision of having to go back to work. If your answer still remains that indeed, you need to keep working, than you will need to take the pressure/guilt off yourself. I say re-evaluate the decision, because as working moms, we are always questioning if it is really better to work or stay at home. You are the only person who an only answer that for yourself. If it helps, try writing a journal or diary about your feelings. This can serve as an outlet for the guilt you may be feeling. Talk to other working moms, sometimes that helps to. All in all, try to be easy on yourself. You love your son, he knows it/feels it and is only too happy to know that you are there. Juggling work and mother hood is not easy, so be proud that you are one of the many moms that is willing to provide for her child the best way you know how. Hopefully, this has helped you a little. Don't feel guilty, you are a wonderful mom and your son loves you so much for who you are.

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