Guilt and the Working Mom

Ah, yes. Guilt and the working mom. I'm pretty sure we all feel the burn trying to balance career with family every second of our lives from time to time. Today's momversation fronted by Heather and featuring Alice, Mindy and me, talks balancing work with motherhood. 

How do you balance it all? Does hope guilt spring eternal in the human breast? Is it an inescapable part of being a mother? Do you fathers feel it too?


P.S. Talking co-sleeping and how much I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OH MY GOD over here


Erin | 10:49 AM

I have NEVER felt so guily in my life. He spends more time at daycare than with me!!
I love the quote from momervastion about guilt means you somehow have a choice- where as most of us do not. We can not afford for me not to teach- and i LOVE teaching-
Guilt will just always be there-
PS- LOVING momervastion!

Mama | 10:57 AM

I feel guilty when I work my lousy 15 hours a week but I also know that if I don't take that "break", I'll go insane. I love my son (5)and daughter (3) but with another one due in April, I need all the breaks I can get. I'll roll with the guilt because I know the kids will be alright.

On a side note - you look smokin' hot with that hat on. I'm giggling at the fact that I'm telling a "stranger" that she's hot but damn woman, I am in awe at how beautiful you are. Inside and out.

hoppytoddle | 11:07 AM

Are you using my blog posts as topics??? Oh, you mean the world doesn't revolve around me? Ok.

Well, beyond what I wrote on my post before I saw this, I thin there's a switch at around MiniMe's age (3yo) She's able to fully grasp that she is a seperate person now. I think now it's almost an obligation, yes, to teach her that the world doesn't revolve around her.

I was/am selfish in wanting to not leave my kid. It makes things harder for me to try to leave because I'm the one who has to deal with the fallout. I like my kid more than (just about) anyone I know. There isn't any work out there right now that makes it cost effective for me to not be at home.

Anonymous | 11:13 AM

I recently found your blog in a roundabout way through other blogs and I just have to say I love reading it. Thank you so much for putting your thoughts out there for other mothers to enjoy. I loved catching this recent momervastion. I've been contemplating going back to work and it's been causing so much inner turmoil for me. Thanks for always making me feel like a normal parent.

Anonymous | 11:13 AM

I found you on Barefootfoodie...

I love the blog.

Ok. I am a 40 hour a week working mom, with 2 kids, a hubby and a home. I feel guilty all the time bacause this what my shcedule is like
5:50 am - Alarm
BEFORE 7:00 am - kids are fed, dressed, animals are feed and walked, I am showered and dressed, lunches are packed.
7:15 am - On way to Daycare/work
8:30 am - Work
5:00 pm - head to get kids
5:45 - get home
BEFORE 7:00 pm - Homework, dinner cooked and eaten, dishes, maybe a load of laundry washed
7:00 pm - kids baths
8:00 pm - kids bedtime


I hate it.


Average girl -- I'm on my knees before you, unworthy. I'm lucky enough that I have been able to make a portion of a living (Hal brings home the bulk of our bacon) working at home for the last four years. I will never bag on freelancing again.

Anonymous | 11:58 AM

YES! I'm totally going to steal this and make it a blog post. No offense. It's just that I can't cram all the ways I feel guilty into this comment box, they won't fit.

Here's a couple:

Spending time away from my wife and daughters while I'm at work.

Being away from my older kids, even though I know they're taken care of.


Nut Nut | 12:05 PM

I had guilt at first, but then I realized how much my boy loves being at daycare and how good it is for him (he goes to a really great daycare that is putting us in massive debt - now there is some guilt, but it has nothing to do with him). If I ever once felt like daycare was doing him injustice, I would default on our mortgage payments so we could be foreclosed on, move into an apartment, and one of us could stay home. Because we both have to work in order to keep paying our way too high mortgage payments.

Emery Jo | 12:10 PM

god i love these videos. so well put together.

I recently had an opportunity to work a dream job, but the timing was all sucky because I'm having a baby in like, moments. But I agree with you most strongly rebecca- I'm the best mom I can be when I'm taking care of the woman I am FIRST.

So, I've decided that I'm not throwing the idea of a job out all together. I'm going to try and go for it once I've got my feet under me again.

PS. I was at my doctor's today and saw your excerpt in the Nov. BabyTalk magazine. So very, very good. You inspire.

Erin | 12:27 PM

LOL Average Girl- it is like you are living my life!
It is wicked hard to sqeeze in quality time from 5-8:30---esp when everyone has to eat/bathe/have clean clothes etc.
Bringing Merrick into the kitchen with me to have him help make dinner has been amazing and are my fav. moments with him.
We too have a wicked expensive daycare, but they are great so that helps with the guilt.

Amelia Sprout | 12:57 PM

I feel guilty. Like others have said, more awake hours with daycare than with me. However, daycare is good for her, she's developing well there, so I remind myself about that. And that working now, because I need to financially, means that in the long run, we'll be able to do more.

I also have cut back on social things where she can't be involved. We don't go out much, we treasure the time after she goes to bed to get stuff done around the house, and I haven't mopped my kitchen floor in ages.

Anonymous | 2:36 PM

Balance is for tightrope walkers and gymnasts. I am trying to be OK with being unbalanced. Yeah, it's not working.

Mike | 3:17 PM

I'm a dad of teenagers (daughters) and I used to feel guilty not being around. As I grew older I found that the quality time out weighs the quantity time. When their with you make sure your spending your time being with them. Not distracted. They need good face to face time. You also need to balance time for yourself as well or you'll end up going crazy...

The Panic Room | 3:54 PM

I feel guilty because I work at home... and so I am right there, and he is right there, and he doesn't understand that I have to work. He doesn't get that I am not ignoring him. I think it would be better if I had an office or something that I went into and could close the door.

It feels awful. | 4:22 PM

Lovin the Momversations...

All mothers feel guilt over something. Working. Not Working. Etc.

It's inherent to our natures. Our biology MAKES us want to make them the center of the universe, but our minds scream in protest.

There IS a happy medium. It's just difficult to maintain it.

Relish the times you DO achieve it.

Anonymous | 6:38 PM

A wise thing I heard recently:

The word "should" is a lie. Anytime you find the voice in your head saying, "You SHOULD do... ____" it's just not true at all. I've been trying to re-frame that impulse to sound more like this: What's going to make me happy in this moment (or conversely, What's going to make me feel the least crappy?) Reading Baby 1-2-3 for the 7th time this hour, or going to refill my coffee cup? Emptying the dishwasher tonight, or in the morning? Leaving the laundry to wrinkle in the dryer or getting it later? Going to bed at 9 so that I actually feel rested in the morning, or staying up until 12 so that I have "me" time?

Guilt doesn't have to be a part of life, but it's WAY easier said than done. A happy woman is a happy momma; it's not selfish to want to be happy. I know I have trouble remembering this all the time, though.

pamela | 7:13 PM

wow. what a timely post. i have been racking my brain all day over wether or not to wean my babe. and i just can't get over how GUILTY i would feel. i feel like since i CAN, than why wouldn't i? but i am working full time and have been since she was 3mons (she's now 6)... i have a similar schedule to Average Girl... wake up at 5, baby off to grandmas at 6, gym, work 8, pick up 4, and so on...
it's a busy f-ing day, and sometimes i feel like i'm running a perpetual marathon. but then i try to keep things in perspective... it could be harder, it could be worse, at least i have a job, etc. i.e. guilt.
all in all, i think it is inescapable, even if it's just a little guilt...

This Must be the Place . . . | 9:33 PM

What perfect timing. I feel like um, super shitty shit for leaving, like I did today, for more than eight hours.

I'm lucky in that I a) am no longer breastfeeding and don't have to schlep a pump to work and b)work from home fairly often and have a pretty flexible schedule, so I manage to work quite a bit late at night so I can spend more time with my son during the day. I don't sleep and feel like even shittier shit physically because of this, but I still get to hang with Reed more than I would otherwise.

I try not to feel guilty. I am, after all, the family bread-winner, so it's, um, necessary that I work regularly. Still, I didn't have any maternity leave and had to work in the effing HOSPITAL after I had my son (but then, I didn't intend to be there for eight days, so there's that). But I still do. (Feel guilty that is, rather than work in the hospital, a place I don't often frequent. Knock, knock). We're trying to save money now so that I can take off four to six months when we have our next (last) bebe. Mostly, I feel guilty about the time factor that's coming up -- devoting a lot of time to a newborn and to work doesn't leave nearly enough time for my firstborn, so that's making us question having another anytime soon.

Ahh, guilt. Still, I am grateful, deeply grateful, that my work (and thus income) has not taken a hit, even a stumble, at this point. We can pay our bills, have a few extras, and save a bit (even if it's a minute bit). So we have it really, really good, in large part because of the time I spend away from my child, working, and thinking about this makes most of the guilt dissipate. Most of it.

sheSaidC2 | 7:19 AM

I really loved what you said about the days that you can relax and connect most with your children are the days you got the most done. This is exactly how I feel. When I have a whole day ahead of me, little work available to do (I freelance) or little time to get it done, I am distracted all day. I try and 'work' while we 'play.' I feel like crap, do all of them badly.

I feel like I can give my son much more QUALITY TIME, when I have the balance between kid time, me time and work time better. And without it, I just fall apart on all ends!

I think that it is important to give our children quality time and enough attention to know what they need... but beyond that it's crazy to think that mother's should only be staying home with their kids. It's an insane ideal that has not really exsisted in the evolution of humans.

The guilt I feel, is not that I am working, but that I Need it, Want it, almost prefer it (up to a point, I can't get enough hours ever so I don't know that side of it)

Chelsea | 7:39 AM

Rebecca, you guys are too cute. Hal is a hottie. You go girl! Cheers to having ridiculously good looking husbands sister!

Anonymous | 2:38 PM

Guilt. Where did that word generate from. Guilt leads us to feeling overwhelmed - crazy out of realistic behavior. Some of us have to work, but what about the love we do share when we are with our families? Where our focus is our lives soon follow (get it)!! Focus on the blessing of having children, raising them in an uncertain time, and holding on to memories. Increase your prayer life and ask Him for help!! It WORKS!!

Brad | 7:29 AM

I do feel like the breadwinner and therefore have less guilt than my wife. However, I do feel guilty when the kids don't want to go to daycare. It feels awful, but at some point my brain wins and reminds me that it's good for everybody in the family.

And let me just tell you... Mondays are always the hardest. My oldest is 5 and I still miss them terribly on Mondays.

Anonymous | 7:19 PM

My son is nearly 13 months old and we still co-sleep. My husband and I like having him close. Lately, friends and relatives have been up our butts about sharing their opinions (telling us we are crazy) about the arrangement. Everything from we are spoiling him to making him a dependent, needy sissy boy.

Honestly, I always hated cuddling with my husband at night. He always made me too hot and I prefer not to have my ass groped when trying to sleep, thanks-- so having the child between us during sleeping time isn't doing anything to hinder the mojo between us. Mommy daddy time just take place in other locations.

I plan to keep co-sleeping until one of us gets sick of it. I doubt the boy will be in bed with us for too long.