Working Mom Guilt, Easing My Mind

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Working Mom Guilt is Real

I want you to know, that while I write about the wonderful parts of being a working mother, and the fact that I really do love the direction that my life has taken in the past year, there are still some downsides. Working mom guilt is a harsh reality.

Nothing, no nothing, breaks a mother’s heart more than the plaintive cries of her wee one saying, “Mommy, I just want you..”

Because she is not lying.

She just wants mom.

And on some level, when I hear those words, I’ve failed my child in some way. I feel guilt. Deep, aching, working mom guilt.

Am I selfish for wanting to work, and enjoying my job, and quite frankly, the paycheck as well?

Is there something, anything, I can give up so that she has her heart’s desire this morning?

Is my mom guilt a sign that what I am doing is wrong?

Every family is going to have a different answer.

We don’t live lavishly, by any means. (And even if we did, there is no sin in enjoying the fruits of your labors. . . the worker is due his wage.)

My job allows us a little more wiggle-room in our family budget. It allows us to say “yes” more. It allows me to be able to give more generously. It eases my anxieties about one more kid wearing out shoes and ripping holes in pants and needing a check for $15 for lab fees.

Quite frankly, my going back to work at this point in our children’s lives was always in our family plan. We designed for my career to fund college. For six kids. That is a lot of college!

This is all a good thing.

My job touches lives. I like to think that the fruit of my labors makes things just a little easier for other families. I am very good at what I do.

Thinking through these things eases my working mom guilt a little.

But, the fact is, four year-olds have no real concept of any of those things. What she knows is that last year I was with her every minute of the day, and this year, I’m not.

That stings, that stings a lot.

Mom Guilt Solutions

I know that I need to do better at being present when I am with the kids. We live in a society filled with distractions. I have kid activities, church activities, and some fun things, like spending time with my mom friends.

There are times when I am home with the kids, and it is as if they don’t notice me. I am the invisible mom.

So this week, and in the days that follow,  I am going to work on being more intentional with my time with the kids. Whether that be planning the garden that I don’t want, but they do; coloring inside and outside of the lines for hours on end, or even watching “Frozen” one more time.

And when my kids whimper at daycare drop off, I’ll have to remember that they also cry over wearing socks, and eating foods that are good for them but they don’t like, and at bedtime. There are many, many things that my little children don’t like  . . . but only a few of these things rip at my heart.

Chime in! How do you moms deal with  working mom-guilt? (Do you have any tips for this relative newbie?)

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About the author : Dakotapam

I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and mom to six kids, including toddler twin girls. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!

3 comments to “Working Mom Guilt, Easing My Mind”

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  1. Ewe - March 25, 2014 Reply

    Recently my 6 year old has been very clingy and wanting more and more time with Mama by himself. I think sometimes it has to do with a phase they go through and less to do with what else mom does. That should make you feel better that even a kid with a SAHM complains that he doesn’t have enough time with Mom! I have tried to spend more one on one time with him, especially physical touch like back rubs while I read to him, hoping it helps. I have a lot with 3 boys different ages doing different activities and I’m sure you have even more with more kids and more activities. Balancing is difficult for women whether they work outside the home or not.

    • Dakotapam - March 25, 2014 Reply

      Thanks:) it is really hard to be pulled in multiple directions, both as a sahm and as a working mom. Neither job is easy.

  2. Maria W - March 26, 2014 Reply

    As a kid, I hated it when my mom went to work. My dad would work during the day and my mom would work at night. She was never there to read me bed time stories or tuck in me in at night. However, I completely understood that she needed to work to pay the bills. We would have been homeless if she didn’t work.

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