Working Mom Guilt- It’s the Real Deal

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Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

Both my husband and I work outside the home Monday through Friday. We are so fortunate to have lots of help from grandparents and send our kids to school and an in-home daycare. If you ask me, I’d say we are killing it most days, that is, until the working mom guilt creeps in. 

It’s there for Preschool Pick-up

The other day, Grandma was out of town. She usually picks up our son from preschool which gets out midday. No big deal. I left work at lunch (thank goodness for a flexible job) to go pick him up. I was pretty excited that I would get to see him in the middle of the day. As I walked into the preschool at 11:45am I was reminded so quickly that I was a working mom. I was reminded that, I am the exception. I walked to my son’s classroom passing dozens of moms in their yoga pants (no judgement here for the record, I live in yoga pants when not at work) pushing strollers of younger siblings, chit chatting about Kindergarten registration, to-do lists waiting for them at home and details about the upcoming class party. I was dressed in my business attire and felt like an outsider. For those of you unfamiliar with preschool pick up, there’s a whole process. I mean, it’s a thing. There’s an etiquette that only those who do it everyday would know about. You’ve got to line up, use a pin on an I-pad that the teacher holds, just to get access to your kid. Even that process quickly reveals an outsider, because if you’re new, it’s obvious.

The Guilt is Unavoidable

I love my job and have no plans on leaving it. Ever. Being a working mom comes with a lot of challenges. How will the kids get to school? Who’s picking them up? There’s the hustle and bustle of the week and getting dinner on the table when you aren’t home to prep it. Here’s the deal, of all the challenges that come with being a working mom, there is one challenge that takes the cake… working mom guilt!

Working mom guilt is real. While I love my job and have no regrets following my career dreams, I miss my kids. There are weeks when I feel like I didn’t get to see them. When my kids were really young, I would cry when I had to leave the house before they were awake or if they were in bed before I got home. It was excruciating.

Photo by Katie Emslie on Unsplash

I learned a long time ago to make sure that my time when I was home was spent in a positive way. I shifted my mindset. Time with my kids became about quality not quantity. Suddenly, the mom guilt started to fade. 

I also realize that when I am not home,  my kids are getting quality one-on-one time with their dad which he treasures and they love. In addition, routines and organization make it easier to ensure that I am capitalizing on all the time with my kids.

It Finds a Way to Creep In

Even still, the guilt never goes away. It comes back when the email to sign up to help with a class party goes out, or when it’s time to sign up for parent teacher conferences and all the time slots are midday. It comes back when a stay-at-home mom sends you  a message asking if you want to hear about her side hustle that has allowed her to stay home with her kids. Instantly, you are made to feel guilty that you don’t stay home.

I Don’t Want to Stay Home

Honestly, I don’t want to stay home. It is a choice. I work in education and am fortunate to have summers off to spend with my kids so for two and a half months out of the year I do stay home with my kids and guess what? I like to work. Overall, I enjoy my job and like the lifestyle it has afforded us. Even if I had the option to stay home, I don’t think I would. And there it is… guilt. Even saying that I don’t want to stay home brings guilt. Here’s to all you moms out there! Working moms, side hustle moms, stay-at-home moms, part time moms… we all feel guilt somewhere. You’ve got this. At the end of the day, do you and be proud of the mom that you are. 

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