Managing Working Mom Guilt

mom-guilt

I know that many Moms, whether you work-outside-the- home, stay-at-home, or work-at-home, struggle with feelings of Mom Guilt. Lately, I’ve been having some major Mom Guilt about my little one being in daycare while I’m at work.

Some History

My youngest, who is 3, is the first of my kids to be in daycare. The first two were at home during the day with my ex-husband, who, at the time, worked an overnight shift in order to make that happen. An entirely different kind of guilt was going on in that scenario. We were also living in Florida, where commuting means a 20 or 30-minute drive, not the 60-minute drive that many of us in Atlanta deal with each day. Bottom line: things were different back then.

Long Days

I love my job and my profession and I feel fortunate to work for an amazing organization. The downside is the long commute from where I live and where my son goes to daycare. There are times that my job can be more demanding than others which add up to longer and more draining days.

That translates to my little one spending long days at daycare. Typically, I drop him off at 7:00 so that I can get to work by 8:00. If I leave at 5:00, I don’t get to daycare until 6:00 (if there are no accidents or issues on the roads in Atlanta, which, you know RARELY happens…ahem). That’s eleven hours that he’s at school and I am seriously struggling with this.

Rationalization

I know, I know. He’s in a safe and fun environment and he’s surrounded by professionals who are taking great care of him. Not sitting in traffic with me, strapped into a car seat and feeling my stress about how long it’s taking us to get home. He’s learning and he’s playing and happy. He’s getting snacks. I’m setting a positive example for him by showing him that his Mom helped to provide for our family and worked hard to be successful in her career.

When we’re at home, I try to give him my undivided attention and spend quality time with him. The weekends, especially, are considered family time.

Advice Needed

Logically, I know all of those things, but how can I resolve it in my mind so that I don’t feel guilty? How do other working Moms manage it?

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6 Responses to Managing Working Mom Guilt

  1. Eileen Crowley December 7, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    Guilt VS Fear:

    I settled in a career that was time demanding. As the Director of Catering for a major hotel chain, nights and weekends were the norm. Monday-Friday -business hours were expected.

    When I became pregnant with my one and only, bundle of joy, I was 42. I was also in an unstable relationship. I quickly knew that I would be a single Mom.

    Almost never home on the weekends, needing to tend to the bride that was getting married at the hotel, the bar mitzvah that would happen on Sunday or the required staff meeting on Wednesday’s, I was struggling with balance. My child’s father was also causing havoc. I was fearful. My son was in daycare early each week morning and with my mother on the weekends.

    I was fortunate to have an apartment across the street from the day care and my work place less than a mile. I would steal time during the day, using lunch, a break or a gut instinct, to sneak out and spend a few moments with my son.

    I needed to know he was safe. I needed to bond as he was still under the age of 2! I needed to cry. And I needed a few minutes to pull myself together, get back to work and pretend everything was wonderful.

    Consumed with guilt and filled with fear, was now my life.

    As I dealt with the police (on many occasions) due to outbursts from the Father, trying to keep my son safe, trying to keep the bride happy and trying stay alert to maintain the job I worked so hard to obtain and needed to feed my child, I became an internal emotional wreck.

    But the worst was yet to come. I had no idea what was brewing in the background….

    A co-worker, I will simply refer to as: Ms. Busy Body, decided it was her mission to document when I left work, actually left work HERSELF to drive by my home to see if I was there, turned several co-workers against me and reported me to HR.

    Now, with my financial livelihood on the line, I was forced to share my very personal story with management. Ms. Busy Body had no idea what was really happening and still doesn’t. Thank Goodness!

    I had a wonderful leader who took me aside, assured me that all was okay and offered to come to my apartment to help repair the broken furniture that occurred from my ex. He assured me that I did not have to share my story with HR and that he would keep it to himself. And he did. I am forever grateful.

    Ms.Busy Body, while gloating at her accomplishment, had no clue what was happening in my life, the fear for my child, the guilt of not being there and the nightmare I was living. I still have the letter of “employment violation” that was placed on me. The only write up I have ever received in my now 40 years of working!

    Eventually I left that particular hotel. Today, the same brand endorses, encourages and supports the needed balance of the working mother, the single mother and the single father.

    I went on to become a leader in the workplace. I am still a leader in the workplace. And that letter of employment violation has guided me to be passionate and understanding to my staff. I have shared my story with employees. I told what Ms. Busy Body did too me. You know, glass house, throwing stones….

    I am sensitive to the working mother. I offer time off, a few minutes away to hug their child, to attend the school play, to have breakfast at school. I don’t intrude but let my staff know that it’s okay to not “share” why, I simply trust them. I want them to be guilt-free as a mother and never fear their job to be with their kids.

    As for Ms. Busy Body, well, she requested to be friends on Facebook. I didn’t respond for a month. Finally, I did. I don’t pay much attention, but seems her life is “eh”
    And the staff members that were brought into the conflict, reached out to me, in tears and apologized.

    As for my ex: Well, he was deported, for 20 years. Domestic Violence. No, Ms. Busy Body doesn’t know this.

    I understand guilt.

    • Julia
      Julia December 7, 2016 at 11:25 am #

      Eileen thank you for sharing your story and for being so brave. Being a mom is the most rewarding role we have but also challenging. So glad we can be here to be part of your story. Hang in there!

      • Eileen December 7, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

        Thanks Julie -my son is now 17! We made it!!!

    • Jen
      Jen December 8, 2016 at 8:38 am #

      Eileen – Thank you so much for sharing your story! I remember some of those moments during that time in your life. I did not know (or need to know) all of the details, but I never had a doubt that you would PREVAIL over all of those challenges!

      (I do remember your water breaking while wearing the red maternity outfit that I also wore when pregnant with Mackenzie!)

      You’ve done an amazing job with Patrick! He’s so lucky to have you as a role model!

      Love you girl! xoxo

  2. Eileen December 10, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Thanks Jen! I love the blog- because it truly takes a village! And sharing maternity clothes! Lol

  3. Nekeidra Taylor January 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm #

    From a mom who is at home…because there is also guilt on this side when you find yourself at the end of the rope because all you hear ALL DAY is “MOMMMMMYYY.” It is tough either way.