Dear Working Mom, I Feel It Too
A few weeks ago, I received an email from a fellow working mother who simply asked:
how do you manage to not feel the guilt when you leave your little one at home?
Immediately I felt like a bit of a fake, not feel the guilt? Is that even possible? It was one of those times when I felt like my 12-point Arial font just wouldn’t be enough, no words from my head to that blinking cursor would come through with enough emotion and heart. I wish I could look her in the eye, face-to-face, over a cup of coffee, and I would tell her that isn’t the case at all.
I’ve felt it in the form of extreme sadness when it was my husband who took our daughter to her first day of Mother’s Day Out.
I’ve felt it in the form of anger and resentment when I couldn’t be the one who stayed home with her on the days she pleaded with me to do just that.
I’ve felt it in the form of selfishness when I get a mid-day picture of her and I can only think about how I wish it were me taking that picture instead.
And because I’ve felt all of those things, I am stronger and I have overcome many obstacles to step into the door of the school building at 7:15 each morning.
As I’m sure you are too, whether you are working from home, or your job is in the home, or you work miles away from home.
Believe me, I’ve felt the guilt you’re referring to and I think if you’re a working mother, you have probably felt it at one point or another as well. I think on any given morning (or evening, as sometimes those are the worst for me), your emotions have spanned the gamete. And my prayer for you is that you’ve experienced and felt just as many warm and fuzzy emotions, as you’ve felt guilt.
And my main take away from these past few years as a working mom is something all moms can benefit from hearing:
It’s okay to feel the guilt, as long as you aren’t living the guilt. Guilt isn’t there for you to dwell on, it isn’t there to dictate your life.
I don’t ever expect to stop feeling guilty, emotions are good, they are real. Just like I don’t ever expect to stop feeling happy when I see goodness.
As we think about our family growing, I’m not sure that this is where I will always be, but this season of my life will stay with me forever. I will always remember these days. I will remember how on the good days (which most days are) I felt like my heart might burst with satisfaction. A room full of kindergartners in one part of my life, and a home full of love and my favorite people in the other part of my life. And I’ll remember the bad days too, I’m sure. But my hope is that the good will always shine through.
How are you handling working and being a mom?
Does guilt get the best of you?
jennifer. thank you for this. i really don’t know what i am. i stay at home – but i work from home and i try to do it all. there is so much guilt. recently, it helped me to just tell ella. i will not be able to come to every field trip but i cannot wait to come to these! we looked at the list and she told me which ones she wanted me to be there most and we marked them down. i think it set expectations and relieved me of some of the guilt that i just cannot physically do it all. i am learning to say no as much as i can to other things that pull me away from the girls. thanks for sharing this. I LOVED your quote on not living in the guilt. i appreciate you.
I love the idea of letting them pick which field trips you go on!
Sweet Jennifer. This is so good and so honest, and so full of hope. You’re a great mama, and should be proud of your accomplishments at home and outside of the home! love you!
Goodness, I feel this guilt constantly!! Especially when my daughter throws herself across the door refusing to let me out. I like what you said about not letting the guilt dictate your life.
I work from home full time as a medical transcriptionist so while I am at home I am not really home. However, I feel extremely blessed that I am here and can pick them up in car line. I can be here when they are home sick. I can be here when they are out for snow etc. There are days when they are here I want to just curl up on the couch and watch cartoons or play a game or do something but I can’t. And then the mommy guilt kicks in. But they know they are loved more than anything. To be able to go on field trips I sit up until 1 or 2 a.m. getting work done so I can be “off” the next day. It is hard and I truly don’t know the answer in how to do it all. I guess we weren’t meant to.
Great post Jennifer, we don’t have kiddos yet, but balancing teaching with blogging and married life is a tough one still.
amen emily! one of my pet peeves is how single women and married-without-kids women are treated. we often assume they aren’t stressed or have pressures too. balance is an issue for everyone, no matter the season of life. so glad you are joining the discussion.
You so eloquently said what I often feel. It is SO HARD but at the time time, I feel like I am a better “me” for also taking the time to go to work and it also makes me a better mother.
Great post, Jennifer!
Wow. I love this. After waiting a number of years, until my littlest was in pre-k, I went back to work part time this year. Even though, I feel like I have the best situation worked out…a sitter that is a Godly influence and loves my kids…the guilt was still there. It is hard. Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone.