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Tell me what you think of "mommy guilt"

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am currently a working mom. I know I don't do everything perfectly, and sure, I probably should have remembered the end of the year presents for my son's teachers, but, well, I forgot. I also have a hard time keeping up with the house, with the meal planning, and I'm always feeling like I am falling behind on something. But, I don't feel guilty about these imperfections. I feel like I do the best I can, and we all make mistakes sometimes.

 

What I do feel, however, is a very strong desire to be spending more time with my children (21 mos and 4 years). For me, it is not "guilt," I don't feel like I'm doing the wrong thing, I know they are thriving with their babysitter and preschool for the older one, and I just really wish I had more time with them. I am constantly torn between wishing I could be home, but reluctant to leave my career.

 

People seem to really push the idea of "banishing," "ignoring," "eliminating," and "combating" mommy guilt. But I feel like for me, rather than mommy guilt, it is mommy desire, desire to be there more. And, I wouldn't want to banish that...

 

What does mommy guilt mean to you??

post #2 of 22
I try not to get dragged down by it, but I feel it all the time - for me it's a feeling of being pulled in several directions at once. I work full time and my daughter stays with my mom while I'm at work. I pump 3 times a day at work, fitting it in around whatever is going on.
It's the best possible childcare situation. They adore each other and I trust my mother implicitly but I still feel a pang that 4 days out of every 7, she's not with me. That's one of the main reasons why I cosleep and do everything else in my power to have her as close to me as possible whenever I'm not working. I try to be as present with her as possible when I do have her.
I like my job, I'm very challenged by it, and I want to continue growing in my field. It's important to me as well that she grow up knowing that her momma (and her, and any other woman) can do good things that make the world better. At some point my work will be more flexible, and I'll have more time with her.
No judgment against anyone who does it different, that's just how I feel for us.
post #3 of 22

I don't think that's what people are talking about when they use the words mommy guilt.  Usually it's in the context of social pressure to make different life choices or when a child wants or needs something and you are unavailable due to work reasons.

 

I am definitely feeling the mommy guilt right now...I am making not much money and dealing with a toug boss just trying to stay in my field...you know, the kind of thing you would do before kidsnwithout even thinking! I am hoping that in a year or two that daycare costs will go down and my career will take off again but who knows?

post #4 of 22

I definitely feel a lot of guilt. Full on guilt for sitting here at work instead of at home with my boys.

 

DH and I both work f/t and bring home fairly equal salaries. We are both well paid and enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle. However, we could get by on one salary. I think I would rather be a SAHM right now, but I just cannot seem to bring myself to leave my job. Whenever I get closer to making the decision, I panic and back out. I like the stability and comfort of having two incomes, should something ever happen to one of us or our positions. Furthermore, I worked my bum off throughout university and faced a lot of negativity and doubt from other people growing up. I come from a not-so-well-off family, and constantly feel the need to prove to people that I am somebody now. So I feel such unbelievable guilt now that I cannot shake my own desires and fears in order to stay home with my boys.

 

Plus, if I can just manage another 6 months here, I'll be back on Mat Leave. In Canada, I'll get 50 weeks of benefits, so yet another reason keeping me from leaving my job. I hear phrases like "they'll only be this age once, I'll have a lifetime to work" etc., and I am mad at myself that I cannot 100% think the same way. I am so torn, I know what I want to do but I just can't seem to make the leap. So yes... tons and tons and tons of guilt here!!!

post #5 of 22

Hmmm. Interesting to hear the perspectives on this one. I sympathize with all the responses, but I tend to fall in line with the OP's sentiments.

 

The only time I've felt genuine guilt was when my kids actively expressed wanting me at home. But simultaneously, they would also not want to go home when I picked them up from daycare ... so I took those expressions with a grain of salt. If my kids seemed truly unhappy most of the time, I would feel awful. And when I feel really unhappy about my job I also start to wonder if I'm doing the right thing. But mostly I feel like I'm a lucky woman.

post #6 of 22

Guilt about what? Going to school and earning my degree so I can pay for food and rent?

 

Guilt about job that gives up medical insurance?

 

 

My kids are 16 and 13 now and when I see theirs friends, I see no difference between kids who went to day care/preshool and the ones who have SAHMS.

post #7 of 22

I do feel guilty.    I feel guilty that I could not make things work with their dad.  That I picked their dad....

I feel guilty that I work so much and at a job that just leaves me wrecked at the end of the day.  And all for below poverty status.

I feel guilty that I do not have the energy, money or time their dad does.

I feel guilty when I spend time nurturing romantic relationships (after all I should be spending time with them right?)

I am going back to school and am going to plunge us into poverty (deeper than we are now).  i do not feel guilty that they are about to see me suck it up, kick ass and do what everyone my entire life has told me I cannot do.  I will also have way more free time once I am in school.  Maddee and I realized we would be in the same graduating class. :D

 

And it all comes from a desire to be that mom I used to be.   The better mom.  i feel like I am depriving and embarrassing them.

post #8 of 22

The only time I really feel guilty is when there is something at school that will only last 30 minutes,but would involve me rearranging several appointments, and therefore I can't swing it, and my daughter says "that's o.k. mom, I'll sit with my friend and her mom." And I remember that my schedule was more flexible when the older two were her age and I could make it to these things, then.

 

The rest of the time I feel o.k.
 

post #9 of 22

Interesting question, OP.  I always thought that "mommy guilt" was a sort of negative term coined to pile another letter of stress onto working moms.  That one should be feeling guilt because you're not doing the best possible thing for your kid(s). 

 

Problem is, I've never really felt it.  Like OP, I have a desire to spend more time with my DD, simply because I love her and I love being around her.  If I were independently wealthy, I would do just that!  However, I feel like we have a wonderful life as is and I'm not going to sit around wringing my hands in despair because of our choices/situation.  DD is thriving and knows that we love her dearly and that's the best evidence for me that everything is alright.  Sometimes I don't like to go to work but I would have the same feelings without a family. 

post #10 of 22
I'm with the OP on this one. I have an intense desire to spend more time with my kids but I'm not sure quitting my job would be the best decision for our entire family. Dh and I make about the same but neither of us make enough to live comfortably without the other income. So I don't feel guilty for working. Because I know that my income also provides for basics. Like food, clothing and tuition. I refuse to feel guilty for providing for ,y kids, but I do feel the pangs of just wanting more quality time with them.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

Interesting question, OP.  I always thought that "mommy guilt" was a sort of negative term coined to pile another letter of stress onto working moms.  That one should be feeling guilt because you're not doing the best possible thing for your kid(s). 

 

Problem is, I've never really felt it.  Like OP, I have a desire to spend more time with my DD, simply because I love her and I love being around her.  If I were independently wealthy, I would do just that!  However, I feel like we have a wonderful life as is and I'm not going to sit around wringing my hands in despair because of our choices/situation.  DD is thriving and knows that we love her dearly and that's the best evidence for me that everything is alright.  Sometimes I don't like to go to work but I would have the same feelings without a family. 


Pretty much this exactly. I miss my children when I'm at work and I love spending time with them. However, I don't feel guilty because I think they love their life just the way it is.

 

Because of our jobs, there are periods of extended time that they have to be away from one of us, usually my husband. I do feel very guilty about that.

post #12 of 22

I refuse to feel guilty over what I can't change.  If I can change it, I change it and then there is no need to feel guilty.  I reserve guilt for those situations where I have caused hurt to some one.  The guilt is there to remind me I need to make things right with that person. 
 

post #13 of 22

I felt guilty when I had to leave my two months old baby who was then breastfeeding to go for an overseas project. I left her with stocks of breast milk. I went back just for 3 days after two weeks in a project and she still wanted to breast feed. I returned home after another two weeks when the project finished. I tried to continue to breast feed her but she no longer wanted it. I was hurt when my baby refused to latch on and breast feed again, she was already 3 months when I returned. While I was overseas, I pump regularly hoping I can continue to breast feed her once I'm back. For weeks, I attempted to breast feed her again but everything I did was of no avail until my milk supply stopped.I just console myself of the thought that I will make it up when she's 5 months and ready to eat solid food. I promised I would feed her nutritious home-made baby food as much as possible. She's 7 months old now and most of the food she's eating are the one's I personally prepared.

post #14 of 22

For me "mommy guilt" is something I occasionally feel guilty about not having! Then I feel irritated that I'm expected to have it. I love my baby AND I'm very excited to be working again. He has a great time at day care. I'm relieved to be using my hard earned degree. I like having time to myself.  faint.gifGod forbid!

post #15 of 22

I don't have mommy guilt. My kids are cared for very well when I am away from them. Rationally, I think they even benefit from our real excellent nanny and really excellent part-time preschool.

 

I do have mommy rage, because I am bitter that I don't have the choice to be my child's at home caregiver. But that is another thread entirely. 

 
post #16 of 22

I was absolutely unhappy as a full time, stay at home mom, so I have no guilt about going back to work. It helps that my job is flexible and work from home, and my son has an awesome nanny- as another poster upthread said, he's thriving and that's proof it's ok. I think most people feel mommy guilt when they have to make choices that feel out of their control- like, they HAVE to work to pay the bills and have no other options, or they know a child care situation is not the best it could be but it's all they've got- they feel guilty they can't choose the absolute best for their family. I am extremely lucky I got to test out both roles (SAHM and WOHM) and we have the resources to select the childcare we want. Absent that, I might feel guilty. 

post #17 of 22

I feel no mommy guilt for working. My DH feels no daddy guilt for working either.

post #18 of 22

I love my work, the money I earn provides for critical things for our family, and I am happier and more balanced person because I have a job. The people who care for my daughter are part of a community of support that means the world to me and to her. I don't pretend that I can be everything for my daughter. I don't feel guilty about any of that. Like the OP, I do sometimes wish that I could spend more time with my daughter. I don't feel guilty about having that feeling, but I do ask myself if there are changes I could make in my life to allow that to happen. And I recognize that I'm doing the best I can with what I've got to work with.

 

I think we tend to push responsibility onto individual mother's shoulders for things that are large cultural, systemic issues. I'm talking about "Mommy guilt" as a media phenomenon. For example, instead of talking about creating reasonable maternity leave policies that extend to all working women, we'll talk about "mommy guilt" and make individual women feel bad for not overcoming a million obstacles to take more time off to be with their kids. That kind of nonsense.

post #19 of 22

While I wish I could've had a longer maternity leave, I've never had once had mommy guilt about working or seeing my child enough. My mom is still the best mom in the world, and she returned to work 6 weeks after I was born. My grandmothers both worked fulltime. I know as the child of a working mom that I never felt deprived of her love or attention. I make sure that my time with DD is quality and that she feels loved and "safe" with me. I also ensure that she's having a ball and learning lots when I'm not around. I love being a working mom. Is it tiring sometimes, hell yea!! But I love having something of my own, a different purpose, and being around colleagues and friends during the day.

post #20 of 22

I think that I have mommy guilt sometimes because I feel like I'm supposed to have mommy guilt.  But in reality, me working is necessary for our family and I enjoy it.  DS is a better kid for the exposure that he gets to different people and situations.  He has a three different caretakers sets (my parents, my in-laws, and a home daycare) throughout the week and the diversity of people has helped him to be excited about not being with me.  Each caregiver set has slightly different rules and routines and that has helped DS quickly learn to navigate different situations and behave accordingly.

 

I can only hope that DS2 thrives as much as DS1 has with me working.  It's hard not to feel guilty about leaving an infant though.  I feel guilty when I think about how DS2 will feel/think when all he's known for the first 12 weeks of his life is hanging out with mama and then suddenly, I'm not there. 

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