Guilt-Ridden Working Moms Are Becoming an Endangered Species

working momInteresting news for us working mamas today! Apparently, less and less mothers who work are feeling guilty these days. Awesome. As we shouldn't.

But while I fully support mothers who work and am obviously one myself, I can't say I personally fall into this category.

Not feeling pangs of guilt when my daughter is sweetly waving bye to me when I leave for the office? Or when the sitter texts photos to me at work (dagger to the heart!)? Ha! Laughable.

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As far as jobs go, I've got it good. I know this. I get to work out of my home a few days a week and commute into an office the other few. I find it to be a nice, flexible balance that allows me to spend more time with my daughter than were I in-office every day, and it saves me a lot on childcare. But even on the days that I shuffle down into my basement to begin work, I feel guilty. My daughter is very attached to me, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't secretly love this, but when it's time for me to head off to work, it isn't fun. There are many days when I have to physically extricate myself from my poor, sweet toddler, who just wants to hang out with her mama despite loving her babysitter. And when I'm downstairs and hear my daughter and the sitter laughing and having fun, it makes me happy. But it also makes me feel a little bummed out and a little guilty. Shouldn't I be the one playing with her? That said, though, I'm still happy.

This particular study notwithstanding, polls and stories like this often paint the guilt-stricken working mother as a woman who's sad, stressed out, and generally unhappy. I don't find that to be the case, even for someone who admittedly suffers from working mom guilt. I may feel guilty, but I'm still happy. And if I were a stay-at-home mom, I'd probably have similar feelings about different issues. Maybe I'd want to work and feel guilty about that? Maybe I'd be bored or lonely and feel guilty about not relishing in every single moment of my child's life? I can't imagine there wouldn't be one single thing about staying home that wouldn't bother me. But I'd still be happy, as plenty of SAHMs are. It isn't an all or nothing thing with mothers, despite the media's obsession with making it seem that way. We're more nuanced than that. And mom guilt -- something every mom experiences from time to time -- doesn't equate to "sad" or "unhappy" or "depressed." It, like elation, frustration, anger, and joy, is an emotion that's part of life. I suppose it's how you handle it that determines your overall well-being.

Like I said, if I were part of this poll, I'd definitely fall under the 13 percent, because very often I do feel guilty about working. But it doesn't plague my life or take over the relationship I have with my child. It's an aspect of my life. I've made peace with the fact that this is where I am right now, and choose to focus on the good that working brings me (and my daughter).

Sadly, the WM vs. SAHM mom battle continues to rage on (mainly thanks to the media), but I think one thing we moms can all agree on is that there are other emotions to parenting other than sheer joy. And that's okay. And that doesn't make us any less happy.

What do you feel guilty about when it comes to your kids?

 

Image via redshorts/Corbis

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