Guilt. It seems inevitable in motherhood. We are always second-guessing our decisions, questioning our abilities, and feeling the pressure to live up to standards—both our own & others. There are so many opportunities to feel guilty. Whether you stay at home, work full-time, work part-time, or work from home—though the reasons may be different, guilt is a real thing for all of us.
But today, I want to speak to my fellow working mama’s. Simply because that’s where I am at in this season of life—it’s what I can relate to and because I want to get specific.
To work or not to work. That’s the question that weighs on me most days. Some days I am more content in my working role while others prove to be a real struggle. Though the usual struggles (Mondays, getting to work on time, juggling errands) can determine my general attitude, the heavier burden is that of being a mother. And I don’t mean that it is heavy because it is loathed but because I love it so much that it rips my heart in two for wanting both work & my babe.
Speaking generally, there are two camps: stay at home Moms (SAHM) and working Moms, with big opinions on both sides. One side will imply that “you must not love your kids very much if you are able to give up so much time with them”—while from the other, you hear “you’re weak and unorganized if you can’t manage being both a mom and an employee.” And there we are in the middle of it all, just trying to make a decision on what’s best for our family & our situation.
What seems to go unnoticed amidst the array of opinions is…
…your tears when you have to set the baby aside to finish getting ready for work
…that the reason you look half-dressed 99.9% of the time is because you chose to snuggle & play with your kiddo instead of applying makeup and picking out your outfit
…that you’re a little happy when you get the call to come pick up your sick baby because now you have a reason to leave & be with your baby
…that at the same time, you feel bad for leaving your pile of responsibilities at work or inadvertently making someone else pick up your slack
…the shame you feel for actually enjoying the ability to turn off the mom radar and work on something other than poopy diapers
…the shame for wanting to only work on poopy diapers
…your fear of missing all the best moments of your child’s life
…your fear of your child missing out on making friends & growing alongside peers
…how you spend all of your break pumping to feed your baby the next day and scrolling through an endless roll of baby photos—wondering what it would be like to just quit so you can go scoop them up right now
…that the reason you’re late for work is partially because you chose to spend an extra few minutes kissing your baby goodbye
…that you have bags under your eyes because you had to stay up prepping bottles, packing diapers, & washing poopy outfits
…that you crave the weekend so you can be with your family
…that you also feel incredibly selfish for craving Monday and getting back to the “routine”
…that you feel limited as an employee because you are a mother
…that you feel limited as a mother because you are an employee
To be a working mom is to be torn.
And while for some it may be easier to choose one way or the other, many of us agonize over the decision. And continue to waffle most days with guilt on both sides.
Some of us have no option while others are just trying to make the best decision at this point in time.
From one guilty, working mom to another—it’s ok.
It’s going to continue to be ok.
You aren’t permanently scarring your child (or so I’m told). Your child doesn’t know a different lifestyle. In fact, chances are they’re quite happy in their situation (Jack certainly LOVES day care, made evident by his cheesy grin every morning when we arrive) and they’re not going to even remember that you weren’t home with them those 40+ hours a week when they were 5 months old. You might. But that’s backtracking.
You aren’t loving them any less. Being away from your baby makes you love them all the harder when you are actually with them because of all the missing that goes on. You’ll love your weekends and learn to make the most of the time that you have with them.
You aren’t choosing work over your child. It’s a good thing for your child to watch their parents work hard, in whatever capacity. And even though balance is a myth, you’ll learn to make it work in the day to day.
Your baby won’t forget who you are—you will always be Mama. That’s hard to forget through all the sleepless night snuggles and array of kisses at the end of the working day.
You are the parent of your child, no one will ever love them the way that you do. You are capable of making the best decision for you and your family. Regardless of what others may say or imply, you know best. Because just like every other choice in life, this isn’t a cookie cutter situation. One size does not fit all. And even when you find out what works for you—seasons will change and you may find something entirely different is called for.
What is in your family’s best interest? What will help them best as they grow? What sort of foundation do you want your family to have going forward? What do you hope for your future?
That may be cutting ties with your job for now so that you are there to help your kiddo navigate childhood step by step. That may be relinquishing your desire to stay home with them so that they can have more opportunities, go to a better school, have a college fund, etc. That may be pursuing something part-time because YOU are better for them when you have something outside the home. That may be pushing through some harder years now so that you’ll still have your job when you’re sending your kiddos off to school. That may also be choosing to stay home simply because juggling work & kids have caused exhaustion, neglect, distance. And their childhood shouldn’t be filled with those kind of memories…for either of you.
Regardless of what choice is best for you, be confident in your decision rather than wallow in guilt. Let’s make the most of the time that we have with our babies—be it 168 hours a week or 50. Let’s choose thankfulness & positivity in whatever situation we may be in. And let’s drop the stones and choose to encourage each other instead. We’ve all got enough going on without that drama. ❤️