I have a job that I absolutely love and am great at. Because of that, I work really hard and right now is the “busy season”. So, in anticipation of that I interviewed caregivers who could help out at the end of the work day. You see, my husband and I won the lotto…the magnet school lotto that is, which means that we get free childcare for my preschooler. Yes, that is right, entirely free preschool…enter another type of guilt. But, the magnet school that she won entry into is located in the middle of a field, really, and so what once was a 20 minute drop off/pick-up and commute became an hour drop off/pick-up and commute and leaving my office by 4:45 every day to make sure I can get both kids by 6 just won’t do.
Which brings me to the caregiver and the mom guilt. I interviewed and ended up selecting a fabulous young woman who is now picking up my children from their aftercare programs, driving them home, getting them a healthy snack, and hanging out with them until my husband and I get home around 6-6:30. This new schedule is soooooo helpful and the extra 1-1.5 hours at work each day is making a world of difference, but I feel sooooo guilty, which I hate. I feel guilty that I’m not the one picking them up. I feel guilty that I’m not the one there when they first get home. I feel guilty that they’re only young for so long and I’ll never get those hours back. I feel guilty and guilty and guilty… It’s enough to make a person lose their mind.
But, I love the work I’m doing and its so meaningful. And, when I’m with my kids, I’m really with them. We do activities together and I use my phone as minimally as possible–except the camera. At dinner time, we have conversations about their days and at night we read bed time books.
I guess I’m writing this blog because I assume I’m not the only mom who feels this way. I’m hoping that other moms who feel this same way can commiserate, and that by them commiserating it might help take some of the guilt away. I also wonder if dads feel this way too?
I know deep down inside that this is what I am meant to do–I worked hard to get where I’m at. I also know deep down inside that my children are their own people, and that the guilt I feel is mine alone, not a reaction to them at all. All that said, I can’t seem to shake it. If anyone has any words of wisdom or a magic spell, I’ll take it! Until now, my kids better get used to the unnecessarily large number of hugs and kisses being thrown their way.
2 thoughts on “Mom Guilt”
I struggle with this everyday. I too am a social worker, and addition to the mom guilt, I also have daughter guilt. My parents aren’t well and I spend all my time helping others, which leaves me no time to care for my own parents. I agree, it’s enough to drive you crazy. I guess I imagined that I would be willing to sacrifice my job for family but never vice versa. Unfortunately, while I find meaning in what I do, I mostly do it because we have created a life where we rely on two salaries. I find myself angry at my job for its lack of flexibility and lack of family friendly-ness. I can’t seem to find balance and I’m constantly burdened with guilt. I’m about to have a second child now, and am only feeling worse and worse about not being available to my children. People tell me my children will have a good work ethic, but that’s really not that major of a concern. I mostly feel bad, which in turn makes my husband feel bad that he can’t support the whole family. We all just survive.
Yes, yes, yes. I’m not there after school, I am not the one driving them to dance class or gymnastics, and I’m not even always the one home at dinner, but when I am there, the time together is meaningful. I think the guilt and time away encourages me to be a better mom – I ask questions I might not otherwise ask and sink into moments that might otherwise feel common place or mundane.