Does the guilt of being a working mother ever go away??

(127 Posts)
Steelojames Tue 15-Nov-16 20:00:18

I am a single parent (dad no access) and went back to work full time when my daughter was one.
She is now three and I have gone down to four days a week (in education so job very very demanding). I planned to do this to initially spend the day with her but most times I send her to day care on this day off so i can have the day to myself and actually spend the day sorting out house so free's up weekend for me and her etc.
A friend of a friend today said something which made me question my decision to work full time, along the lines of being surprised that I worked full time with a child sooo young.
I now feel guilty! I feel guilt for sending her in to day care for five days & guilty for spending the day off to myself.....
After Xmas I've booked us some toddler classes to make it out day etc but hen plan to send her to nursery half day as really need some time to myself as don't get on weekends. I don't plan to be a sahm and with only my income I can't afford it and don't really think id enjoy it.
We have very active weekends, managing household, going out, visiting family etc so we do spend as much time together as we can etc.
Just want some reassurance that I'm doing the right thing.

Doyoufeelluckypunk Tue 15-Nov-16 20:03:02

Shame on your 'friend'

You know what is right for your family.

I get working mum guilt, but I kind of figure that part of being a mum is random guilt over most things!!!

Heirhelp Tue 15-Nov-16 20:03:26

I think Mums are programmed to feel guilty no matter what they do.

Research suggests that girls whose Mums work go on to achieve more in life.

JohnLapsleyParlabane Tue 15-Nov-16 20:03:28

I think you sound like you're doing brilliantly. And it's very sensible of you to carve out that time for yourself, everyone needs a break to recharge themselves.

limon Tue 15-Nov-16 20:05:37

Yes. There comes a day when you realise none if it has anything to do with anyone else.

Most mothers work outside the home by the way.

knowler Tue 15-Nov-16 20:06:37

You are doing the right thing. If I could, I'd give your friend a right telling off for being a judgemental, unhelpful fool. I work 4 days a week and don't feel guilty in the slightest. Neither should you - you sound like a great mum and role model for your daughter.

Backingvocals Tue 15-Nov-16 20:07:12

Ditch the guilt. You are doing a great job - why would guilt be a feature of your life? You have nothing to feel guilty about. You have a child to care for and provide for and you do both - job done.

Honestly this guilt thing is corrosive and a total waste of time.

And I speak as a single mother of two who works FT. I think I missed out on the guilt programming session smile

NavyandWhite Tue 15-Nov-16 20:07:40

Always been a sahm so can't comment on the guilt thing but I've always admired working mums and a big hats off to single working mums.

You're doing your best. That matters. As for you friend saying what she did? Tactless at best and pretty shit at worst.

ApplesTheHare Tue 15-Nov-16 20:09:32

Aw don't feel guilty, it sounds like you're doing a totally amazing job for your daughter, and good-quality childcare combined with your love and time together will be giving her the very best start in life. Shame on your friend.

ArmySal Tue 15-Nov-16 20:10:18

I work full time, I don't feel guilty. We'd probably get by on just my partner's earnings, but I enjoy working.
Tell your friend to button it grin

SparklyLeprechaun Tue 15-Nov-16 20:10:40

Did your friend offer to pay your bills? I thought not. Seems like you're doing just fine to me.

SovietKitsch Tue 15-Nov-16 20:11:29

I don't have working mother guilt, I really don't. Of course there are days when I'd rather be at home with them (e.g. if they're poorly and have to go to Granny's), but I don't feel guilty about it.

I think I used to once upon a time, til I remembered that the SAHM was an invention of the 50s - before that poor women have always had to work, and rich women had nannies. As long as children have a loving bond with their carers, there is no need for it to be their mum 24/7. And as a pp says, girls with working mum's actually do better in adult life.

JellyWitch Tue 15-Nov-16 20:12:03

Your friend clearly has no clue. You need to work to pay the bills - were you supposed to live on fresh air until your daughter started school?

I also think you are really sensible taking that time to get ontop of home jobs. I juggle laundry and other bits around working from home but still spend several hours of my only weekday with DD cleaning.

Believeitornot Tue 15-Nov-16 20:12:13

To ease the guilt can you get family to help at the weekend?
When I feel guilty I have a think about changes I can make. If I can't then I try and put it one side. But if I can then I change.

DoinItFine Tue 15-Nov-16 20:12:13

The guilt never starts if you think it's OK for people who have children to also have jobs.

4 days of working, 1 day to catch up on admin and chores, whole weekend with your child sounds a great balance.

I am impressed that you have figured out how to have regular childfree time when you are parenting completely by yourself.

That is so important for your own wellbeing.

SovietKitsch Tue 15-Nov-16 20:12:37

"Mum's" was my illiterate phone auto-correcting me!

EveOnline2016 Tue 15-Nov-16 20:13:34

It doesn't sound much of a friend.

I no longer feel guilt by working but that's because they are both in school

Greengoddess12 Tue 15-Nov-16 20:16:39

You are doing the right thing op.

You are doing what millions of women and men do world wide you work to provide for your child and ensure she is cared for and safe while you are away from her.

People would question you as a sahm on benefits. You won't win.

She will he fine and you are setting her a great example. And time to yourself is essential

Lilaclily Tue 15-Nov-16 20:16:55

I'd have her at home with you on a Friday and not have your weekends so hectic , there's no point rushing around and knackering yourself out for the rest of the week

SarfEast1cated Tue 15-Nov-16 20:17:43

My dd went to nursery when she was a year old and is still really good friends with children she met there. nursery was a really positive thing for her and my working kept me sane solvent and supported by work friends. Sounds like you're doing really well - well done

glueandstick Tue 15-Nov-16 20:20:15

The guilt of being a parent never goes. The guilt was part of the contract you signed at birth 😂.

Parents never win 😂

(You're doing fine smile )

KatharinaRosalie Tue 15-Nov-16 20:21:08

Friend can fuck off and mind their own business. I also get the 'oh poor you, working full time, isn't it sad you miss their childhood..'. Oddly those people have not offered to pay my mortgage.

Thatwaslulu Tue 15-Nov-16 20:23:08

Never felt guilty, always worked full time (with a part time job on top and I volunteer). I am not very maternal and while I love my DS dearly I would never be able to be a SAHM, it would drive me mad. I am in awe of those who can do it without wanting to commit murder.

ZigAZigAhh Tue 15-Nov-16 20:28:54

Another one here who missed out on the guilt programming. I went back to work FT 6 months ago when DS was 1 - yes it's chaotic and there have been some fairly awful weeks when DH, DS and/or I have all been sick with something or other, but we are muddling through and have such lovely weekends together which make it all worthwhile. Plus I (mostly) enjoy my job, I really enjoy the salary that comes with it, and why on earth should I feel guilty when DH doesn't?

We are thinking of trying for DC2 soon and if/when that happens I might think about going down to 4 days a week, but the thought of stopping working altogether (as some of my friends are planning to do) has never crossed my mind. I would be a terrible SAHM - my mum SAHM and I am full of admiration for her as she did such a great job of it whereas I was champing at the bit to get back to work after mat leave

So in short - it sounds like you are doing an amazing job, you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about (you should feel nothing but pride in how well you are balancing your work, your daughter and your personal needs) and your friend should keep her unhelpful "opinions" to herself flowers

JeepersMcoy Tue 15-Nov-16 20:30:17

I went back to work when dd was 6 months and was full time when she was a year. Now she is at school I have been able to afford to drop to 4 days and have the same set up as you. It makes so much difference to the quality of our weekends together having a day to get all the boring stuff sorted!

I have had plenty of comments about working full-time and just ignore them. It was what we needed to do for our family and dd loved going to nursery. I refuse to feel guilty for it and the fact is they would never dream of saying it to a man, so why should I be different because i don't have a penis.

Both my parents worked when I was a child and I don't remember it ever being an issue. I also think this played a factor in me never questioning that I would work as much as needed when dd was little.

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