Being a working mum, how does it not tear your emotions apart?(13 Posts)
Ok, I have been back part time for 5 months and my ds is 15 months. However, being at work and the transitions between work and home are ripping my emotions apart. One minute I'm fine, the next I'm moody, irritable and detached. Is not ds tha has avoidant attachment, it is me. I can't connect with him properly when I come home because I feel so guilty. I'm not being the kind of mum my mum was and it really gets to me. I have asked to go full time in November however I don't think will cope without totally switching off from ds and becoming cold and indifferent as a defence. Had a traumatic c section where ds was born flat and spent his first night in a hosp 4 hours from me and the next 10 days in an incubator. I don't know if this now has an impact on my feelings. I had no pnd, but since I've gone back to work have been feeling pretty low and alienated from other people.
I know where you're coming from. I've just changed from a part time to a full time job with a longer commute and the guilt I feel is horrible.
I haven't got much advice, just wanted to let you know you're not alone!
I try to think of every hour I spend away from DC as an hour when I am making their life a bit better by earning money to support them. My DC are very young and are very happy, content children though I work very long hours full time. More than 60 % of Mums work so your DS is in the majority. It is SO important not to let guilt make you treat him differently. Plan your time with him, allocate him a certain no of hugs and kisses a day. It will soon feel natural and the guilt will start to lift a bit as you will know you are doing all you can. Best of luck! It isn't easy!
It is normal to feel sad, guilty, worried etc about your pfb when returning to work. But it seems to me from your short post that you might be describing something more- words like 'ripped apart' and 'can't connect properly when I get home' and 'don't think will cope without totally switching off from ds'- these point to something bigger than most women experience, I think. Particularly as you have been back for five months so we're not talking early days. It seems to me that you might have put your finger on it when you talk about your ds' early days, and I wonder if there are some feelings left in you from that difficult time which are resurfacing now you are apart from your ds again. Buried feelings can sometimes rear their heads again at times like this . I'm talking as someone who was in group therapy with baby DD1 due to problems with attachment, and I noticed two possibly relevant things: first, a greater than average proportion of the other mothers in the group had had traumatic deliveries and/ or been parted from their baby in the early days (one or the other being ill) and b) the therapists kept a really close eye on us when we went back to work in case we
went nuts experienced difficulties. The other common denominator in the group was that without exception we all had poor relationships with our mothers but you don't mention that so may be irrelevant.
I think what I'm trying to say is, you're describing big and horrible feelings, more than gets solved with a few hugs and dedicated play time, in my amateur opinion. I foumd therapy very helpful, though I did have to be dragged into it.
Happy to talk more or to fuck off if you think I'm way off.
Why would having less contact with your child help? I think there's something bigger going on here.
I work 4 days a week and hate being away from my children (used to do three days). On my day off I maximise the time with them so I can really enjoy them.
The guilt eats me and I can't wait to be able to reduce back to three days again once finances permit.
Domesticslattern, that is really very helpful - thank you. Can I ask how you accessed the therapy? Was the group therapy better than individual do you think. I had 6 sessions early on funded by bliss, but it was rubbish....
Thank you Also to all the other posters
Sounds like you are going through a hard time but its great that you are able to express your feelings. Finding bonding difficult and dealing with guilt is very common but that should be addressed. I should think GP would be a good place to start for a referral. Good on you for making positive steps to get the relationship you want with your son
I think I was the same but my solution was the reverse. I found I couldn't cope with the Jekyll and Hyde of being a "work person" and then a "mum" ... they were two different personas and I couldn't be both at the same time. I found it extremely stressful.
I ended up becoming a SAHM when number 2 came along. I think that is a fairly common reason. It has been fine and we have coped on the reduced income. Just hard to get back into the work thing later on.
Do get some help if you find yourself distancing from kiddie... distancing is a a coping mechanism when you are under severe stress. Not good for either of you. Kids so need their mums.
I am in a very similar situation and am having counselling-PM me if you want details.
Thanks lisata, you've put your finger on it with the jelkl and Hyde thing. Super stressful. I would love to have no 2 and become a Sahm. I am super bonded with him, it's just when I am stressed the walls go up.girlmadeofstorms, will pm you.
Mummy guilt sucks. I'd feel guilty if I went back to work ft and guilty if I gave it up. I have recently increased my days at work to 4 from 3 as tbh I was finding two days with my DS's (4 and 2) a tad unfulfilling and they weren't getting the best of me plus I was stressed about never having enough time at work. Now we have just 1 quality day at home together and we do fun stuff, even if that's just playing at home. With 2 days at home I was doing cooking, laundry etc and going thru the motions. This suits me best but you just have to do whatever it is that feels most right for you. And ignore any bullshit spouted by the Daily Fail about how working mothers are doing their children a massive disservice.
How to access therapy.... mmm, it's a bit hit and miss depending what's in your area. In my area there are two options a) child psychologist attached to the local sure start centre (free, up to six private sesssions) or b) group therapy at a charity specialising in family mental health (paid for on sliding scale, longer commitment). Both accesssed through a HV referral though I imagine that you could also go through your GP. (You might need to persevere as they can be woefully uninformed about the services available). As for whether to go for group or individual therapy, I've tried both and both helpful in different ways. It can be good to be in a group to know you are not the only one (MN good for that too of course!) but inevitably there will be less focus specifically on you and your DS. Also the styles of therapy may be quite different- problem solving vs play based vs 'so, tell me about your mother' differences, I'd say. Keep an open mind, even if it has been less than helpful in the past. What I would say is move quickly as some of the parent-infant attachment services in my area only run up to 18 months, plus there may be a waiting list. And, of course, if you're going through hard times it's good to get it sorted as soon as you can so you can start enjoying DS again.
HTH- another one here happy to chat off line, especially if you are in the London area.
Join the discussion
Please login first.