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To feel so guilty and sad about not being the main carer?

(25 Posts)
Guiltymama11 Sat 08-Oct-11 14:14:39

I have a DS aged 2. I am training in a v full on career - lots of early starts and late nights. It's also flexible so I do often see DS during the day if not in morning and evening, but missing so many bedtimes/wake ups is making me so sad.

DS seems happy - DH is largely SAHD. BUT I feel awful not being the main carer - I have my times with DS but I'm never the main one who knows what is going on with him. It's still not at all a common situation and I just feel like a bad mother sometimes.

I'm only a few weeks in so I may just get used to it but ATM it is v hard, even though I'm loving the training in all other ways.
AIBU, considering that DS seems fine?

notabankersmum Sat 08-Oct-11 14:18:08

It's still not at all a common situation and I just feel like a bad mother sometimes.

It is a very common situation, that 1 parent is the main carer, and the other less so.

My father was a bit of a workaholic as we were growing up, but he was always a loving father. He certainly wasn't a "bad" father just because he worked and my mum stayed at home. He looked after us just as much as mum, it was just that his "role" in providing was slightly different. Not bad, not better, just different.

I think they key is to making sure that the time you do have together is good - e.g. when we were younger Friday nights were always mum's night off, and dad normally took us to the cinema or to the swimming pool after school. Saturdays was their night where we normally ended up at GPs or (later) friends houses/babysitter.

Being a good parent isn't about being there all the time - it's much more than that. Don't worry. smile

Guiltymama11 Sat 08-Oct-11 14:51:30

Thanks notabankersmum, that's a really nice post, and I know it makes complete sense logically.
But somehow it seems much harder emotionally for me than it was for DH to work FT - perhaps because I was the one who was pregnant, breastfed etc? But perhaps this is unreasonable...

fedupofnamechanging Sat 08-Oct-11 15:00:52

What you are doing is working to bring in the money to keep a roof over you child's head and food in his tummy. That is a very, very important thing - as important as the stuff the sahp does.

My dh is at work a lot. My dc still love him as much as they love me and need him. My dh feels the wrench, when he goes away for work, but I think that once you accept what you are doing is for their future as well as your own, it becomes easier to accept it as necessary and as important as all the stuff being done at home.

Guiltymama11 Sat 08-Oct-11 22:08:26

Thanks karma that's really helpful too.

Sushiqueen Sat 08-Oct-11 22:16:13

I am sure your DS will be fine - it will be you that has to come to terms with it all, which can be hard.

When DD was a baby to toddler, DH used to work from home one day a week and she was with him all day. The rest of the week she was in nursery as we both work full-time.

DH was the one who took her for her first day at school ( I had to work), he did most of the school runs etc.

I did find it hard but we had no choice. But despite all this she is a real mummy's girl. I just made sure that when I was around, she got my time and attention (even if it was "helping" me dust).

She knows she is loved by both of us and I am sure your DS will be exactly the same smile

Guiltymama11 Sat 08-Oct-11 22:57:57

Thanks Sushi- it's good to hear about your experience. This arrangement seems to work well for both DH and DS but I'm just not comfortable with it yet. I miss DS so much! I am used to being a SAHM. I suppose time will tell if things get better.

NYCorLondon Sun 09-Oct-11 11:22:31

We've got a similar situation (dh works freelance and hours are less than full time) - and it is hard. Sometimes I have to travel and I do miss them so much. Or when I don't know all the ins and outs of school I get a bit guilty.

But we do have lots of fun together. My leave is just for them, weekends we nearly always do fun things. So we have quality time together which we love. I don't think it's degraded our relationship at all. And I think it's good for children to see dads equally responsible for childcare as most families with one parent at home usually have the mum.

I do sometimes feel very jealous of dh having more time with the children but I think that's me and not anything negative going on with the children.

Guiltymama11 Sun 09-Oct-11 16:13:16

Thanks NYCorLondon - it is really good to hear from someone in a similar situation, and I'm glad it seems to (mostly) work for you.

Maybe it is so hard as DS is only just 2 and so I still see him as my baby and it feels weird not be there for bedtimes etc.

Friends who are Mums often tell me that they couldn't do what I am doing. I keep thinking of that phrase people say - they're only little once...

WoeIsMeAgain Sun 09-Oct-11 17:05:55

why do you have to do the full on career now

why not wait until the child is a little old and more self sufficient

just seems so sad to have a child and never see it

notabankersmum Sun 09-Oct-11 17:49:06

But WoeIsMeAgain she is seeing her child every day - she's said her job is quite flexible so e.g. gets to see DC mornings and evenings sometimes even.

That's more than can be said for most of the working dads I know (family, friends).

just seems so sad to have a child and never see it

hmm Don't be ridiculous. The OP is working fulltime but seeing her child just as much as any other working parent. Would you accuse all the working parents in this country of "never seeing" their children? In which case, do you have any constructive advice as to what the OP does, since someone has to pay for the roof over their head, the food in their bellies, and the electric bills when they come in? Hmmm?

Proudnreallyveryscary Sun 09-Oct-11 17:51:32

She doesn't have a child she 'never sees' for fuck's sake!
Oh god I know how this thread is going to go.
Sick of this crap.

notabankersmum Sun 09-Oct-11 17:53:38

[sits on hands, trying not to point out that if OP had a penis, he'd be patted on the head and soothed for being such a good provider]

Must... resist... getting.. drawn.. into WoeIsMeAgain's crap....

Pandemoniaa Sun 09-Oct-11 17:59:51

"just seems so sad to have a child and never see it".

What a spectacularly unhelpful comment. Take no notice, OP, this sort of attitude clearly comes from the Victorian era.

It'd be lovely if we could all stay home and look after our children all the time yet mysteriously earn enough to pay mortgages/rent/bills and food but that's neither realistic nor possible - and this goes for both mothers and fathers.

The important thing is not to allow anyone to make you feel guilty for being a responsible, working parent. Instead, make the very best of the time you spend with your ds and revel in the joy of having him.

Moulesfrites Sun 09-Oct-11 18:02:07

Such a shame after so many genuinely helpful comments that woeisme came along with a sexist and illogical post. Ignore it op!

fluffythevampirestabber Sun 09-Oct-11 18:08:12

I am separated soon to be divorced from my H

I have 2 girls aged 9 and almost 13 who are still at home iyswim?

I am at uni full time and my XH is having them almost half the time to enable this.

And I am sick fed up to the back teeth with mums at the school gate judging me and tutting and thinking I am a bad mother and isn't my xh fantastic for doing what he does.

I am at uni (like you're at work) to provide for my kids. I miss them, sure I do, but I know I'm doing the right thing for them. And if I was a man, no one would bat an eyelid.

Yes I feel sad when they're not here every evening after school. But I think it's good for them to see me out doing something and not sitting on my arse.

TadlowDogIncident Sun 09-Oct-11 18:54:15

I'm in the same position as you, OP, except that my job is not terribly flexible so I only see DS in the mornings before work during the week. I occasionally feel a bit judged by other people (not all of them even parents themselves!), but I don't feel guilty. DS is at home with DH, he adores his Dad, they have a nice time together. We have a couple of hours together every morning, and I always hear from DH what he's been up to during the day, so I feel in touch with how he's developing and what he likes, doesn't like etc.

My job keeps a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on DS's back. I'll be damned if I feel guilty about it when no man ever would. You're doing the best you can for your DS's long term prospects - you ought to feel proud of yourself for being able to take on a demanding new career.

TadlowDogIncident Sun 09-Oct-11 18:54:38

Ah, see I cross-posted with fluffy to say many of the same things!

MamaGeekChic Sun 09-Oct-11 19:01:26

I'm in the same situation so you are most definately not alone. I went back to work full time (read 50+ hours and nights away travelling) when DD was only 9weeks old, it's a massive wrench. She's almost 6months old now and I find it really difficult that she's starting to show some preference to DP (he's a SAHD) and he knows the little nuances of her character etc so much better than I do. I just console myself that I'm doing everything I can to provide the best possible future for us all. I'm still learning how to deal with it all though so watching this thread with interest...

Guiltymama11 Sun 09-Oct-11 20:30:22

Thanks all. woeismeagain has kind of hit the nail on the head, in terms of my sense of guilt. On the other hand, I know logically that a) I do see DS every day, and more than a lot of other working parents and b) that a man wouldn't feel guilty for doing what I am doing.

But I DO feel awful - part of it is this illogical guilt probably based on centuries of sexism etc. But part of it is also sadness - that I really do want to see DS every bedtime and it kills me to not see him sometimes for over 24 hours. This doesn't happen everyday but it is very very hard.
I am inspired by what fluffy and tadlow wrote - you both sound like you are doing an amazing job at supporting your families. tadlow - I too feel judged sometimes.
Mamageekchic - DS also shows a preference for DH at times and I do find it a bit tough...

I am considering making changes to my training or even postponing it for a while. But maybe this is a bit drastic. It's horrible to feel so torn!

NYCorLondon Sun 09-Oct-11 21:35:30

I think that there are two different factors. There are your feelings and your child's wellbeing.

On the second one, your DS is fine!! He's with his Dad, has quality time with you and you're providing for the family.

As for your feelings, well, that one's harder and i really do empathise. If for your own well-being you decide to change things, that's understandable. We all love our children and enjoy being with them (mostly!) but don't do it because of guilt. You've no reason to be guilty and you're not disadvantaging your DS in any way whatsoever!!!

helendigestives Sun 09-Oct-11 21:37:56

My Dad brought up me and my two siblings (now 25, 30 and 35 respectively) while my Mum went out to work as a teacher and earned the money. It is entirely normal for our family, so I can forget that it's not the norm for others. I can appreciate that my Mum sacrificed time with us in order to feed and house the whole family, and I'm so grateful to her for doing so, just as I would have been if Dad had gone out to work. We've had quite a few conversations about it over the years, and it has helped to make us closer.

Pandygirl Sun 09-Oct-11 21:54:45

In our house (when I was growng up) my mum stayed at home whilst my dad went to work, and worked abroad for 2 years.

Now I'm an adult I'm much closer to my dad than my mum - I don't think it matters who the SAHP is, I think its who "gets" you more.

Guiltymama11 Mon 10-Oct-11 13:57:15

Thanks again for all the replies.
NYCorLondon - that's exactly it, I think. The main problem is my own feelings. But on the other hand I am wondering if it is also difficult for DS to have a completely different main carer now?

He keeps asking for 'Daddy' all the time instead of me - even when I am there. It is breaking my heart I have to admit. AIBU about that?

TadlowDogIncident Mon 10-Oct-11 15:32:55

YANBU to be very upset, of course, but it won't be damaging your son. DS always wants his dad,even though he had me at home when I was on maternity leave. He's happy to be with me provided he can't see DH!

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