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Does the guilt ever go away???

(28 Posts)
OverflowingMum Fri 03-Dec-10 13:51:49

I have recently gone back to work after 5 years as a SAHM.
We have 6 kids aged 12,11,8,6,4 and 2.
I have had to go back to work at this point for financial reasons.
I do quite like my job, and I am lucky it is a good professional job, which I was lucky to get back into, and the pay is decent.
BUT I am just constantly eaten up by guilt sad
DS2 (2yrold) hates nursery and sobs every morning when I drop him off.I have just decided to make some changes to my hours to do 3 full days (was working same number of hours over 4 days before) so I can have 2 full days off, and have hired a Nanny, which DS2 will hopefully prefer and will hugely make life easier for me....
BUT now I am beside myself with guilt that my older kids will be collected from school by the Nanny and not me 3 days a week. I am sitting here sobbing just thinking about it.sad
I know I am being totally irrational, but I cant seem to help it.
So does the guilt ever go away??? When I wasn't working I felt guilty I couldn't afford certain things for the I'm guilty when I cant be there for them....
Am so fed up with it all sad
DH doesn't understand at all. All the decisions about childcare etc have been just a simple matter of figures and practicalities for him. I am so envious of him sometimes, that he doesnt feel like this. He just gets up and goes out to work, and thats it.No Guilt. No worry over who needs what for that day. No worrying about dropping a sobbing DS off at nursery. No worrying that one of the kids will be ill and school will ring to come and get them...
And no worrying that he isn't being the best parent he can be to them. Thats just apparently something for mothers to worry about. ALL THE TIME.sad

caramelcoffeelover Fri 03-Dec-10 15:08:11

I haven't had much advice to give as recently gave up work for that same reason and i only have 1 child! i must say you must be a superwoman to have time to sort the kids and work too. i'd say try and stick with it for a bit, don't make a rush decision and see how it goes in two months or so. you all are having to readjust. as you say, you had to go back to work for financial reasons so your feeling of guilt is going to be short-lived i reckon. give it time and if you are still feeling the same way try and convince your partner that you staying at home is a must and he has to improve on his income. surely he can't expect you to look after all 6 children, yourself, since in a professional job you have to look the part and probably him too when he comes back from work. in other words i'd see how it goes and then have a chat to him if still unhappy to see if he could earn more money and you look after the children and home.

jamaisjedors Fri 03-Dec-10 15:19:07


If you are the sort of person to feel inadequate (sounds like you are) then it will probably never go away unless you get a hold of yourself and make yourself stop it.

WHY do you feel guilty that the other kids are being picked up (so spending, say 4hrs a week with the Nanny and not you)?

Do you feel guilty that they HAVE to go to school and be without you?

Honestly if you go around looking for reasons to feel guilty you will always find some whatever choice you make.

OverflowingMum Fri 03-Dec-10 16:32:04

Thanks both

jaimaisjedors I think you are right really.
I am totally the sort of person to feel inadequate. I never feel I am doing a good enough job in anything (work, parenting, even hobbies LOL)
I suppose I feel that at the end of a long school day I should be there for the kids...WHY? I don't know.
I think I lived with a mother who felt the same when I was growing up. She had very high standards for everything and ended up in hospital with depression several times. I swore I would never put myself under so much pressure when I became a parent, but I think that subconsciously more of her expectations rubbed off on me than I realised.
Rationally I know the things I am expecting of myself are unreasonable ie to be there for my kids 24/7, to be financially comfortable, to have an immaculate home and fresh baked cakes, to be thin and pretty and calm and fun and loving, to always have the patience to help the kids calmly with homework, to be able to handle all DD3's special needs calmly and usefuly, to ensure all thekids have what they need when they need it....etc..and so the list goes on.
And when I can't live up to any of those I become overwhelmed by guilt....

I am really going to have to try to re-think things really...I need to get my mind used to not being able to please everyone all the time, and realising that sometimes I have to put my own wellbeing before the children,s...

I am sure that it is really my thinking that is at fault, and not the actual situations, as I have always been like this, no matter what situation I'm in.
A Nanny will make things easier for me. It's not the end of the world for them to be picked up by someone else, of course it isn't! And they'll just have to get used to it!

jamaisjedors Fri 03-Dec-10 20:20:09

It is hard though. I don't feel guilty about working really because I went back to work so quickly and there was never any question of doing it any other way.

But I totally get the stressing over stuff while DH looks on in amazement guilt-free.

Perhaps you should let him help you be a bit more like him - although not TOO much!

panettoinydog Fri 03-Dec-10 20:41:13

Yes, the guilt goes completely when you no longer need paid childcare and you look at your brilliant, happy, sensible (pre)teens who love ya and have no issue whatsoever with the choices you made.

OverflowingMum Sat 04-Dec-10 08:23:44

jamaisjadors Yes, I could try to be a BIT more like DH... but you're right, too much and chaos would reign!

panettoinydog Oh good, only about 10 years to go then LOL!!
OH, and not sure I could class my oldest 2 , who are now pre-teens, as sensible....and DS1 is perfecting the truly grumpy teenager act and would have us believe he has THE most miserable life not sure about that hmm LOL

fairyteapot Tue 07-Dec-10 22:25:23

panettoinydog you've made my day. Read this thread as it struck a chord - and what you said has really cheered me up! So thanks!

Sam001 Thu 20-Jan-11 18:05:39

hey overflowing Mum,
You must be a superwoman so instead of feeling guilty, you should feel proud of yourself and what you have done for these kids!!
I only have one daughter, but I quickly realised that feeling guilty is part and parcel of motherhood (not of fatherhood!)... so it is perfectly normal to feel this way.
Just bear in mind that you are doing what you can that is BEST for your kids, so dont be too hard on yourself. Just make sure that when you are with the kids, spend QUALITY time with them - and that;s what they will remember when they grow up.
Hope you feeling better

antinatter Thu 20-Jan-11 19:40:52

Hello overflowing mum. I think it's a decision whether to feel guilty or not. I know it's a really hard one to make but it can be a choice. I feel like I carry my guilt around with me like a talisman, it's almost as though I think that if I let it go something bad will happen to the kids when I am not there or they will grow up thinking that I don't love them! So in that respect I choose to hold on to it. But I know I don't have to.

One thing I would say is that you mention that your Mum possibly passed some issues and (unrealistic) expectations on to you. I think that is the best reason that you can think of to start modelling non-guilty, confident, respectful of yourself and them, behaviour. You may not feel it initially but I really believe that by pretending to be a something, you can actually become it. Your kids will then learn good lessons from you about confidence and self-respect and not being 'perfect'. Personally I think overall that would be a better thing to hand on to them than to be insecure but constantly around with a tidy house and excellent hobbies!

Also, remember re: the childcare situation that they will pick on how you are feeling about it. They would probably prefer to be picked up by you rather than the nanny, although the nanny is fine! However, if you are not confident and happy about the situation then they will find that chink and work at it. Kids can be pretty good at that I find.

OverflowingMum Sun 23-Jan-11 20:29:03

oh, this is quite an old thread, but great to see a couple of new replies on here!

I have been working hard to drop the guilt, and am getting there! The nanny has been working for us for 3 weeks now, and it seems to be going OK. I am making a big effort to appear calm and confident about the situation! I have also just agreed to increase my working hours from 3 to 4 days...(long story but didnt have much choice LOL) and so am working hard to drop all the associated guilt that goes with that!

antinatter that is a good point about what you pass on. I do try, especially now with my oldest daughter, to think about the sort of things I am modeling to her. I have explained to her, for exapmle, that in an ideal world I may work less/do things differently, but, that weighing up all the differing things that I need to work right now, and that I am doing my best to ensure that they have the best possible care when I'm not there etc...and that there are also lots of advantages to me working etc...
Hopefully she will learn about the choices you have to make in life, anbd the idea that sometimes you have to compromise on some things....

thepinkspade Mon 24-Jan-11 19:51:35

Does anyone else think that as mums we're sort of 'expected' to feel guilty? As many of you say, dads don't seem to have to feel guilty all the time, so why should we?

I firmly believe that we all make the best decisions we can at the time, given our circumstances. We shouldn't beat ourselves up about it (but we do!).

I want my daughter to grow up believing that work is a positive thing, she'll have to spend enough time doing it. And we certainly are role models for our children... I really hope that she will grow up proud of her mum for being good at a job she loves as well as being a great mum to the daughter she loves...

Georgimama Mon 24-Jan-11 19:59:35

I agree that we are expected to feel guilty. I am regularly asked (by colleagues!) whether I feel guilty for working full time and they seem genuinely astounded when I say no. I am missing out, yes I am, I accept that, but I don't feel guilty.

"to be there for my kids 24/7, to be financially comfortable, to have an immaculate home and fresh baked cakes, to be thin and pretty and calm and fun and loving, to always have the patience to help the kids calmly with homework, to be able to handle all DD3's special needs calmly and usefuly, to ensure all thekids have what they need when they need it....etc..and so the list goes on."

This sounds like a recipe for mental illness. Do not aspire to it.

As for why your husband manages to skip off to work without a second thought or a backward glance - because he knows you've got it all on your plate! What most women need is a wife....

thepinkspade Wed 26-Jan-11 20:19:10

Good for you georgimama! I don't feel guilty much either - I'm doing the best I can and am fundamentally happy with my choices.

I don't know about a wife, but I could certainly do with a cleaner and a PA! Maybe that's the same thing?

OverflowingMum Wed 26-Jan-11 20:21:15

"What most women need is a wife" You know that is spot on!!!!

I have compromised and insisted on hiring a nanny...not quite as good as a wife...but a start!

I am V frustarted today as I have just agreed an increase in my hours meaning I will go to 80% of full time, and DH SAYS all the right things about helping more...but when it comes to it...yep, the majority STILL falls to me!
Who is sorting out ALL the paper work for the Nanny??? Who does school ring about DD3s Ed Psych app??? Who has to deal with asking the Nanny not to give the DC sweets everyday??? Who has to arrange the babysitter for tomorrow night so we can go to DDs concert??? Who has to organise extra food for DDs for concert rehearsal??? Who has to worry about the fact that DD3 didnt have her 1:1 session today (and then ring the head tomrrow) ??? etc...etc...etc...
And when I mention it to DH he REALLY just doesnt get it!!
And he gets to come home in V bad mood, complaining of work being stressful etc...yet despite having a totally stressful week at work myself I just have to get on with it!
I am so stressed and tired this week I even dont have time for guilt LOL

OverflowingMum Wed 26-Jan-11 20:26:05

pinkspade I think that is an interesting point about being expected to feel guilty.
I , in truth, and quite surprisingly to me, am really enjoying my job. And that in itself almost feels wrong!!! I do need to accept that it is like my work...and not to feel guilty for that!!
What I dont enjoy is still doing everything else too... LOL

SarahZombie Fri 28-Jan-11 10:18:04

I agree with pinkspade, I enjoy my work and see it as a time to be a grown up - my own litle time. But it is also very hard to keep upon everything else and not feel bad about enjoying being away from them.

I struggled with my working hours as I kept missing bed times or tea times or important milestones - I did go back to work quite quickly too - So I asked my boss if I could work half days and then when DC was going to school I could amend my hours to resolve.

I was quite lucky that they saw this as a suitable suggestion - now I get to spend alot more time with DC.

At first DC was very wary of Nursery and would get upset when I left so I tried to reward when I came to collect them as much as possible - now DC is happy there.

Hope this helps.

oldbabe Fri 28-Jan-11 22:57:54

No it doesnt sad
I have been a mum for 25 years, my youngest is 9, I've had to work full time for years as the main wage earner. I've learned to live with it, had to

GeoPuzzles Thu 02-Jun-11 22:35:07

are two parent workers the best thing for our society?
our future society being the children we are bringing up now?

Bohica Wed 15-Jun-11 21:33:45

You plucked out an old thread here Geo

I don't get your point?

Are you trying to tell the op, who has already said she needs to work for financial reasons she is made the wrong decision?

Make a guilty feeling mother feel worse hmm

Start a new thread if you have a statement to make.

GeoPuzzles Wed 06-Jul-11 23:10:37

whoops, wasnt trying to make anybody feel worse
just asking the question really..
new to this

FunnysInTheGarden Wed 06-Jul-11 23:17:59

two parents who work FT is often a necessity. I feel guilty about not spending enough time with DS2 who is 16 months and for not collecting DS1 from school (he is 5). But the reality is I can't as I have to work FT. Have great childcare and DH is a teacher, so spends loads more time with the DS's then me,but I still feel a bit sad and guilty. Ah Nevermind.

archersaddict Wed 13-Jul-11 13:36:07

I don't think people should assume that everyone has a choice. Some people need to work for their sanity not just financial reasons and no one has the right to comment on whether someone stays at home or goes out to work. Being a parent is hard enough without feeling like people are judging you. I am a working mum and have been since my first child was 7 months old. Yes I feel guilty at times, yes I love my job, yes I realise that you can't have everything. For me it's about being a good parent when you are there not just being there all the time. Parents are grown ups who know what's right for them. I can guarantee it's rarely a decision taken lightly.

anniemac Thu 14-Jul-11 15:30:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OverflowingMum Thu 14-Jul-11 18:42:42

an old thread I had forgotten I started!
interesting comments though.
Yes, in truth I do now have to work for financial reaosns ( serious possibility of losing house if I didnt) and,in all truth if I could totally chose I would CURRENTLY prefer not to work.That is a personal choice though based on my personal family situation. Different people make different choices for different reasons. Often there isnt much "choice" in the decisions...
That said, I do actually enjoy my job. It is nice to get a break form being at home with dc all the time.and I am lucky to be in a relatively well paid job, in a very handy location.
Anyway...several months on the guilt is still there, but I am learning to live with it! This couple of weeks is particular nightmare with all the extra assemblies/trips/sports days to fit in , and I cant get to all of them. God boost to the Mummy guilt!
Interesting it seems to be different in different cultures...amybe I need to move abroad!grin

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