What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10Find out more
Guilt at working full time(26 Posts)
New to mumsnet but need a bit of advice. I go back to work full time in two months, my little girl will be about 8 months old by then. I have found an amazing childminder but I can't help feel guilty that I can't even drop one day a week of work. I put a request in for flexible working and it was declined, I've managed to secure another position bringing me closer to home but it will only save an hour a day.
Every single one of my friends have all gone back part time and keep saying they couldn't imagine going back full time and letting someone else bring their child up. I feel like being a parent is just one massive guilt trip from all these "perfect" mothers. I'm probably being a little unreasonable but I suppose I just wanted to hear from anyone in the same position? Or maybe anyone who has gone back to work full time, does it work? And am I a bad mother for putting my daughter in full time child care?! Of course I want what's best for her and that's a roof over our head and a good work ethic, my partner works away so it's mainly down to be Monday-Friday
Your friends aren't being very supportive!
I went back to work part time when my dd was 5 weeks and then gradually moved to full time when she was 7 months. I didn't have a choice at that point, we needed my salary or we wouldn't have had a roof over our heads! Like you none of my friends work full time and I didn't have anyone to speak to about how they felt doing it.
It has been ok, i found an amazing child minder for 2 days and nursery for 3. Honestly my dd has thrived! I have days where I leave the nursery feeling teary but probably no more than a sahm does when that becomes too much. No one should make disparaging comments to you or make you feel like you're letting her down. You're not.
You need to do what's best for you. I was lucky that I was able to stay at home and DH bring in enough to keep us going. We really struggled, but it was ok.
Don't let people guilt you into thinking what you're doing is wrong. It's not. There's no right or wrong, there's only what's right for you.
I went back to work full time when DS was 9 months. Going back part time wasn't an option for me because of the nature of my job & I'm the main earner. I did change my hours so I start & finish earlier so I miss rush hour & get more quality time with DS at the end of the day. I have an amazing CM who has DS four days a week. He has his dinner there so when I pick him we can just play, that makes a real difference so we're not rushing round when we get home. He goes to my mum's the other day so that gives me a bit of breathing space if I need to stay a bit later at work.
DP works away Monday to Friday so I do everything in the week. It was hard at first but now we've got into a routine & it works ok for us. My sole focus when we get home is DS, anything else waits until he has gone to bed. We make a real effort at the weekends & try and do lots as a family. We're lucky enough to have a cleaner at the moment and that has made a huge difference.
There will be lots of people who will raise their eyebrows when you say you're back full time which is really unfair, it's no one else's business. It does get tough sometimes, particularly if you're having a bad day but you get used to it and I now have a stock answer ready to rollout. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty, you are doing what you need to do for your family and you will make it work for you. Good luck.
Same here, went back when dd was 8 months to a new job and the first thing ppl say when they find out I have a young child I 'are you part time?'. No I'm not I'm full time just like most ppl in our organization! Dd likes nursery and I think she benefits from being with other children. My DH works away as well and my dd doesn't sleep well at all so it's really hard but it can be done and I'm not even that organized. I do have a bit of family help and an on off cleaner so I get to spend quality time with dd and DH at weekends which we couldn't afford if I was pt or a stay at home mum. We have also booked three holidays for this year again for quality time and I think it's a good reminder why I'm working - for the good of the family iykwim
I'd have stopped that conversation very short at "someone else bringing your child up" to be honest. How disgustingly rude. You are still the parent, you still make the parenting decisions and it will be you that she wants when she's tired or poorly. You don't switch off being a parent just because you're at work, you're still wondering what to make them for tea or fretting that they had a bad night last night.
Your friends sound horribly unsupportive but I admire anyone who manages to juggle full time work with a family, my husband and I both work full time and its bloody hard work but I like to think that we are setting our boys a really good example about working and not relying on handouts.
Both mine have loved nursery, and absolutely thrived and are extremely sociable kids as they've been used to mixing with other kids from being babies.
Don't let other people make you feel guilty!!
Oh yes and maybe you need some new friends! You aren't looking down on their choices but it sounds like they are being quite rude and inconsiderate to you.
Thank you all so much! I could genuinely cry and with relief that I am not the only person that really thinks it's fine to work full time! I'm sick of the fact people seem to think that as soon as you become a parent you are open to people constantly judging you and making you feel inferior. It's like parenting is one big competition for some. I love my little lady more than I can put into words but I'm genuinely looking forward to going back to work, I'd love to stay at home with her but it's just not an option. And yes I think I do need some better friends . Thank you all so much- I shouldn't need to justify my decisions and I should just tell them to piss off- but every single reply has made me feel more confident in doing so!!
That is terrible from your friends. How unsupportive. I remember these sort of comments when I went back to work fulltime. But dd is thriving, as yours will and you'll be doing what is best for your family. That is all that matters. I don't think the guilt ever goes, but in my opinion the guilt shows that your being a good mum.
Of course it's fine. And nobody else will be "bringing up your child". You are, will remain, and will always be her mother and nothing and nobody will ever change that.
Even if she loves her caregiver(s) very very much (and lets hope she does, because we want our children to love and be loved) then that will not diminish the love she has for you one jot. Love doesn't divide in two, it multiplies.
So please don't worry.
My kids had a nanny from when they were very small babies. We all have a loving and normal relationship
well as normal as it can be with teenagers and if you could see the absolutely fabulous relationship they have with their ex nanny (and her children now - they are like family) you wouldn't have a moment's hesitation.
Sorry if that's a bit soppy. I've had a glass of wine while I had dinner with my kids who are a pleasure to know and who respect that I have worked and strived to support them and give them the best start in life I possibly could
Good luck with your return to work. Try not to let the guilt get to you
I've been full time since DS was 12 months old - like a poster above I'm the main earner and senior management level, part time is just not an option in my role.
I feel crap about it, but we make the most of weekends and to be totally honest I didn't enjoy maternity leave so I'm happy to be in work, but perhaps 4 days of work a week would be better.
DS loves nursery so much. This morning he had a mini meltdown because we got him dressed and he thought he was going - but didn't.
In this day and age there are no easy choices. Many people have no family support, some can manage on one or part-time income, others can't or don't want to. You are doing your best, we all are.
Ignore the perfect mothers
You are and will remain the person who is bringing your child up
Some people can be really judges As a mum you have to get used to it It can start pre birth and goes on for a while breast/bottle,cloth/disposal nappies,work /don't work,child minder/nursery , X box/no X box and on and on
Do what you think is best for you family and hold your head high
And get some nicer friends
Best of British
I've always worked FT and don't feel guilty at all! I get the best of both worlds: a good career and quality time with the DC. And I'm teaching them a work ethic and that mums and dads have equal roles. There's pluses and minuses with every decision and I'd never judge anyone else for choosing differently, but it honestly works great for me.
And think of it this way - how often do we criticise working dads?
Did they really say that to you (not wanting others to bring up their child) or is that just your perception of their motivations in going part-time? If the former, I'd question the friendship to be honest. It's such a thoughtless thing to say and not true either. If it's the latter, then it's more about managing your reactions to other people's life decisions (diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks etc).
Thanks again all for your replies! It really does make me feel a lot more relaxed.
One friend told me how they couldn't bring themselves to have someone else bring their child up for the most important years of their lives and another told me that they thought about a childminder but thought it would be selfish to return to work when their child needed them. I guess they're not really friends! I have a few friends who are supportive but have gone back part time so don't really get where I'm coming from, but again, supportive of my choices!
Thanks again ladies! xx
Your friends sound incredibly smug and nasty, especially the comments about 'someone else bringing up your child'. Bollocks to that, you are and always be the parent.
I have two DDs, went back both times at 6 months (this was before current long mat leave) and you know what, they're fine. And always have been.
Not to be contradictory but don't dump your friends. It sounds like they were thinking out loud about their own situation rather than commenting on yours. It was inconsiderate and stupid but doesn't sound malicious.
I agree though, what works for you is important. I am part time, and I'll be honest, I hate it. I do it for the money but I'm currently on mat leave with number 2 and dreading returning. For better or worse I prefer being at home (which came as a shock I have to say, was expecting to be bored!). I've found different outlets, I study part time, I'm involved in the community locally. I love it. But I have friends in high profile careers who work full time and love it. So.... Just enjoy being a mum! However you find it works!
I went back full time after 10 mth mat leave but used vacation days to have a four day week for a few months. Am about to go on Mat leave #2 and am only taking 6 months this time. OP what reason did they give for declining your request? I'm interested because I really want to drop half a day by doing one day a week where I work from home for half a day but I'm also relatively senior and can see them saying no. samaritan did you try asking or did you just know it wouldnt work? Back to you OP - my DS was in nursery and enjoyed it. We decided when I got pg again to switch to a nanny as where we are, 2 in nursery is not much cheaper than a full time nanny. Either way though you'll have days when you don't want to leave your baby or they might be a bit fussy but the vast majority of the kids I know or have seen seem to get used to the new normal really quickly and usually love nursery and being with other little people. It's a balancing act but you'll all find your rhythm.
Come on, this is ridiculous!
Do you know any fathers with this fear?
Your friends haven't thought this through you sound like a wonderful parent.
I went back full time when dd was 8 mo and felt guilty. I could have easily worked part time I'm my job but we couldn't afford it.
After dd2 I went back part time (3.5 days). I still feel guilty - dd are 2 and 4 and neither of them have as much individual attention as I'd like. And finances are so stretched with 2 we can't afford things like swimming lessons that we used to when it was just dd.
So, I think the guilt goes on! I personally wouldn't be a sahm even if we could afford it - I wouldn't be any good and I'd miss work desperately. You find the best situation for you.
Don't dump those P/T or SAHM friends! Those may well be your salvation when DC are at school and the boiler breaks down or there's a flood and school closes for a day or two suddenly! I was a SAHM and ended up with a little gang when that happened as many friends had started going back to work and had no real back up.
Thanks all for your lovely responses. I won't dump the friends, they are extremely insensitive at times but everyone can be! I need to learn when to let things go over my head and anything to do with my daughter gets my defences straight up (probably should work on that one ) Really glad I asked on here- I can breathe a sigh of relief now!
Just wanted to add in another perspective! My mum went back to work when I was about a year old and worked full-time for my whole childhood. I've never, ever, felt anything but immensely proud of her and what she achieved. I know how hard it was for her to leave me and how guilty she felt, and I wish I had told her at the time that it was ok! As a bonus I had a series of fantastic childminders who gave me all sort of different experiences. I never felt abandoned, more like I had a whole team of people who cared about me.
I am pregnant with baby 3, and babies 1 and 2 are 10 and 12 now. I went back to work full time with babies 1 and 2 and endured all that you describe. I live in a very hippie village and endured many barbs from the other village mums about why they don't even understand why you'd have a baby if you were going to work.
It was hard working when they were little, but I have no regrets. I have such an interesting and fulfilling career. I make good money. My boys are smart, funny and well adjusted. They barely remember their early caregivers and do not feel they were raised by anyone else. They have had many advantages and experiences
We all make the choices that work best for our kids and in the long run, if we love them, talk to them, and teach them well the kids will be fine. Lots of women are really happy staying home, but I don't think the happy mums are the ones who are being snotty to you. It took me ages to see that the most judgemental mums were the most insecure. One recently tried to shame a friend about choosing a different secondary school, and we had a laugh that after 12 years of mothering she is still trying to mum-shame. Now she just seems kind of pathetic (she was the worst shamer when they were babies).
Not only will I go back to work with baby number 3, DH is taking the baby for 1/2 a day a week from 10 weeks old during my mat leave so I can stay in touch. This time, I feel no anxiety because I am very comfortable acknowledging that my identity as a woman has space to both be a mother and have my own career. It isn't easy, but you don't have to choose.
I had almost the opposite guilt where it looked like I might not go back to work (long story - ended up back part time in the end) and my friends were all going back part or full time, and I was worried my son would miss out on all the advantages of going to nursery!
I think whether working none, part or full time I will end up feeling guilty about something because I'm just that sort of person....
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.