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Dealing with guilt of being a constantly working mum after split...(26 Posts)
Not sure why posting in relationships really, except for the fact that there's a lot of sensible people on this board.
I split with DH about two/three months ago and he moved out. Relationship wasn't working, he was borderline abusive and wasn't contributing financially or participating in family life. Am generally much happier in my life, am moving on and no regrets. DD is taking it well so far, sees her dad regularly and all fine on that front. I have a really full-on, full-time job which I love. Money is tight, but all things considered I'm doing pretty well.
I just feel consumed with guilt about the amount I work. DD goes to nursery at 8 in the morning and I pick her up at about 6, we then have a longish commute. If she's still awake when I get home I always make time to play with her before bed. Quite often she falls asleep on the way home. I usually end up working after she's gone to bed. I just feel terrible about it, like I'm subordinating her needs to that of my career. I think the fact that I love my job makes it harder in a way... makes me feel even guiltier.
I don't really have any other option at the moment -- I need to earn the money to pay the mortgage/childcare. Couldn't easily downsize without selling my flat. And in my rational moments I know I'm doing what's best for her. But I still feel rubbish about it a lot of the time...
She went to sleep in the buggy again tonight before she got home and I have been crying for half an hour about what a rubbish mother I am. Am I being unnecessarily harsh on myself? Do I just need to man up and get over it? Or should I be moving heaven and earth to find a shorter hours, less stressful job which I enjoy less to spend more time with her?
You are being incredibly hard on yourself. You have been through a major life change recently and this is not the time to be making more big changes. You work hard to keep a roof over your child's head and to put food in the fridge. It is good for your own mental well being that you enjoy your work.
Be kind to yourself and take that whip off your back.
Thanks Finola. I know this at a rational level. And for a long time I was basically totally at peace with her being in childcare for long periods of the day...
Now her dad's moved out I feel like I'm abandoning her for most of the hours of the day and its killing me. I just really worry that she will grow up to think that both her dad and me left her in the hands of other people for most of the week at a time when it really matters...
She will go to school soon and I think in a way that will help as I know there won't be any alternative then.
But I still look back on her baby/toddler years and think "I could have been with you and I wasn't..."
I just read your post and want you to know that I think you are incredible many in your situation would not have stepped up like you have and all your daughter will think of you is "wow my mum really did everything she could to make sure I had a secure and stable childhood." I think she will think you are amazing and don't be so hard on yourself. You should be so so proud of yourself.
Don't beat yourself up. There are thousands of us out there doing exactly as you do through no option other than to get on with it.
You are doing the best for her, and setting a brilliant example. When she grows up, don't you want her to have a job she loves? This is a period if transition, so much has changed. You'll both get in the swing of things. Best of luck.
You are being too hard on yourself. I Would try to make sure that you always find time for fun stuff with her at the weekend and then you'll feel less guilty about the busy week days and she'll remember that too.
You're setting an amazing example and you sound like a great mum.
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate this.
I leave my daughter a lot. Like, go overseas for 5 nights in 14. It was "only" 4 in 14 when she was still in nursery. She was in nursery 4 days a week from 07:30-18:00.
I thought as you do.
Today, we saw her old nursery owner (small nursery, also worked hands on there) in a local shop. 3 years she went to that nursery 4 long days a week. Cuddled to sleep by that woman. Left 2 years ago. Didn't recognise her. Not at all. Even when I said her name, talked about nursery. Not a clue.
I think that distress can impact a child, for sure. But she sounds perfectly content. In which case, I doubt very much she's going to remember or be impacted by the hours. She wakes up with you. Goes home with you. Plays at the weekend with you. She's fine!
Are there any other family - aunties grand parents who could have her the odd day to give her a break from the childcare? You sound a bit isolated and it's tiring doing all of this alone. Maybe you both need a little break from the daily grind to give you a day out of the routine
If you can't do quantity, go for quality. (Sounds like you do) . Just remember that you could hAve days and days full of poor interaction if you were unemployed and depressed. Instead of which you can have weekends with happy times, and your Dd will have wonderful memories.
I'm sure it will feel different when she starts school.
Is there any way to reduce the commute?
In my home country most women work full time, it is "normal" and has been for a long time. Your little girl will be fine, it is harder for you than for her.
You seem lovely x
She will feel loved as you both make the most of your time together as it is so precious and you are a good example to her. Don't feel so guilty if you can help it, you're doing a great job.
Good post from Cabrinha.
I work FT, both my dc are now in primary and yes, that does make it a bit easier. I have similar wobbles at times (and I have a very short commute and I think my dc see me loads, all things considered), but other posters are right, you are doing an amazing job, carry on.
The point about distress is very important. Sometimes we see it all through grown up, (over) analytical eyes, and it drives us (me!) crazy. It's a cliche to say that kids are resilient, but if she was suffering adversely, you'd see it, you'd know it.
Sometimes I think we are just bloody programmed to feel sodding guilt. Go a bit easier on yourself. You also did a great thing for her by ending a relationship with a 'borderline abusive' man, albeit her father.
I am in a similar position, although a bit further down the line than you.
I keep a house over our heads, pay the bills, run a car, buy clothes, buy food, buy presents, pay for treats, even take us on holidays. I may not be there as much as I would like, but it does not mean I love her any less, or am less of a parent when I am there.
My free time revolves around her and we spend time doing wonderful things together. I hope that she will look back when she is grown up and remember our fun: how much we laughed and danced and played and baked and climbed trees and cwtched and just were. Time is not important - you can spend 24/7 with a child and neglect them horribly. Make your few hours count. She will remember.
cabrinha that's interesting, and encouraging. Amammi unfortunately not really... my mum is dead, dad loves her but is disabled and lives too far to be able to drop in. I don't have any other local relatives and do have local friends but don't really feel I can leave her with them.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not really isolated or lonely -- I do have good local friends and almost every weekend we spend with my friends or her friends or make an effort to do something nice together. Its not really about me wanting more "me" time, its about the worry that my time with her is pedestrian.
I think the pedestrian stuff are the building blocks of routine and stability, kids need that to feel safe and to make sense of the world. The pedestrian bit is just as important as the fun stuff IYSWIM.
The bottom line is - she has stability, security and love. You can't put a price on those things.
Nobody is in an ideal situation - we all just do the best we can, and as long as we provide those three things, our kids are golden. This is her normal, and she appears perfectly content. She doesn't know that things could be different - she's just pottering along.
And one day, she'll look back on this with adult understanding, and will know it was the right thing for you to do.
Alpaca she no longer naps in the day -- I did try reintroducing the nap but then she was up so late at night that my work started suffering (by agreement with my boss and just to keep things ticking over I have to get at least an hour's work done from home every night to keep up as I leave the office earlier than my colleagues). It was really unworkable.
She's going to school in September locally. I wlll still be working hard but the commute will improve -- I think I may just have to tough it out until then.
sparklyDMs I hear you and I've read in various books about how the pedestrian stuff is the cornerstone of day to day life etc. I can live with the pedestrian stuff being all I get during the week and if I get just an hour a day with her its OK. Its when I literally don't see her awake except to be chivvying her to put her shoes on in the morning that it makes me feel "what's the point?"
I was in exactly your place when ds was little and found it relentlessly exhausting so used to beat myself up too. All I can tell you is that I honestly do not think ds suffered. He is a great teenager now, perhaps a little too concerned about me sometimes but great fun, balanced, great academically. I think he suffered a little with confidence age 5/6 but probably just from not having his father around, and anyway it was temporary. You are doing the best you can and I'm sure it's great. Ditch the guilt and be proud of yourself for keeping it all together.
You're doing really well don't feel guilty. I know what you mean though; I've felt the same at times. Do you have a summer holiday planned or just some time off, so you have a block of time together before school starts?
A couple of observations:
1. A little bit of fabulous is better than a lot of nothing special
2. IME children need you more as they get older not less - pre 5 was a lot of physical care - bathroom issues, food, safety .... This could be done by many people including nursery .... Post 5 was more emotional and that was were parenting really kicked in for me
Summary - pre school = don't sweat the small stuff: and; during school = a few well placed chat are equaled the to a lot of mediocre activities
Charley I do have a summer holiday planned with her and really looking forward to it. I'm also taking 10 days off work when she starts school to settle her in.
Thanks everyone, think I just needed a bit of perspective.
It's the same for me and I've felt how you do. But then I remind myself:
I provide our home. That's the foundation of our security.
My ds sees how hard I work. I'm a great example to him there.
Sounds silly, but his pyjamas and bedding are always ironed. He knows that even though I couldn't do big gestures, sports day, school fete etc. I showed how much I cared for him even in the tiniest ways.
I am there for every pick-up. It might be a bit later than other mums, but I am ALWAYS there.
Our commute became our best quality time. We talked, sang along, made up silly words that only we knew. That time in the car bonded us.
No-one would choose this over being around more, but it absolutely does not mean a child feels any less loved or secure.
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