The Mom Guilt is Real: Working Outside the Home

My husband and I drop the girls off for their first day of daycare. There are children everywhere. It’s loud. It’s chaotic. Organized chaos but nonetheless chaotic. When we get in the car, my husband lets out an exasperated sigh. Twice. Enter mom guilt.The Mom Guilt is Real: Working Outside the Home | Duluth Moms Blog

Last week I run out of the house. It doesn’t matter that I don’t receive an appropriate goodbye hug and kiss from either of my girls. There are numerous tears being shed and runny noses needing to be blown. I can not get out of there fast enough. Cue the mom guilt.

I’m sitting in my first faculty meeting watching the clock like a hawk. We started 10 minutes late. The minutes tick by. Physically I am present but mentally I am checked out as the meeting was supposed to end 5, no 10, no 15 minutes ago. That’s 15 less minutes I get to spend with my girls this evening. More mom guilt.

Both of my girls have been sick with colds going on three weeks now. I can feel disapproval ooze from my husband. Even more mom guilt.

Financially it makes zero sense for me to work full time. Literally one half of my monthly paycheck goes to pay for daycare and the other half is not much to brag about. The guilt of paying someone else to raise your children runs rampant.

The source of this overwhelming mom guilt stems from the fact that I made this decision. I decided to go back to work full time. I decided to put the girls in daycare. I am the one who doesn’t want to pass up this opportunity for fear that I wouldn’t get the chance again soon.

My husband is wonderful in the fact that he understands that I want to work full time, that it fulfills me in a way I don’t get staying at home. He knows how excruciatingly painful it was for me to utter the words “unemployed” when opening a new bank account when we first moved to Duluth. However if he had his way, I would not have taken this position. Wife guilt.The Mom Guilt is Real: Working Outside the Home | Duluth Moms Blog

But I have my sense of self back. I want to set an example for my daughters who see me get ready each morning for a job I love. They know that I just might be a better mother when I work because I am more appreciate of the time I have with them. When I am within the walls of my classroom I am genuinely happy.  It feels good to actually use my brain for something other than grocery lists or scheduling and think critically about issues.  

I know all of the arguments that support what I am doing. I know that my girls would get sick next year in kindergarten and maybe we are helping build their immune system now so they will be better off next year. The socialization and structure at daycare will make the transition to all day school next year easier. Jobs in my field can be hard to come by, there may not be a position available next year. That I spent four years at home and the early years are the most critical in terms of development.

Yet every day when I drop my girls off at daycare, I am hit with guilt like a ton of bricks.  The first few days I felt like I was drowning.  I couldn’t wait to pick them up again. I know these emotions are normal and it will get easier over time. 

The reality is circumstances will change in 1 short year.  Next year when my girls are kindergartners, all of this mom guilt will transition into some other form of guilt. I made a promise to myself to keep my children and my family my first priority.  As a colleague wisely told me, keep in mind who will be at your bedside when you fall ill, those are the people who deserved your best self. If I can maintain a healthy balance between work and home life and put the guilt at bay, this truly will be a amazing year for us all.

The Mom Guilt is Real: Working Outside the Home | Duluth Moms Blog{ Photo Credit: Kim Kosmatka }

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