23 Sep Why do working mothers feel so guilty?
Before I had my first child, a few people tried to prepare me for the guilt I’d feel for going back to work. I thought I’d be all right, after all, I’m working so that I can give my daughter a good start in life (as well as for myself, if I had to stay at home all day watching the Twirlywoos, I think I’d go bonkers, and my opinion on that hasn’t changed).
But my goodness, I wasn’t prepared for the strength of feeling that I did, and still do have. Logically, I know it’s the right thing to do for both of us, I’ve tried working from home with her there with me, and neither my work nor my daughter got the full attention they deserved.
My daughter has now settled in nursery, she no longer cries when I leave her in the morning, woo hoo! and she’s really blooming, I know it’s the right decision, she’s developing quicker than I anticipated, and is clearly learning new skills as a result of being around other children.
So why do I still feel so guilty? Is being a stay-at-home mum the better option, should I be there with her more than I am? As I get busier, and I see her getting used to the nursery staff, running to them with her arms outstretched in the morning, my level of guilt only increases. Will she forget me? Will she get used to a mum that’s not always there? Will she only know mummy with a laptop attached to her?
The day that I have with her each week is special, but I still haven’t learnt to completely switch off, I’m hoping that will improve with time. And I’m hoping the guilt will subside somewhat too after time, I suspect not, but for those mothers that are reading this, what’s your opinion, does it get better?
I suppose the guilt that I have is that I’ve chosen to part with her at such a young age, it’s not as if she’s at school, I have no choice about that. But I do have a choice whether or not to put her in nursery, and I’ve elected to pay someone else to look after her.
I will say this. When I think about other working mothers that I have come into contact with during my career, I hadn’t fully appreciated the sacrifices they have made, and just how incredibly hard they work. So, this is a sorry for thinking that you had it easy working from home, not appreciating that you will have put the children to bed, and then turned on your computer to begin almost a day’s work.
It’s a tough choice, and I’m not inviting sympathy, it’s my decision to have brought a child in the world. I know in my head I’m doing the best I can for my daughter, but my head is definitely not ruling my heart on this occasion! But I want to applaud all working mums out there, and any tips or hints you can pass on would be much appreciated.
I’m only at the early stage of what is going to be a long relationship with these feelings, juggling chicken pox with new business proposals and Peppa Pig with webinars, but don’t get me wrong, it’s the most exciting time of my life, and I can’t wait to see what’s in the future. These feelings of guilt are going to have to get used to being quashed with feelings of accomplishment and pride in myself and my daughter.