Working Moms: Building A Career in Guilt

If we made a list right now called, “Things We Didn’t Know We Would Feel In Motherhood,”  what would be on it?

Well my initial guess would be several million things.

I never knew a love like the love I have for my child could even exist.

I never dreamed I could be this tired and still function as a human being.

I never imagined I could feel such crushing guilt over everything.

Motherhood is nothing if not an endless guilt factory!  You feel badly because you fed your kids crap for dinner three nights in a row.  You beat yourself up because you threw them in from of the television for a few hours so that you could accomplish few pressing things.  You left them at daycare for ten hours while you went to work.

That last one there is the holy grail of maternal guilt and if you have ever left your tiny little bundle of love in the arms of a near stranger from the hours of 7 t 5 then you know what I am talking about.  It’s torture.  It doesn’t matter if your kids are happy, screaming or downright clueless you feel guilty for leaving them in the care of someone else.  I know I did.  In fact when I returned to the workforce and left my twelve week old daughter in the loving arms of another female all day long I was sure the guilt and sadness would suffocate, consume, and destroy me.  I thought about her all day long.  What was she eating, was she sleeping ok, being attended to as I would attend to her, missing me?  What if she wasn’t missing me?  Oh my GOD what if she forgets me!

These thoughts were my daily mental script and I know that I am not alone in this.  Millions of mothers leave their little ones and go off to work feeling the same way.  Being a working mom is beyond hard!  Not only do these mighty women combat the working mom guilt all day long, but they have jobs to do, to put first and foremost during business hours.  Five days a week they have to push down their emotions and run companies, care for others, perform jobs and do it all.  They pump their leaky breasts in bathroom stalls, they rush through traffic to get to their children so that they can shuffle them off to activities, sports, parties, and play dates.  They come home exhausted and make dinner in their high heels.  Working moms hunch over counter tops helping kids with homework and projects that are due the next day before putting the kids to bed and staying up halfway through the night to catch up on their “homework.”  All of this is happening on a good day!  Never mind days where the flu strikes, or snow days descend upon them, babysitters cancel, permission slips get forgotten, the list goes on and on.  These warrior women don’t stop, they can’t stop.  The entire world needs them all of the time.  Their kids need them, their job needs them, they are the most productive machines known to mankind.

The working mom is in beast mode all of the time.


Read on here at Practical Politicking!


The Tale of Mummyhood

Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best
Strawberry Butterscotch
Being A Wordsmith
My Random Musings
All Mum Said

My Petit Canard

Epic Mommy Adventures
JENerally Informed


3 Little Buttons



47 thoughts on “Working Moms: Building A Career in Guilt

  1. I admire working moms so much! I think it’s so hard for you all the time, my sister in law has triplets and has a full time job, every time I see her I admire her dedication, love and strength! So give yourself a pat in the back because you are doing your best!

  2. You have described motherhood so beautifully, I still don`t know how that feels but I have nephew and a niece and I know what you mean when you say you didn`t know that love like that existed. I am exhausted every day I spend time with the kids but I have never felt more fulfilled in my life.

  3. I’m not a mom (nor will I probably ever be – who knows) but I admire those boss moms who can do it all. My mom is one of those ladies and I’ll be forever grateful for her!

  4. I have been both working mom and stay at home mom. None are easy. I felt the same guilt when I was working, but when I quit my job to stay at home I feel guilty for not contributing finance to the family and feel totally restless for feeling not achieving anything in my life anymore. Both are hard but we have to choose one. Whenever I told people that I quit my job to look after my kids, they will say “Oh how I wish I can stop working like you”. If only they know its much much harder to stay at home than to work.

  5. I worked in childcare for over a decade, I always felt bad for the moms at drop off- they looked like miserable prisoners and would race back at the end of the day. Most of them. #GlobalBlogging

  6. Accurate as always!!!
    Moms are always in a position of damned if they do-damned if they don’t. I’m waiting for the day when we ask the working dad how HE manages to do it all!!!!

  7. This is so funny as I’ve just linked up a post about how people keep asking when I’m going to back to work, and these comments are making me feel guilty, like I should get off my butt already and get back to it. My little boy is only 10 weeks old!! I can’t imagine being OK with leaving him at this stage, so I totally understand the guilt!! #SundayBest xx

  8. The plus side of the whole working mom thing is that I felt a bond with the other working moms that I never felt with the SAHMs. We might barely have time to see each other, unless our pick up or drop off times coincided, but there was a camaraderie that I appreciated.


  9. And then those working mums put on their big girl pants and leap tall buildings in a single bound … That Superman bloke is a total light-weight

  10. Big admiration for all mamas, but a special shout out to those mamas who make their little one breakfast, work and are home to put their kids to bed, it’s NOT an easy task!
    And yes guilt everywhere you turn, but you let that guilt in, gotta be strong in your decisions, you’re a great mum! #globalblogging

  11. I could never be a working outside of the home mom…partially because of the guilt…I could not leave my daughter and cannot imagine the feelings other moms go through when they have to leave their baby to go and work. #globalblogging

  12. You’re so right! I think we just need to come to terms with the fact that guilt is a thing that comes with parenthood! Since I stopped working a 9-5 job, I still feel it! I work from home and I’m self-employed and feel guilty for working around them. Or not getting on the floor to play. Or not really being in the mood to make them the usual things (only things) they eat for dinner! Etc etc. You know what it’s like! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOSL. Hope to see you again next time!

  13. I love the end of this post! Very true!!!! I was actually thinking about it the other day. Being a mum is hard in itself. I used to be a mummy at home and felt guilty about so much. Now back at work and still feeling guilty all the time. But it’s my first time and I am learning along the way. #globalblogging

  14. Thank you for sharing an honest, encouraging view of the working mother. It’s something that I always thought that I wanted, and now I struggle with it everyday.
    We need to support each other. 🙂

  15. You’re right motherhood is one big guilt trip. You always feel guilty about everything. I admire working mum’s, I’ve been there with my youngest and hated leaving for such long hours but it was necessary at the time. #globalblogging

  16. As if I didn’t feel guilty enough about EVERYTHING, my other half just moans about every little thing I do or don’t do. Every. Single. Day. It’s no wonder I’m always a nervous wreck! I blog for a living, and tonight when I wanted to finish a post off that I didn’t manage to get done yesterday he had a go at me because I asked our 3 year old to wait five minutes for a snack. That makes me a terrible mother. Although why he couldn’t have got off his fat behind and done it instead of making me feel worse about myself I don’t know :'(

    Louise x


  17. I’m starting to slowly come to the realization that much of these feelings are my problem (probably should have been sooner) and that even the baby does not have anywhere near the hard time about it that I do. That thought helps with the guilt quite a bit. #globalblogging

  18. It must be really hard. I don’t think I could do that. However, staying home for a few years and loosing a career you worked hard AND consider yourself lucky is hard too. There’s very hard to find a good balance and have the best of both worlds. #globalblogging

  19. And this is why flexible working should be more accepted by employers – to allow mums and dads to spend some time with their kids, while holding down full time jobs. It can be done and has been proven to be more productive in countries such as Germany, Sweden, Denmark but employers here in the UK are failing to take notice. It’s so hard leaving your kids in full time care but we are warriors, you’re so right #globalblogging

  20. Oh how I know that feeling! I cried on the first day I went back to work 5 years ago after my older son was born and I’m now 6 weeks away from returning to work once more… Really wish I could stay at home for longer and be there for my kids during the day but we can’t afford it so there’s little choice I have. We’re still lucky in the UK as we do get a whole year of maternity leave, of which pretty much most of it is paid so at least that’s a consolation. I admire you for getting back to work after 12 weeks… #FabFridayPost

  21. Every Wednesday our daughter goes to a childminder and every Wednesday I feel guilt. Today I am working from home and I feel even more guilty that I am actually home but still had to ship her off to our childminder. I think in the long run it’s good for them and they probably have way more fun but it doesn’t stop us beating ourselves up does it. I don’t plan on stopping working, because I love family breakfast out, holidays together and treating her to new toys that she loves. The money allows this freedom so we should try to keep this in our mind when we drop off our screaming children 🙁

  22. What is it with mum guilt? It seems whatever decision we make we will feel guilty about it. I’ve been fortunate to be able to stay at home with my kids but as soon as the youngest starts school next year I’ll be looking for work and I’m already feeling guilty about the prospect of after school clubs and what to do during school holidays etc. It’s a complete minefield and I don’t know how other mothers do it, they have my utmost respect!

  23. Yes it is tough but I have to confess when I did it back in my 30’s I didn’t actually feel guilty. I enjoyed my independence and just made more of an effort with them when we were together. Bizarrely now that I am home and doing “flexible” work I hate not being here for them when they get home from school and that is weird as they are teenagers and just don’t need me as much clearly! #GlobalBlogging

  24. Thank you for posting this. I’m a WAHM and I can’t imagine how difficult the balancing act can be for working moms. I still experience the guilt you describe. It’s unbearable some days. Sending hugs your way. #MarvMondays

  25. I remember those feelings all too well. Most of these feelings are still the same even for a SAHM… I think every mother is in Beast mode 100% of the time. Just in different forms. But yes, I do agree, working moms are machines 🙂 #globalblogging

  26. Ben is cared for by his nan. his aunt still lives at home and up until recently didnt work. my MIL’s parents go over quite frequently and then on weekends we were expected to go over and visit. all the whilst Ben was taken from my arms as a kind of “we havent seen him in ages.” I felt like screaming as I hadnt seen him most of the week, by the time i got home he was in bed or getting ready for bed.
    Being a working mum is truely that hardest thing i’ve ever done. it really is. Props to all mums who do this aswell. I wish I’d known all of this before becoming one. Disney lies to you!!! #globalblogging

  27. Yep, to all of this. Especially not knowing how bone crushing tired I would be but still manage to hold down an almost full time job (just) and everything else I do. My bed is my best friend #GlobalBlogging

  28. Too much pressure is put onto mum’s which is where the guilt comes from. We all need to remember that we are doing an amazing job raising our children.

  29. Working mums are amazing. I really don’t know how they do it and I know that i sure as heck wouldn’t be able to. I’m at home pretty much all day everyday with my children and I’m exhausted every day too! Add on top of that the demands of the working world and I’m sure I’d crumble. Well done!! #KCACOLS

  30. Oh goodness, guilt, pleasure, pain, I feel them all the time. I work full time, play being mum to two big boys, blog, try and be a good partner and also like to give time to my friends now and then. It’s a big fat jumble of emotions but I actually thrive on it all and it’s going pretty well:) *manic laughter* I’m Fine:)


  31. True story! I am a working mama and I go to college, so my life is really busy and I often have to say I can’t attend a school meeting or something because of it. Makes me feel so bad! #kcacols

  32. Sometimes I think the word mum itself just means guilt. About everything. I never once felt guilty leaving my daughter to go to work when she was a baby or a toddler. But now she is older I literally feel bad about everything and even worse when she questions me I give up lo! #kcacols

  33. Mum guilt is the worst! We need to learn to cut ourselves some slack, we can’t be everything to everyone all the time! Thank you for linking with #KCACOLS please do come back and join us next time.

  34. I feel the same but we need money as well to support our family and help our husband. Motherhood and work is so difficult to juggle up. Your not alone 🙂 #kcacols

  35. Mum guilt sucks and is so real. I had no clue before becoming one that it even existed. I’ll never forget the feelings I had when I first went back to work after having him – and that was only mornings and he went to my Mum. Hats off to Mums who do it full time. It must be beyond painful. Thanks so much for linking up to #TriumphantTales, we’d love to have you back next week 🙂

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