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Working mom’s guilt – how do you deal with it?

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by Godschild, May 11, 2010.

  1. Godschild

    Godschild Silver IL'ite

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    I am a daughter of a working mom and I very well remember the tough time I gave her in my childhood.

    I used to barricade my mom with statements like:

    Mummy!! Don’t go to work!!
    Mummy you have no time for me.
    Do you care about me?

    I can still recall the pained look on my mom’s face.

    I'm sure most working mom's would have faced such situations.
    So how do you working mothers handle such guilt trips in similar situations like:

    When you drop your child at the day care centre and your child refuses to let go off you and clings on to your legs.
    When you see your child standing at the gate with searching eyes for your return from work.
    When your child complains of having to eat a cold lunch.
    When you return back to work after your ML and get calls from home saying your LO’s crying out for you.
    When you miss your child’s performance in the school annual day as you had an important meeting to attend.

    What do you do when you feel a pang of guilt on your parental shortcomings?
     
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  2. Cindhuja

    Cindhuja Gold IL'ite

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    :coffee so getting trained to face the future..Awaiting for experienced mommies talks..Computer Typing
     
  3. Godschild

    Godschild Silver IL'ite

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    Yes getting trained for the future :)
     
  4. Aadhusmom

    Aadhusmom Gold IL'ite

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    I work but not full-time and I'm my own boss so in a way that has meant a lot of flexibility for me in dealing with such situations. The only one I have faced out of all that you have written is the first one and that was his grandparents and not a daycare centre. Other guilt-tripping times have been once I got called because DS was crying a lot at home and came home post-haste to find him with a very high temperature and another when he had diarrhoea and I returned from work to find him very dehydrated and ILs hadnt known to give him enough liquids and I felt very bad that if I had been at home then certainly that wouldnt have happened.
    How do I deal with it? By trying my best to be there for him whenever he needs me - I stay home whenever DS is sick and seems to need me (not for minor cold/cough but at all other times); I took a lot of time out of work to get him well-settled in pre-school ; I dont miss a single parent-teacher event and I make a real effort to spend some time every evening without becoming distracted by other tasks. As I see it, even kids of SAHMs are spending their mornings in school at this point so its not as if my son is missing out on anything big and as he grows I intend to structure my work to be around for him as much as I can.
    Nice thread - waiting to see the other responses.

    Vanathi.
     
  5. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    I am a stay at home mom with a business of my own with my own schedule right now but did work for a couple of years when my DS was 2. So I am not an expert but there is just one thing I wanted to share, so here I am :)

    Whether a mom works or stays home, I think it is very important to actually listen to our kids. It is very easy to just hear what they say but not listen. I think this will make a huge difference in a child's life and make him/her feel close enough to parents.

    To answer your questions one by one and hoping that other working moms will pitch in more relevant answers:

    When you drop your child at the day care centre and your child refuses to let go off you and clings on to your legs.
    This is a phase every mom has to go through whether one works or otherwise, may be at different stages ....so we just have to learn to deal with it.

    When you see your child standing at the gate with searching eyes for your return from work.
    Show the joy that you feel when you see your little one.

    When your child complains of having to eat a cold lunch.
    This happens even when they go to school - all we can do is, do best and serve a nice family dinner.

    When you return back to work after your ML and get calls from home saying your LO’s crying out for you.
    I really can't answer this :)

    When you miss your child’s performance in the school annual day as you had an important meeting to attend.
    I am sure we all miss one thing or the other and I have seen many parents work their schedules around their kids' and likewise I have seen some kids complain that their parents aren't as much around. I have realised picking what works best for the family and being there when we promise works wonders. Even as a SAHM, I have missed and feel bad.

    What do you do when you feel a pang of guilt on your parental shortcomings?
    I personally feel, spending quality time is the key and the best way to deal with the guilt, has worked for me so far atleast.
     
  6. Godschild

    Godschild Silver IL'ite

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    Vanathi,

    Thanks for your input!!

    Yes surely these are ways of spending quality time with your DS and avoiding the pangs of guilt. Also the fact that you have a flexible career contributes a lot in balancing work and home.
     
  7. Godschild

    Godschild Silver IL'ite

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    Rama,

    Thanks for the detailed reply :)
     
  8. Pavarun

    Pavarun Silver IL'ite

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    Godschild,

    Working or not many moms deal with some of the issues/questions you posted. I am a full time working mom with two kids, 4.5 and 15 months. I work a regular schedule. For me working is a family decision and a priority, I like my job and my career, and I know I would be miserable if I stay at home. Those factors help ease or lessen the guilt. I make it a point to think positively and assure myself that I am doing the best that I can, not measure myself against some idealistic standard and be miserable. I have also been very lucky to have a supportive work environment and family friendly/working-mom friendly benefits. Either me or my husband work our schedules around important school events etc.

    If you really don't like your job or career and are forced to work then the guilt may be tougher to deal with.

    Another factor that goes a long way in easing the guilt is the child care arrangement. It is important that you have a good child care arrangement that you are comfortable with and trust and be in sync with your child's school/teachers. Talking to them every day, checking how the child did, working with them together to figure out how to resolve any issues etc is important and this helps you relax and focus at work.

    On occasion, I do take a day off or the afternoon off and spend extra time with the kids. I try to outsource some chores like cleaning, yard work, cooking simple so we are not doing house work all the time and use the time to spend time with kids

    At the end of the day, even stay-at-home moms have to do stuff around the house, things don't run on autopilot unless you have an army of household staff, so it is a question of prioritization and maximizing your time.
     
  9. asha_karthik

    asha_karthik Silver IL'ite

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    I knew V and Sindhu would write here. I liked and agree to every bit of what they have mentioned. Reading thru those nice words from SAHMs like srama was reassuring. thank you all.

    More than the financial factor around the need (which is definitely a reason as of today), I work to keep myself sane. Thats just me. The 6 months break that i took after my first child (now 3.9yrs old), and the 4.5 months break that i took after my second (now 10ms old) were the times that confirmed i am not a stay-at-home material and if i were to do it, that isn't going to do any good to my relationship with my hubby or the environment i gave for my kids to live in.

    Like i said in another thread here, i have been in worst situations feeling terrible about leaving my elder one in the day care. At the end, i didn't find i was spending the time i had in hand well either. Staying energetic thru the day, in order to meet the demands at work and of kids, can happen only if the woman involved stays happy, positive and content, which is what i follow.

    • I have engaged enough domestic help at home, and in case of their absence, i prefer doing only the essentials, rather than trying to be perfect. this gives me/dh lot of time in the mornings and evenings to attend to children's needs.
    • my younger one is in an inhouse creche at work - i visit him 2 times a day for BFing and finish my 1:1 with him there during my evening visit. i pickup my elder one from her daycare before i pick up my younger one, so i can have a jolly bike ride back to office with her (1:1 with her), and if time permits we go for eat-outs or shop some junk together. these are must in my day - i in fact feel guilty not doing these religiously during weekends. am hoping to continue these 1:1s in some form as we go along too.
    • my weekends are completely with the kids. dh/me like to be together too during the weekends. so any grocery shopping at an earthly hour happens only with the whole family. we find it funny sometimes, but like it that way.. just so we can all be together.
    • appropriate day cares or other forms of child care is essential for mommies to concentrate on work. unless one is lucky to have this, there could be more of the guilt thing. it works to a reasonable level in my case, though not the best. i consciously try to understand and attend to the kids' needs starting from exclusively BFing for the first 6 months (i didn't want my coming back to work to hinder this, and in case of my 1st child, i took a 6m break as there was no inhouse creche then) to providing them any medical/emotion attention.
    • work always fills space. its right to define the work timing that would best suit our needs and plan with the employer. there are a few flexible HR policies at work that i have taken up, though i am aware that could take a toll on my performance and progression.
    good one, Godschild.
    yet guilt pangs haven't spared me either at times here and there. i always wonder how ladies who had child with different demands from academic standpoint have managed their careers.. am not there yet and am confident of managing the situation taking help from here. any input in advance from the wonderful ladies here will sure help.
     
  10. Godschild

    Godschild Silver IL'ite

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    Pavarun,

    Thanks for your reply.

    This is a simple truth which actually brings a big impact.

    Thanks again for this valuable point.
     

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