Henryisms,  Just Jana,  The Struggle Bus,  Writer

Mom Guilt

But mom, I want to sleep late and stay home and play with my toys.
Can’t you take the summer off?
You used to be home all the time.
Can we just move back to Fort Valley? It smelled better than Atlanta and you didn’t have to go to work. And I want my chickens back.

Working Mom Guilt. I have it.

Almost a year ago, when I started back to work for the first time in a very long time, Henry and I started on the same day. Summer was over and nothing was really different except he got to ride a bus from school and hang out with other kids for a few hours each day.

But summer. Oh, summer. What a different story it has been!

Every day there is a new reason he doesn’t want to go. A new reason he wants me to stay home. A new reason for me to feel bad.

I can’t blame him for wanting to sleep late and have playdates. All my life, growing up, I got to do just that. We went to the pool, had mid-week sleepovers, went to movies, we did it all.

As a growing boy and an only child, I WANT that for him.

But I also love being able to bring in extra income so we can do fun things like go to Disney for his birthday, head to Boone, NC for a concert, eat out whenever we want to… but those things are hard to explain to an 8 year old. He gets it, but only until the next day when he has yet another reason he wants to not do what he has to.

On the other hand, I miss being home like crazy. I miss the freedom of lunching with friends, grocery shopping at 7am when nobody else is around, going to a matinee with Henry… I miss being a full-time, stay at home mom.

Honestly, it’s hard enough when I think it all in my head, but then when he gets upset and says things like, “All my other friends get to stay home with their moms,” (which is totally not true… not ALL of them do) it’s hard not to let that guilt fester.

Sure, I probably don’t have to work, but I enjoy it. Even on days I don’t want to go and want to sleep late, I really enjoy my job and enjoy being able to make a little income so we can have fun.

And I know at the end of the day, he enjoys going to his day care/day camp. It’s just not what we’re both used to.

One day, kiddo. One day.


  • Shevaun

    It is such a hard balance, and the guilt can be hard to deal with. We all just do the best we can with what we’ve got. And Henry is having a very fun childhood, which he’ll look back on fondly when he’s older. You love him, and that permeates everything. Mornings just suck 😉

  • Jackie

    Real talk about how hard it is! But I think the key thing is that you say you ENJOY working. I feel the same way. I am personally a happier person when I have my own passions and projects as a mother, many of which happen to come through work. Although I continue to feel twinges of guilt, I’ve stopped saying sorry for working, and just trust that I’m modelling a version of adulthood for my daughter that is worth working for: fun, hard-working, and self-sufficient.

  • Becca

    Perfect timing! I was just having these same thoughts, as my daughter’s bus brok down on the way home from Legoland. I love my job, but hate that for 9 years I have been away from her.
    I love what Jackies says though, we are “modelling a version of adulthood for my daughter that is worth working for: fun, hard-working, and self-sufficient.” Beautiful!

  • Ewokmama

    I don’t know why I didn’t comment on this when you first wrote it, but man, let me tell you that I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s compounded by the fact that Jack goes to his dad’s – so when he is back with me he wants to spend time with ME. He hates it when I have to work and he has to go to the after school program. “Mom, I miss you!”

    I honestly prefer to work than be home with him all that time…but I feel guilty because of it and he pulls on that heartstring!

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