Working Mums and guilt

I’ve been really struggling with the guilt that I feel for being a working Mum over the last few weeks. Having returned to work from maternity leave I’m finding it hard to leave my baby and missing seeing the boys after School for a decent amount of time. I’m used to seeing Finlay more than I do now as he is now at full time School too. I’m jealous of the people that get to spend that time with Ava that I don’t. I worry about fitting everything in. The days I work I don’t have enough hours in the day to do reading, spellings, homework, swimming lessons, or even be able to have a conversation with them over dinner. I’m tired and grumpy when I get home from work and it’s been pretty stressful meaning that I am worrying about it on my days off.

A while ago I stumbled upon a video through Twitter. A video promoting a book and a company by making working Mums feel bad. It angered me as working Mums and Mums in general feel guilty enough without people trying to capitalise off the back of your guilt. Not cool! I would link it, but I don’t want to get them more attention.


I’ve worked part time since I had my first child as a Primary teacher and I know how hard it is to juggle everything. The guilt that you feel. The firsts that you miss. The events that you can’t attend. The nights that you cry yourself to sleep with having to leave your baby/child.

I had to work when we had Kyle, I was 23 and we couldn’t afford for me not to work. With Finlay I was able to do less hours. Then I became a single Mum and I had to up my hours. I had a difficult decision to make at this point as my babies needed me. But they also needed me to keep a roof over their heads. To be able to buy food, clothes and have money to do things with them. I wasn’t getting any maintenance and so I had to do it all myself. Should I feel guilty for doing that? No, but I did!

I would love to be able to be a stay at home Mum. To not miss the first steps and maybe first words. To be able to go to every School assembly and Sports event. To be able to take and pick up my boys from Pre School and School. To be the one that Ava will wake up to from a nap and have sleepy cuddles with.

In an ideal world I would do a job that fitted around my family, my children more. Enabling me to do these things and still exercise my brain and bring in money. However  I’ve yet to come across one.

Most families in current times need more than one salary to pay the increasing costs of living. Sometimes working just for the extra couple of hundred pounds a month after paying the ridiculous  cost of childcare because they can’t do without. Then there are the Mums who want to work, who enjoy their jobs, their career. Who are better Mums as a result of being happy. As women we have been brought up to believe we can have it all, but in reality it’s so hard.

It’s not so black and white. Being a working Mum does not make you a bad Mum. It does not automatically mean your kids are missing out. It means you are doing the best for you, your family and therefore your child. 

I really need to remember this at the moment. 


51 responses to “Working Mums and guilt”

  1. Charlene says:

    Well said! We really need to get off this track of making mothers feel bad about their decisions, don’t they know we beat ourselves up enough?!

  2. Lianne says:

    Its hard, really hard to find the right balance isn’t it!
    With my first, I missed so much, yet this time round Ive been lucky enough to get a job working from home, I know how lucky I am as I was stressing throughout my pregnancy about having to go back!

    • MummyandMonkeys says:

      It is really hard, how lucky to work from home, I know that can’t be easy either but at least you are there if they need you x

  3. Oooo, that has made me cross too. You’re absolutely right, things aren’t that black and white. I work full time because I have to financially, and I want to work. I’ve spent too long building a career. Of course, I feel guilty all the time, but then there’s also the catch, what happens when your children start school and you’ve been out of the job market for five years? My ideal would be to work from home more. It doesn’t mean a woman goes to work they love their children any less.. And it’s terrible that video should even insinuate it! #PoCoLo

    • MummyandMonkeys says:

      Exactly we are all doing the best for our families, ourselves. It doensn’t mean we are worse Mummies or love them less x

  4. I cant believe that people would so such a thing! Thats so mean of them! I am not working but would want to work because we are currently short in money and we just dont have anything esp when theres an emergency. I wish they will respect other people’s choices because it is their right. #pocolo

    • MummyandMonkeys says:

      It’s so hard to know what to do for the best. Having no money spare is a nightmare, I have been there too even when I was working x

  5. Tubbs says:

    I was always going back to work after the Tubblet was born as I earned the most. We were lucky that I earned enough for my husband to stay at home. We got criticism for that! Parenting can be such a thankless job!

    • MummyandMonkeys says:

      Aww that’s a shame you got criticised for that. It makes sense if you earned the most. I think it’s becoming more acceptable in the publics opinion for stay at home dads. x

  6. teacuptoria says:

    It is so hard, you’re right. Us mums beat ourselves up and want to be perfect but it’s the road to ruin. Our children have adapted to whatever home situation they’ve had so they certainly don’t feel hard done by I have always worked part time since having my son and now work 30 hours over 5 days. I should work them over 4 days to give myself a day off to get my chores done but I don’t because I feel guilty as he’d have to go to kids club an extra day. We’re our own worse enemies! xx

    • MummyandMonkeys says:

      Yes we are. I feel guilty now as my eldest has said he enjoys me being around more being on maternity leave. Hopefully they will adapt to it again when I go back x

  7. It’s hard having to leave your kids when they’re young. I know when I leave at a very silly time in the morning for uni, I feel rubbish as my daughter is usually still asleep and goes to bed as soon as i get home. I think you just have to hold on to the knowledge that it will all be worth it in the end. #bigfatlinky

    • MummyandMonkeys says:

      Yes I hate that getting in when it’s already bedtime. When I’m teaching I drop them at 7.30 and pick up between 5-6 🙁 x

  8. It’s so hard to escape mommy guilt! I I’m always worried about making a mistake and messing them up. I think it’s ridiculous that people still believe that in order to be a good mom you have to spend every hour with your child. I currently stay home, but I worked full time when I had my first son. It was hard juggling both and with child care costs, it made more sense for me to stay home. That doesn’t mean I’m automatically a better mother. Yes I see my children more, but if I’m being honest, I’m not always present with them. It’s hard to be present for anything or anyone 24/7. I’ve always believed that the quality of the time you spend with your family is much more important than the quantity. No one should make a mother feel guilty when she is doing the best she can to provide and nurture her family. Great post. #weekendbloghop

    • MummyandMonkeys says:

      That’s very true.. The one thing working does is it makes you make sure that the time you get with them is quality time x

  9. martyn says:

    Well said!! It is such a difficult position without others putting more guilt on than you already had!! Theres enough of that guilt already! I realised when we were expecting my youngest that I couldn’t go through that situation because I was carrying enough guilt at the hours I was working. (Like you as a primary school teacher, was deputy head as well) The hours were tough and the added hours were harder!! I was missing loads with my eldest and decided that I wouldn’t do the same with my youngest. But it isn’t that straight forward to do it one day and not the next. I put a plan into action and knew where I was heading. In that time I became a single parent and then it was even harder to make that choice. I took that step and made it and chose to be a stay at home parent. That being said though I have my two boys 4.5 days a week so I have two whole working days and the other job that I set up. 3 years down the line things are difficult and incredibly strained. I carry more stress and worry but far less choice. What I do know is this though it ISNT a straightforward thing and what I have achieved is difficult. People, anyone, will be stuck in this hard place and will be carrying guilt instead. I am so pleased that you linked up with us on the #bigfatlinky as so many people who will come across this will completely emphasise!! No more added guilt!

  10. Great post! Being a working Mum is not at all easy – and then people make you feel worse by their inconsiderate comments. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

  11. al says:

    I think that parents are made to feel bad if they do and bad if they don’t. On all sorts of matters. We are surrounded by people forcing judgement and blame and many people feel guilt on a constant basis. I think that it sounds like you are doing the best for you and yours and should feel proud of yourself and what you are doing. Thanks for sharing this and for linking up #bigfatlinky

  12. Mummy Bexm says:

    Hey – lovely post, thanks for sharing. I really identified with your comment, “In an ideal world I would do a job that fitted around my family, my children more. Enabling me to do these things and still exercise my brain and bring in money. However I’ve yet to come across one.” because that’s precisely how I feel. I returned to full time teaching recently, when my baby turned 5 months – well done you for doing it all alone xxx

  13. Its had finding a balance isn’t it, I work a .8 post so its not as hard but a .5 would make life so much easier x

  14. Excellent post. It makes me so angry when people are so negative towards working mums. Like most, we need two incomes to pay the mortgage, bills, put food on the table and clothes on Zach’s back. If I could, I’d work less but right now I can’t and I couldn’t feel any more guilty than I do. Us mum’s need to stick together! Thanks for linking up with #twinklytuesday

    • MummyandMonkeys says:

      Yes us Mums do need to stick together x

  15. Oh yes, the guilt I felt on returning to work! I cried at work that first day back. But now I look back and see that our little bear absolutely thrived in the company of other children, and in the company of other adults. I couldn’t have asked for anything more in hindsight and I would definitely recommend the world of work to any mum… so much so that I even wrote a book about it! #brilliantblogposts

  16. As a SAHD (and now SAH-grandpa) I’ve witnessed the angst that my wife and daughter have felt over juggling work and family. What a great piece, and what a nicely stated note that it’s not always black-and-white about staying home. My wife and daughter are very much driven to work. That doesn’t mean they neglect their parenting duties…they do juggle them, though.

    It’s so frustrating that anyone would be made to feel inadequate for the choices they’ve made regarding career, family, etc. Hang in there. It’s about the quality of the time with your kids, not the quantity. Make it a great day, every day, and they’ll be better for it!

  17. Good point! Being a working mum can not mean that you are a bad mum, to me it shows you are trying to give your child the best.


    Gemma xxx

  18. Crummy Mummy says:

    I feel guilty constantly – I work from home with Little B here, amusing himself. He starts nursery next month when he’s one, and it’s been so tough muddling through the first year. But we made it! #picknmix

  19. By working you are being good mum and providing for them and giving them a stable home. Be proud of what you are doing xx #picknmix

  20. Sarah says:

    I always feel guilty about working, and like you have worked part-time since my first daughter was born, only taking six months of maternity leave for each child (I have three also). I work because we can’t afford for me not to, I am lucky that Mum is able to do the school run on the two days that I do work, but I leave the house at 7.45am and usually get home about 6.15pm. My middle daughter hates me going to work – but I consider myself lucky I am only away from them for two days per week x

  21. It’s so tough getting the balance right and choosing the option best for everybody. We really struggled to make the decision ourselves as we just didn’t know what was best. On the one hand it is great going to work, using your brain every day and having that away time but on the other hand it is really difficult missing all the milestones etc. We’re in a situation where I wasn’t earning enough to cover the cost of childcare (and other bills) so I have stayed at home and my partner works – it works out exactly the same for us financially. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be being a single mum and having all of those thoughts and feelings to deal with to. Hats off to you for doing a fabulous job and don’t let anyone else make you feel guilty for the choices you make! #PicknMix

  22. Talya says:

    Amen to that! You know I’ve been a working mum, stay at home mum, and part time mum and I’ve felt guilty in some capacity in all functions…I think just being a mum makes you feel guilty whatever you do so we just need to make peace with that and focus on what we need to do to make our situations work. #PickNMix

  23. Jen says:

    What an honest post! Mommy guilt is no joke. I’ve dealt a lot with it over the course of the past year and a half when dealing with going back to work, having to work, food allergies and dealing with being unhappy with daycare. Being a working mom is something to be proud of too as we learn to truly cherish time. ( obviously not saying those who don’t work dont.) Howver, the thoughts helps me through those days and moments when guilt tries to sneak in. #picknmix

  24. Nicola says:

    Please don’t feel guilty. I know that’s a lot easier said than done, but as you’ve said above, you are working to put a roof above your children’s heads and provide for them. One day they will seriously thank you and respect you for that. Thanks for hosting #picknmix Fridays 🙂

  25. People will always find something to be snarky about. I don’t understand it. If you are doing what you feel is best and necessary for your family, screw anybody that has an opinion about it. Life is stressful enough without letting other people add more

  26. *Hugs* I know the feeling so well – my partner lost his job so I had to go back to my part time job when my daughter was 2 months. When I have down days, like not getting to see her awake at all, I try and feel lucky that at least I’m able to work and support us. It doesn’t always work, but mostly it helps! 🙂 #picknmix

  27. I have been there! I have four children and needed to work 3 days a week to make ends meet. I already felt so sad leaving them with other people and guilty too, without the comments I got from others such as why I had four if I couldn’t stay at home with them! You are being an excellent mum and I am sure your children, like mine, will benefit in many different ways from spending time with others in different environments. It is a very hard job being a parent and all we can do is our best in sometimes difficult circumstances. #PicknMix

  28. Tracey Abrahams says:

    Society as a whole is so judgemental. If you were a stay at home mum there would still be people criticising you. You do the best you can for your kids and that makes you a fantastic mum,mits important you remember that Xx #picknmix

  29. Really relate to this post.I’ve been feeling it more lately,I’ve always worked but I think now that I know I’m done with having babies,I feel as though I’m missing out on things I’ll never get back but we just can’t afford for me not to work x #picknmix

  30. I feel very blessed that I’ve been able to be a stay at home mum to our 4 children and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  31. Morna says:

    I feel your guilt too. I work full time and my husband is a stay at home dad. The arrangement works for us for many reasons but that doesn’t stop me feeling the guilt, and the sense of loss over all the things I miss out on. #picknmix

  32. Mummuddling says:

    Hmmm… It’s so tough being a mum is t it? I’m just starting a stint as a sahm mum and I don’t think that’s easier either?! There really is no perfect option, it’s a balancing act and finding what works best for your family. X MMT #picknmix

  33. It’s so hard to juggle work and our family. I am thankful that i work around my children’s school hours at the moment but that means my hubby works more hours and misses out on so much. I spent years juggling after school and breakfast club care for Miss C that we both missed out a lot with Miss C. Once Miss M was born we decided i needed to work less hours so i could be there for them. We have to do whats best and money is always a priority. #picknmix

  34. I am not working and yet so many days I feel guilty. My son is 5 now and that guilt is still with me. Am I doing an okay job? I feel sad and I feel guilty that my son wont feel that he is making me happy. So many issues in my head. But I say to myself that if I will let guilt rule me this thought would make me not function as a mother well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are a nice read. An honest post is always nice to read =) #picknmix

  35. Kirsty says:

    It’s really difficult. I work full time with a 1 year old and always feel guilty about working so much. Us mummy’s have to do what we feel is right for our little ones and not listen to anyone else. caffeine is my best friend at the moment and its how I get through a week. Xx

  36. Becster says:

    Please don’t feel guilty… you’re providing for your little ones. They won’t blame you for it. I’m a full time working mam and it doesn’t make me a part time mother. I do feel sad that I’m not with them all day everyday but I’m lucky that they’re with their Nain (gran). What I found was that Little Miss loves going to her Nain’s house… so much so that when I turned up for lunch one day she told me to leave! That’s what made me feel sad! 🙁 #PickNMix

  37. Every individuals situation is different, so don’t feel guilty.
    I’m lucky to be a work from home Mommy, but that’s what suits my situation.
    and you are doing what is best for your little ones so that’s all that matters x 🙂 #Picknmix

  38. Maria says:

    It’s hard not to feel guilty no matter what we do! I also have to keep reminding myself that I am providing for my family. One of my friends also told me that we are good role models for our children. It’s good for them to see that mummy’s also “work” aswell as daddy’s and that we both work to bring money in to run the house! #PicknMix

  39. What a great post.
    What we do is make decisions based on what is right for us and our family and there is no right way. No one can have it all. Life is about choices. I wrote two posts a while back on what guilt is and how to deal with it (focussing on us as mothers). It is here if you want to read.
    It is so hard when you would choose to do something different but for practical concerns. I hope you feel easier about it soon. Kirsten

  40. Philippa says:

    Mum guilt is evil. When I was working I felt guilty because I wasn’t putting enough into being a Mum, now i’m a stay at home mum I feel guilty because I’m not contributing financially and worried my children won’t have a strong work ethic. TBH, damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I’m sure things will get easier the older they get, well, I hope!

  41. I think you are doing brilliantly. I wish I can be all those things that you are. 🙂 xx #PicknMix

  42. You do an amazing job at balancing everything sweetheart, and as parents we’ll always feel guilty about something it’s just part of the job I’m afraid! I’m lucky in that I don;t work other than the blog, so I can drop everything to go to school things etc…but have to cope with the fact we only have one decent income coming in and will probably have to save for anything big that we want or need. There’s plus and minuses to everything,

    Stevie xx

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