Stay-at-home-mommy guilt

SAHM guilt

I had been working seamlessly for the last 16 years.  When baby #2 came and I was presented with the perfect opportunity to take a break from working to spend time with my family, I took it.  Doing this involved cashing in my meager 401k to stay afloat while I wasn’t earning any income.  I was so tired from the struggle of being a working mother and feeling trapped that I gladly lived off the savings I had for the first year I was home.  I began babysitting a few boys that my older son went to school with, which was great at first but eventually headed south due to my son’s inability to share his things with other kids.  Once I got the feeling the boys were dreading coming to my house, I had to cut the ties.

So, this leaves me with nothing.  No income, no way to feel I’m contributing, no way to feel I’m making progress in my life.  And then there are my student loans looming over my head, my ‘failure’ at reaching my weight loss goals, now 17 months postpartum, and the fact I won’t buy clothes or get my hair done because I feel guilty spending money on things that are wants and not needs.   I felt like I needed a change.  I felt I was ready to go back to work.

I really, really wish I chose something other than Finance when I went to school.  At the time I chose it because I wanted to make money and I liked the challenge of it.  Unfortunately, I chose poorly.  Cue the Indiana Jones – Last Crusade.  Thankfully I am not going to wilt into a skeleton, (best movie ever) but returning to work means going back to something I just don’t like doing.  Sitting in front of a computer and digging through files to save some giant company a few bucks is not my idea of a meaningful life.  Especially when it means someone else is taking care of my kids, feeding them, hugging them and teaching them because I am not there.  That just is not how I feel my life is supposed to go, especially because I have the choice at the moment.

I had been applying for positions I thought I would like to do, which would make leaving my kids everyday feel a little more worth it.  But those companies were not calling me for interviews.  The companies calling me are in the same industry as my prior position.  Which I ended up despising towards the end.  Total burnout does not remedy after a year and a half in this case.  I went on a few interviews and received an offer from an amazing person who owned a very successful business.  Being the basket case I am, I went back and forth in my head about 30,000 times before I accepted the offer.  I chose my start date.  I continued to freak out about whether or not I was ready.  I tried to find a nanny, I imagined my husband having to do everything I do everyday.  I thought about how I care for my kids non stop all day long.  We watch kids shows, read kids books, eat what they like or need for dinner.  Who else is going to put themselves aside for my kids?  Would it change who my kids are if someone else steps in and their worlds turn upside down? This was by far the hardest decision I ever made.

The night before I was supposed to start, my youngest kept me up all night long.  I was so tired in the morning that I knew I would not be going in to work that day.  I drove half way to the office with the intent of informing the owner in person, but thinking how awkward that would be in the small office surrounded by the employees, I opted to call and let them know I would not be working for them.  (Thank god because my pants were totally not zippered, haha!)  It was the hardest call I ever made.  And then I cried because I was still not sure I made the right decision for me.  My kids, yes, it was the right decision for them.

As mothers, when are we supposed to let go?  In my heart I feel like my kids are the biggest priority and I give them everything I’ve got.  What about my husband though?  As a partner shouldn’t I be contributing to the household?  Its such an awkward place to be in.

The truth is that I feel guilty for being home all day reading to my kids, cooking for them, playing with them and doing other mom things while the bulk of the population is off at work slaving away.  Are they hating on me for being home?  Probably not!  For now I am going to enjoy every second I have with my kids and revisit the idea of going back to work when it feels right.  I am hoping I will find something I feel passionate and excitement for that will make it easy for me.

Can anyone else relate?  Let me know in the comments below!

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6 thoughts on “Stay-at-home-mommy guilt

  1. I can’t relate on all levels, but I can in one area… I got my MBA in Finance for all the wrong reasons, and yes, I sit at a desk all day staring at my computer, being bored. (How I found your blog actually!) I’m not a mommy yet, well, maybe soon. Two days ago I had two embryos transferred through IVF. I started a blog to keep friends and family updated on the progress of getting and staying pregnant, but I discovered along the way I really like to write and connect with others through this media. I was just thinking yesterday, though, that if both embryos implant (small chances) but if they do and my husband and I have twins, I may find myself as a stay at home mom. And honestly, I have no idea how I feel about that!

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    • Thank you for your comment and good luck with your conception!! Twins would definitely be a handful but also a double blessing. Being a stay at home mom can be trying just like anything else, but I can tell you I am definitely a better, more patient and loving mom when I don’t have to be a drill sergeant trying to get out of the house to daycare and work on time. Follow your heart sister!

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  2. Being the mother of 4 grown children gives me a different perspective on this dilemma. I made the choice to go back to work, thinking I was teaching my children the value of being responsible and a hard working provider. They are all wonderful productive adults that learned from my example, and my mistakes. I realize that we will never get those moments back, and you can’t put an earthly value on that experience. Work will be there for you someday in the future. Holding your 2 year old is a priceless experience. Take pride in the fact you have defined who you are as a person with this choice. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  3. I feel like I wrote this. Your mom had shared this link on facebook and as I was reading it, I teared up. So glad to hear I’m not alone having these same feelings. I worked in business management do my family’s company for 11 years and they couldn’t afford to pay me my salary anymore. After a change of heart (and wanting a more rewarding job) I changes careers and wemt back to school full time. I got pregnant after completing my first year of a 2 year nursing program and had to withdraw because I couldn’t handle 2-12 hour clinicals a week AND working full time. I has been a battle for me, giving up my independence to fully rely on my fiancee to support us. “I make plenty of money, you dont need to work if you dont want to.” Really? Am I dreaming? It felt like it. It doesnt make sense for us to pay someone else to feed, change, walk with, teach, bond with, sing stupid songs with, go on adventures with, snuggle and love my son, when that’s what I’d rather be doing. I recently accepted a position at the hospital I was working at when I went on maternity leave, as an on call position. I’m even having doubts about that! My son is now 6 months (tomorrow! ) and after having colic for the first 4 months of good life, I’m feeling the greatest connection with him, really associating him being this little, and it’s now clear to me this is I’m supposed to be. Taking care of him, not other people. But it took me 33 years of being selfish and independant to realize that lol

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    • Kristine, happy 6 month birthday to your son! And congratulations for surviving colic. Life must be extra sweet now that it has passed! Thank you for sharing your story here, it makes me feel so much better knowing that other moms are going through the same feelings. Best of luck in choosing whether or not to start that on-call position!

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