I think Mother guilt is a primal thing. Most women are born with a sense of obligation to be the primary carer for the children.
I have found as I have stepped up into a more senior role, that the guilt is worse. Whilst my husband is happy to pick up the slack, I feel guilty as if I am being a bad mother.
As a child both my parents worked full time, so you would think that I would be comfortable with the thought of putting my children in care, whilst I went to work. But I still remember my oldest child’s first day at daycare. I cried once I got in the car after dropping him off.
I admire and appreciate other working mums. I know their struggles and understand how dedicated they are to juggling home life and work life. Whilst hopefully we all have partners who can chip in, in my experience, the women are still the primary carer. When I travel for work I need to ensure lifts and arrangements are in place to get to extra-curricular activities. When they were really young I used to leave piles of clothes with the day of the week and what shoes they needed to wear.
I don’t know if I ever fully overcame Mother guilt, as kids are so good at pressing that button. My youngest will surprise me from time to time. She doesn’t seem to care that I’m gone, but once in a while, she would tell me she missed me.
I guess I have grown to accept that guilt is always there and acknowledge it and try not to let it interfere with our lives too much. I remind myself it is quality time, not the quantity of time that matters.
After all, my mum worked full time and I grew up ok (I think) and we have a great relationship.
By Michelle Joosse
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