A Mother’s Guilt

Moms feel guilty all the time, especially, it seems, working mothers. I’m not immune to that, but my guilt is different than that of most working mothers.

I don’t feel guilty about leaving my child on week days. My husband stays home with him and frankly, I’m convinced that he does a much better job than I would do if I was home. I come back all the time to new activities he’s invented for our now 16-month-old. He finds it hard, of course (it IS hard), but he has tons of imagination to think of new ways to entertain himself and our son and occupy their time. And in the process, my son is learning and getting very stimulated, that is certainly not a problem.

No, my guilt is different. When I’m home on weekends, I try to be the main care provider to give my husband a break, although that’s sometimes hard because now it’s him who knows best what my son’s routine is, how much of what he usually eats, etc. I do what I can, and I enjoy it tremendously, and I do wish I could have more time at home with my family. But on Sunday nights, when I’m exhausted after two days of running after a seemingly never-tired-enough-to-stop toddler, I sometimes have a thought in the back of my head…

Thank God, tomorrow I can rest at work!

And that’s when I feel guilty.

2 Responses to “A Mother’s Guilt”

  1. Danielle Says:

    Oh, comme je comprends ça!! Les enfants, c’est bien beau pis bien fin, mais c’est épuisant. Tu travailles toute la semaine, puis le week-end tu tentes de décharger ton homme… tu n’as pas de vrai repos!!! Alex travaille physiquement toute la semaine, même le week-end, et quand il peut rester à la maison un après-midi, il tente de participer à des activités familiales… mais à la fin d’une journée très bruyante, où les enfants demandent sans cesse une chose, puis l’autre, ça ne me surprendrait pas que, malgré les difficultés, il ait hâte d’être au boulot, dans ce milieu qu’il maîtrise, qu’il contrôle… Et je pense que c’est normal!!

  2. Devra Renner Says:

    First of all, I am happy I was able to read the comment in French, and understand it! I had worried that all the French I took had gone by the wayside since I’m not actively using it these days.

    As for what you wrote, I agree, it’s normal to have the feelings you do. Guilt is a valid emotion, if not the universal emotion of parenthood. There are internal and external inducers, and those aren’t universal to everyone. Guilt ranges from situation to situation, and we found in our research (and talking to thousands of parents) guilt occurs regardless to employment status. It’s the inducers that differ for each parent.

    As for guilt-o-meter reduction, why not ask your co-parent if you can work together to reduce the angst? Maybe he’s not as stressed as you think, of if he is maybe there is an idea you both can come up with together that will reduce the stress without adding more? Such as having a sitter come in on the weekend for a couple of hours so you both can grab a movie or brunch?