Yesterday, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts. A mom was being interviewed and talking about her attempt to be more intentional about motherhood. She’s a working mom and felt really guilty and judged at work since she became a mom. She struggled with splitting her time with work and motherhood because she used to work after hours and do extra at work and now she wanted to leave when her work was done to be with her family. I have to say, I totally related to her story and struggle.

Motherhood comes with it's own guilt trip. You kind of birth the guilt with the baby.When I was working outside the home, my motivation changed once I had my children. My commitment was there but it was split by something I felt was more important. The thing is, many times moms are made to feel guilty or like less of an employee when we have families and make them more of a priority than pulling late nights at the office. Over the years since starting this site, I’ve heard from so many moms about the switch that happened once they went back to work after having kids. They were questioned about whether they could handle their jobs and made to feel like they no longer measured up. They are not alone, I went through the same thing!

This pressure leads to us putting on these superwoman capes once we become moms. I can’t help but wonder if the pressure to suit up comes only from us. I think part of that is outward pressure. There’s a pressure to be who you were before babies. The same person that mingled at happy hours, stayed late for every project and committed everything to career. That was me in my pre-baby days. I spent a ton of time at the office and I wasn’t mad about it. I don’t know about you but I changed after my kids – I changed a lot. I became more ambitious and more compassionate, I also started to seek more balance. I think those traits definitely have their place at work. But when you go back to work and are questioned about your abilities, it’s frustrating and feeds into the identity shift we already feel.

The Unavoidable Guilt Trip

Motherhood comes with it’s own guilt trip. You kind of birth the guilt with the baby. We feel guilty about leaving the baby to go back to work. Then there’s the guilt of leaving work to stay at home. Or the guilt that comes with going back to work and not feeling guilty because you know stay at home life is not your jam! lol! Trust me, none of us has it easy. That’s why the mom wars are so crazy. We are all really just doing our best, trying to make it work and winging it along the way.

The number one thing that’s helped me ease any mom guilt is to let some things go. I can’t juggle all the balls and that’s OK. The whole perfection thing is not only overrated – it’s not real. So that’s not my goal. Doing my best is enough. Reminding myself of that goes a long way – at work and at home.

I wonder if you can relate to things being different at work once you had kids? Or where you fall in the mom guilt trip? SAHM guilty for not working working mom guilty for not staying home or somewhere in between? What helps you deal with mom guilt?

13 comments on “Apparently, the guilt comes with the baby”

  1. Its important to notice when the mom guilt turns into more than just an emotion. My mom guilt was tearing me apart. Every day I felt terrible about working so much and leaving my husband to do everything with a baby. I felt like mommy on weekends. It wasn’t okay. So, I quit my career. I now work from home doing something completely different from my old life. I’m okay with that though.

  2. I was 21 when I first had my first child. I worked after 5 months, because before having a child I worked sometimes 12 hr shifts. Then all of a sudden, I had to be a SAHM not my choice, but came with being the sole caregiver to a baby. It isn’t usually dad.. that’s what we’re taught to believe. I felt guilty leaving my son with family and childcare. I felt like a bad mom who couldn’t do it. But I had to, financially it was hard! And we were living with my in-laws at the time and wanting to move out meant money. My son was five months by the time we moved out and things got even harder. We got into a car accident that required my hubby to be off work for a while. So full-time income from one person was hard! Six years later i would have the second and I would need to be a full-time SAHM because childcare for a newborn is just not a thing. A year was hard without working. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I didn’t know how to just be a mom. I was tired of all things he house chores and day-in and day-out it was just mommy everything. Then came third child, a year after the second. On to three and still a SAHM. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to work and be a mom, again. To share myself between my kids and another thing. But then I realized how much me being home meant to raising my children. Just that! Raising them! I worked in the education field. Knowing how often most kids stay from open to closee in childcare because we all have to do what we have to do..I find myself lucky enough to be able to stay home and do all the raising myself. To have the opportunity to be there for every milestones and memories. It isn’t to say that I’d choose being a SAHM all the time..but for the most part, I would. xo

  3. I think trying to do your best is the best thing you can do. Being a parent is already hard enough, we shouldn’t judge each other.
    I work part time and I still feel guilty leaving my kids. It doesn’t end.

  4. so true, it actually is a guilt..I have experienced the same by working for 2years post having baby & when finally I quit I found my guilt at ease:)

  5. I can so relate to this. In my previous work, I used to work late nights as well especially when needed. But as soon as I had my daughter, everything changed. My priority, of course, changed. I started leaving work as soon as 3:30 (I had changed my schedule so I can spend more time with my daughter) and won’t take any work after that; even if it’s urgent. I would tell them I have to leave when I have to leave and can no longer work. Thankfully though, they didn’t change to how they treated me. They understood because they saw how committed I was and what I was willing to do before my daughter came. So they adjusted with me and would just ask someone to cover for me if needed.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  6. I totally agree with this! I am a SAHM who felt guilty about leaving a job I loved. And now I feel guilty when I don’t have a clean house or I don’t make it to the grocery store and we run out of coffee, etc. The mom guilt is infinite!

  7. Yeah, I totally hear you! I have another on the way and the guilt of working only 2 weeks after seems so overwhelming but at the same time, i didn’t work the guilt would still be there. We can’t win.

  8. This post is so relatable. When I had my first child, I went back to work after 5 months even though I was alloted 1 yr for maternity leave. Having never had kids before or experience having any other kids in my house because I was an only child, it was a shocker to have a child. It didn’t mean I didn’t love him. I just was used to the independence working gave me, and not being voluntold that I had to be the one to stay home because the stigma around having the dad stay home is still pretty prevalent. He worked while I stayed home after having the baby. It messed with my head being home full-time. I just couldn’t deal with just being a mom everyday, all day and not working towards my goals. Then I had the second six years later and I took on motherhood full-time from maternity. It was a year of total chaos in my world. It was all too much. I ended up having signs of ppd, which I had just found about in March this year. I have a third child a year after the second one and there’s days when I wish I was doing something more than motherhood. That I could contribute financially and have the financial freedom to tend to MY needs and wants. But on the other hand, being able to raise my childrend myself is so comforting to me. Having worked in the field of education, I know how some families struggle with the guilt of having their children in one from open-close. Its not their fault..they have to do what they have to do. But this is why for me to be able to stay home and take care of my children myself and see their milestones as they happen, is a wonderful thing! xo


  9. Mom guilt it’s not my thing. I’m trying to do everything what I can to make my Boy happy but you need to remember about yourself as well. If you are SAHM or working Mom you’re doing it for your family

  10. I feel sad whenever I need to go to work and leave my baby behind with his grandma. What I do to ease the guilt, is to make sure to leave work on time so I can have enough time to bond with him.

  11. This is such a good post – as we do beat ourselves up and have so much guilt even over the little things!

    I’m currently on maternity leave for the second time. With my eldest son I went back early, but this time around I had to extend my leave as my youngest has been so unwell. So much guilt around taking more time the second and not with the first, and feeling like I’m letting people in the office down as when I did pop in to say hi about 80% of people asked if I was coming back any sooner as they needed and missed me.

    We all do the best we can at any point in time and we shouldn’t feel guilty for it. Easier said than done though!

    Hope you are having a great week! I just published my first eBook so I’m having a pretty good week! 🙂

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