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Working mom and guilt

  1. #1
    momo is offline Registered User
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    Working mom and guilt

    I would like to know how other working mom feels. I have a 2.5 yr old and 2 month old and work full time. I am constantly feeling guilty that my children are missing out because I am a working mom. Would also like to know how other working moms juggle between career, children and time for themselves.

  2. #2
    aldougie is offline Registered User
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    Momo - it is tough and you have my sympathy as I'm in the same boat. I make sure that I am home in the evenings to give my daughter her bath and put her to bed and if I'm busy at work I go back into work after I've done this and finish up. My husband and I also meet our helper at playgroup one day a week so that we can take her and spend some quality time with her during the day - she seems to really enjoy it.

    In terms of time for myself I go to the gym after she has gone to bed and have dinner out twice a week. We meet up with friends at the weekend but our social life it pretty limited at the moment due to lack of sleep! At the weekend our helper doesn't see our daughter at all - my husband and I spend all our time with her.

    I still feel guilty but I knew it was going to be difficult when we decided to have a child as I knew I had to go back to work - so I live with it and do everything I can to make sure that the time spent with her is quality time.

    Not much help but you aren't alone - guess making sure that time spent with your children is quality time is the best that any of us working mother's can do.

  3. #3
    stephchoy is offline Registered User
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    I don't experience guilt so much as missing my 15 month old daughter terribly. By working, I'm earning and saving money to provide for her future needs, educational and otherwise. This is how I think of it. In any case, I believe that children are happiest when their mothers are happy and feel fulfilled in their career.

    My husband and I do try to spend quality time with our toddler who is becoming more vocal when she wants attention. Sitting down to read a book together and making sure we give her 100% attention. Weekends are precious! Actually, I'm still breastfeeding and I've found that really great for maintaining our connection.

    Don't worry too much. I am sure as a Working Mom you're modelling other important qualities and values to your children as well.

  4. #4
    armstroe's Avatar
    armstroe is offline Registered User
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    I "retired" last year after I had my second child, and my eldest was 5 and a half. It was easy working with one, in fact, I really found it much easier working fulltime in an office rather then looking after a baby fulltime. Being a mother is THE toughest job in the world (naturally the most rewarding though!)

    While I didn't feel guilty about working fulltime and leaving my daughter in our helper's care, as she got older I started to get more annoyed about things like missing Halloween because of work travel or last minute functions, not being able to take her to birthday parties, or hearing the little stories straight after school.

    Those of us with good domestic support are really blessed. I never had the career opportunities in Oz that I've enjoyed in HK, and I never had my commitment to my career questioned the way it was when I announced I was having a child while still working in Oz.

    When working, I always considered that time "my time" because I was working at something I loved, and was able to have a cup of tea whenever I wanted. We let my daughter stay up late after we got home (the legacy of which I still live with...so be careful about this one) and we usually gave our maid Sats off as well as Sundays so we could have the whole house to ourselves as a family on the weekends.

    One thing that also helped was organising an activity that my husband could take our daughter to on a Saturday - this started from about 6 months. I've tried to do the same with the youngest, with varying degrees of success (he now works more Sats)

  5. #5
    ag1
    ag1 is offline Registered User
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    I returned to work when my first child was 8 weeks old. This was the hardest thing I ever did. I had always enjoyed a fulfilling career with good money (I was main breadwinner) but it just didnt cut it for me anymore when I realised that someone else (an employee) knew more about my baby than I did and that I was missing out on time with my baby - time which is irreplaceable. It was not possible for me to work 9 to 5 hours and i was unable to strike a balance between maintaining a career and raising a family.
    So my husband and I decided to really invest in our family (and I dont mean financial investment - there's plenty of time for that in a couple of years time) and I gave up work so I could be the main influence in my children's lives. We just about manage on one salary but personally I feel that it is more important to be there for the children in their formative years. We felt it was imprtant for te parent to be the one to nurse them through illnesses, develop their personalities, enjoy the precious moments etc. especially as we are not near family.
    It was the best decision I ever made and cant work out for the life of me how I ever considered working full time, flat out as fullfilling!

  6. #6
    HKFooey is offline Banned
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    I do not have much positive advice but I wanted to sya that I am really struggling with the whole guilt thing. I find it increasingly hard being away from my 6mth old son.

    My mother was left with four children under 10 when my father died. I was only 8 mths old. My mother obviously had to work and I always said that if I was to have children I would not work.

    Life has not worked out like that. I went back to work when my son was 15 weeks.

    I just take evry day as it comes. I am breast feeding and I think as Stephanie said this helps me to maintain a special bond with my son. We have elected to have a carer who does not live in and goes home as soon as I get home. I try and not work at weekends but if I have to then I work at home and generally whilst my son is sleeping.

    I do not tend to go out at night. I have friends over to my place for dinner which is very possible as I have a live in maid. I have made a choice that until my son is older I will typically socialise with my friends in such a way to include my son. When he is older I will of course leave him with a babysitter but not too often.

    Rationally I know that children are very adaptable and my son will gain positive things from my working. I try and find ways to mitigate the negatives. I just do not want to miss too much of his childhood.

    Hmm just my thoughts, I hope they help

    Oh on another note. A few of us have just started to set up a Saturday playgroup for working mums and dads. The first meet was in Stanley at tge beginning of March and we are planning another group after Easter. I will post details on here once I have made arrangements

    Take care and do not be too hard on yourself.

  7. #7
    momo is offline Registered User
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    Thank you all. It helps to know I am not alone though the guilt is still there :(

  8. #8
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    Swoon is offline Banned
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    My son is about to turn one and I just recently resigned from work. I was one of these women who never thought I’d even consider this issue and had fully intended to continue to work as before. I went back right after maternity leave and, although very hard for the first month, I jumped back into it all. And like "armstroe" said, it was a bit of a reprieve to be able to read Business Week and have a coffee in quiet. I would also go to the gym at lunch time. I’ve also cherished having financial freedom my whole working life-long and couldn’t imagine having to explain why I bought the tenth pair of black shoes. This was really the hardest issue for me to grapple with when making my decision to quit.

    So, why did I quit?

    Working full-time (especially in HK), I only saw my son about a couple hours a day after work. When he was a small baby, it wasn’t so bad but now that he’s developing a personality and forming attachments, it’s just not enough to be there only 20 percent of the time. This leads to the second reason which "ag1" mentioned that someone else knew my baby better than I did and was there for him when he was tired, or happy, or upset, etc. Because she was spending so much time with him, it’s only natural that he is getting more and more attached to her. This doesn’t cut it for me either. I don’t want to be faced with the day where he hurts himself and runs to the helper instead of me.

    Having tried the full-time work route, I have complete and utter admiration for all the mothers who can smoothly balance it all. At times, I do feel awful for not being able to be one of these women, but I’m hoping that once I adjust to this new phase, I won’t look back and I’ll be rewarded in many other ways. I’m intending to achieve my balance by finding part-time work in order to keep in touch with the work world and not letting all those years of building my career slip completely away.

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