Balancing Work, Family and Guilt

I’m feeling guilty again. Is it just one of the plagues of motherhood? Guilt for working full time while my kids are home all summer. Never mind that they sleep until noon. Guilt for not working part-time instead of full-time. Guilt for enjoying my time at work.  Guilt for vegging in front of the TV or computer when I get home from work instead of making dinner with them.  Guilt for not seeing my kids as much as I’d like because they’re teenagers and would rather hang out with their friends than their nerdy mother.

(Speaking of which, my 16 year old son just blew in, introduced a new friend, rattled off his plans, grabbed two frozen pizzas and a bag of Cheetos, and raced upstairs to grab who-knows-what.  I won’t see him again until midnight so I purposely stood at the bottom of the stairs so he HAD to hug and kiss me before he left.)

I know that guilt DOES have a purpose. When my oldest daughter was in high school, she used to accuse me of making her feel guilty. I reminded her that sometimes we feel guilty BECAUSE we’ve done something wrong. As a mom, though, it can be hard to distinguish between guilt that is for a purpose and guilt so we can beat ourselves up for not being the perfect person we’ve concocted in our minds. Sometimes I announce that maybe I should quit my job. The kids just look at me like I’m crazy. So that means I’m just going to have to use the guilt to help me find balance. Meal planning or Pinterest? Dinner or TV? Taking necessary time to relax or fiddling away the entire evening after work? Doing dishes with my kids so we can chat or watching more TV?

I think I have my answer. I can’t do it all, but I can certainly pick what’s most important to me and my family and concentrate on that. I feel better already.



6 thoughts on “Balancing Work, Family and Guilt

  1. I have the same guilt, but after spending the summer home with my babies I also feel guilty that I am excited to get back to work and not be home all day. Some women are great stay at home mothers, I am not one of them it drives me insane. I chose my career as a teacher knowing that it is a career that I can do while also having time with the babies. I know that working is what is right for me. I made the decision last year to spend more time with my babies so I come home as early as possible and try to make our time together important, but I also have to distress. One thing I am doing is when my children come to talk to me I give them my attention and listen to even the uneventful stories. We had a stay at home mom, but I still did not get to do the school activities I wanted so it is not just that you are home, it is the time you dedicate to your children that also matters. I am also dedicating this year to me and getting healthy I am doing this for my children so they can have a mother to listen for many years.

  2. Along with stretchmarks comes guilt! As your blog is titled, it is about finding balance. When you get tilted too far one way – make a little adjustment or two. If that doesn’t seem to help, then you can always dig deeper. I’m glad writing your blog helped you think through it – writer’s therapy!

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I am still trying to work through this guilt thing. Like you, I want to focus on my family in the evenings or even on myself (gasp!); however, my job always seems to get in the way. What are working moms to do?

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