The Irony of Mama Guilt and Letting Go of Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Work

The Irony of Mama Guilt and Letting Go of Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Work

I recently have been working on a project, a contribution to a larger project for new mama’s. It’s been awesome and I’ve loved the creativity and releasing of thoughts I’ve gotten from it.

My contribution talks about learning to find yourself as a new mama, and feeling less mama guilt.

And so as I went along creating this, and working on Journal in the New You, I’ve had some deadlines which meant I had to work a bit more often and be away from my son.

Which has led me to thinking about working mothers and guilt.

My husband (and a lot of working mothers I think) feels guilt because he HAS to work to pay the bills. He has to go to a day job that doesn’t feed his soul in any way right now because this little business of mine hasn’t taken off yet enough to pay the bills. He feels guilt because he’s away from the house doing something every day that he doesn’t love and missing out on being with me and seeing our son grow up.

I feel guilt because 3 mornings a week for 2-3 hours, my son’s grandma babysits while I get on the computer and work. I feel guilt because I WANT this. I feel guilt because I want to be away from my son. Or rather I want to be working which translates to needing to be away from him. It’s silly and ironic that I feel guilt as I work on a project trying to teach other mama’s to NOT feel guilty for taking time for themselves.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and trying to focus my thoughts so I can share them and so I can feel okay about all of this.
Yes, I WANT to work. I want to take time away from my son so I can focus on myself and my business. I want this. For me. So I’m happy.

The point that keeps coming back to my mind to make me feel better is how important I (and my husband) feel it is that we show our son that we are more than just parents. I want to show him that we have passions and a purpose and a life beyond him. I want to show him that he can do the same as he has a family. I want to show him that I’m doing something that makes a difference in the world and helping others and helping myself. I want to show him that I’m taking control of my mental health and this is what I need to be healthy, I need alone time and I need focus and I need something to give me a purpose and a passion beyond ‘mother’.

My sticking point has been that my mental health is not perfect. Even after doing my work for the day and then getting to spend time with my son, I’m still not always as present as I should be. Thankfully, he’s super independent and plays so well by himself. But then the guilt creeps back in as I watch him reading by himself or playing with blocks across the room as I sit and try to distract the knot in my gut and the depression from seeping in by browsing instagram or pinterest.

What’s the solution? How do I knock away at this guilt? I don’t have a solution, yet. I don’t have any amazing words of wisdom here for you, ladies. I know in my head and in my heart that I have no reason to feel guilt. I know I’m trying the best I can to make this all work out okay. I try as hard as I can to be intentional and get on the floor with my son as often as I can and let him play.

As I’m typing this I’m reminded of a blog post I read last year, when my son was still little and wasn’t really playing just sitting watching things. From Bliss Beyond Naptime, “It’s not that it never happens but when it does it’s for real. Fun is had by all…”

I like that quote from the post because it gets to the point I think I’m trying to make here. When play and interaction happen, it is with intention and real and because I want to do it. I want to chase him around and build a tower. I’m not doing it because I have to, it’s because we both want to and are intentional.

I remember reading that post last year and thinking, ‘yes, that’s going to be me as my son grows up.’ I connected with her words and feelings. I’m not a big ‘player’, it’s just not me all the time. But the times it is me, it’s more fun because I’ve taken the time for self care and to make sure I’m happy as well.

And here we are, back to mama guilt and I’m typing now with a small smile on my face thinking about how great writing is and how awesome it is to share and get my thoughts down. As I began writing this, I felt nervous…not ready to share maybe because who WANTS to be away from their child, right?

Guilt guilt guilt. And now here I am at the end, after getting out my thoughts and reminding myself that this is what I need to be happy and that means I will be better when I am with my son and he will be happier.

Here I am, trying to let go of my guilt and by sharing my guilt, I feel it slowly releasing.

♥Kendra

Share: Are you a mama with guilt for wanting time away from your child? How can you let it go?

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 20, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    “The point that keeps coming back to my mind to make me feel better is how important I (and my husband) feel it is that we show our son that we are more than just parents. I want to show him that we have passions and a purpose and a life beyond him. I want to show him that he can do the same as he has a family. I want to show him that I’m doing something that makes a difference in the world and helping others and helping myself. I want to show him that I’m taking control of my mental health and this is what I need to be healthy, I need alone time and I need focus and I need something to give me a purpose and a passion beyond ‘mother’.”

    THAT. That is The Thing that I am also striving for. In that I want to find a profession/job/career/trade that I LOVE so that my son can learn from that example. In that I want to have the difficult conversations in my life and gain more experience and confidence, so that my son can learn from my example. In that I want to maintain my close, wonderful relationship with my husband so that my son can learn from my example. In that I need to lose the “mommy guilt” and be thrilled to have my own life, so that my son can learn from my example and also so that he will learn that he is a part of my life, no the sun my world revolves around.

    I digress.

    Sometimes I have massive guilt for just wanting to have a bath with the door closed and a big ol’ “Do Not Enter” sign hanging on the knob. I feel like if I want to get away from The Boy for a moment that I’m a big fat failure as a mother and getting away for a moment means I don’t want to be near him ever again. It’s fucking ridiculous and a goddamn well know better, but it’s there.

    I’m getting better, though. The Husband does a wonderful job with his boy and I actually really love to leave them alone at home. They need the time together. I get him all the time (on mat leave) and my husband does not, so it’s nice for him to have the non-momma-hovering time (I kid. I don’t hover. Honest). And it’s wonderful for me to get out of the house (or, hey, room). Alone. Good for all three of us.

    I love this post, K. Very important!

    [Reply]

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