Living With Mum Guilt When Returning To Work

From the moment that you look into the eyes of that beautiful baby that you have anxiously been waiting to arrive for the last 9 months, you are overcome with emotions – love, excitement, and a little bit of fear. However, one emotion that the doctors fail to tell you about is mum guilt! 

You feel guilty about taking a long shower, guilty for having a night out with friends, guilty for going to the grocery store, and leaving the baby with your partner and most commonly – guilty for having to go back to work.

Easier Said Than Done – Mum Guilt

Leaving your baby for the first time whether he/she is 6 weeks old or 2 years old is hard! Top this emotional time off with having your little one screaming for you as you walk out the daycare door with tears rolling down your face and it can easily become a traumatic experience for everyone involved. 

I am yet to meet a mother who has honestly said from day one “the thing I look forward to the most about being a mother is going back to work”. Even if the plan is to go back as soon as possible it generally doesn’t take long for those mums to realise this task is easier said than done.

Things To Remember 

This very difficult task can be made easier by reminding yourself why you are leaving them to go to work. 

  • By working you are able to provide them with more opportunities – be that swimming Lessons or gymnastics 
  • Having some time engaging with adults is fantastic for your mental health 
  • Thinking about things other than changing nappies and what time the last feed was can be refreshing sometimes 
  • Time away can make the heart grow fonder – yes you can’t love your child any more than you already do but there is a newfound appreciation for spending time with your little ones when you have spent the day at work.
  • Daycare provides so many fun and exciting activities that are only going to help your child’s development.

Sometimes that reminder of why you are doing things is not enough. You are still overcome with this sickening feeling in your stomach, am I making the right decision?

The Good Out Weighs The Bad – Mum Guilt 

Every time we make a decision as a parent we have to weigh up the good and the bad. A lot of the time we are forced to make hard decisions for the greater good. We just have to focus on those good things. For example:

Does the pain of having to leave your little one while you go to work make up for you getting to take them to their swimming lesson and get to enjoy seeing the delight on their faces?

Does the pain of spending 8 hours at work earning an income mean that you get to drive around in the beautiful soccer mum car that you promised yourself you would never own but now love? 

Does having your baby go to daycare 3 days a week mean that you get to engage in adult conversations not related to bowel movements and drink a cup of coffee without reheating it 3 times?

Now some may see that last point as being selfish, you gave up everything to be a mum right?  You shouldn’t want to spend time away from your kids? Eh nope! 

We are all human and we all need to take time out sometimes, be it while we are at work and enjoying that hot cup of coffee or going and spending time with our friends without the kids. We all need and deserve time to refill our cup.

Going back to work may not be what you want in your heart but it may be necessary to do so financially, you don’t need to feel guilty. The same applies if you do want to go back to work but your mind is telling you you should feel guilty about that decision because you should want to spend all your time with your kids. There is no right or wrong decision, there is just the decision that’s best for you and your family and you shouldn’t feel guilty with any decision.   

Whether your little one goes to daycare 1 day or 5 days a week just know that you are doing an amazing job and whilst leaving them at first can be difficult there will come a day when you walk into the classroom they give you a kiss and a hug and say “bye mummy”. Suddenly the mum guilt is replaced with pride because we are helping to shape them into amazing, strong, and resilient people for the future. 

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