Guilty as charged

Yes that would be me, a full time working parent, guilty of switching the laptop on, taking a phone call, being slightly distracted by a deadline. Guilty as charged.

You can cook without guilt. Diet without guilt. Eat chocolate without guilt. Parent your children without guilt. But can you be a working parent without guilt?

Honestly, I believe the answer is NO. *Feels incredible sadness*

You know you are pushing the boundary when this is what happens …

Guilty

What are you doing … ‘being like mummy’. Oh the guilt.

Many working parents feel guilt. I know I am not alone in this. For some reason this last week I have either heard others or been a part of a lot of conversations on the train and in the office about the struggle parents to very young children have. Does that mean it gets easier as they get older? These people are struggling to balance the demands of their jobs, the demands of their children, and finding time to do things purely for themselves. Was it so prevalent last week because many children finished for the summer holidays?

I call it Work Life Blend. Can the two blend? Can you manage both and be a success? Now that is the question. I believe you can however you need flexible working. Without this you are screwed. You also need to release the feeling of guilt when one takes priority over the other. The combined affect of feeling guilty because you are not meeting your commitments at work, feeling guilty because you are not giving enough time to your children, and feeling unhappy because you do not have time for yourself is crippling. Pass me a walking stick.

My feeling of guilt has recently escalated. So many friends, and blogging friends are taking a break for summer whilst they enjoy time with their children *green with envy*. I am a full-time working parent. I am the breadwinner. I will never be part-time. I will always be a full-time working mummy. Oh the guilt.

I enjoy my job. Really I do. It doesn’t stop the guilt.

To compensate for the fact that we both work full time, we placed Lil G in a private nursery at the age of 9-months. Such a big decision. It’s expensive. It comes with it’s own challenges but it really is worth it. It does make me sad sometimes, when I think about the time they get to spend watching our boy grow, witness his development, milestones, often seeing them before we do. Sometimes I literally get to spend an hour with him at either side of the day before hey presto it’s the weekend. Oh the guilt.

On a positive note, he benefits so much from his time there. As a nursery they do so much more than just classroom activities, they go swimming, take them out to parks, farms, local attractions, invite a dance tutor in, invite a puppet master in, visit the library van. It really is the best replacement for time spent with one of us. He has a lot of fun. That aside, the guilt still creeps in.

However with nursery comes a challenge which reaps of guilt. What happens when they are ill, excluded for 48-hours because of a bug? When Nanny & Grandad aren’t available or are on holiday. The change in routine has a negative effect on the military style schedule that all working parents seem to have down to a tee. Work commitments get cancelled, unplanned holiday is taken, you feel guilty to your colleagues as often they have to pick up the slack.

When you choose to combine motherhood and career in any way, shape or form, there will always be trade-offs, sacrifices and compromises. I have decided that will not be my relationship Lil G. In the past I have been guilty of multi-tasking on days off, a weeks holiday, fearing not to switch off emails, letting the phone ring to voice mail. Which ultimately means that I am not fully present. I have made a pinky promise to switch off when I am on mummy time. To be fully present. I will make my time with Lil G memorable. Whether that be a cuddle, holding hands, a craft activity, playing football, a trip out. It will be memorable. Work can wait (most of the time) … Eek I’m not doing very well at this already.

Are the trade-offs, sacrifices and compromises the same for men as they are women? I believe they are. I know that’s not the case for everyone. In Our Little Family they are. I particularly enjoyed reading this article, interesting how men and women are still viewed to be so different! What year is it again? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/28/mothers-fathers-guilt-parenting-women-childcare. It seems that Germaine Greer has some pretty strong views on a couple of subjects.

I feel guilty because I am a full-time working parent. However I have the benefit of flexible working, therefore I shouldn’t feel as guilty. It could be worse. I recently wrote a post on my flexible working, maybe you would like to read it … Work Life Blend.

Happy George, happy Mummy, happy Daddy … Simple really.

 

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18 thoughts on “Guilty as charged

  1. I know this so well. I work from home and try to only do it when the kids are either in bed or childcare but inevitably they are around now and then when an email needs sending etc. My youngest is only two and often gets toys out, saying she is doing work. It does make me feel bad but also I want them all to know that I DO actually work and that women as a whole do work too. So its not all bad! x x xx

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    • Ooh I couldn’t work from home with Lil G, hats off to you. My two days at home are alone, he is in Kindergarten. You’re right it isn’t always bad. Just some tough spots which last week definitely was. I have high expectations for this one.

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  2. It’s so hard trying to balance work and babies and I’ve found work wins a lot. It’s even worse in the summer I find with feeling guilty. The other day I wanted to pop out to the shops and lied to z that i was going to work and he replied “where I going?”. I felt so so guilty, poor thing. He does have a really amazing time with both his grandparents and cousins but I wish it could be different sometimes.

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    • Sounds like we’re going through something similar, oh the guilt. Deep down I know he’s ok. I think it’s because he’s becoming more aware of it as he gets older. He did it last Saturday on ‘date night’ – why are you leaving me mummy, I want to come for some food. Breaks my heart x

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  3. Oh hunny I can imagine that the pressure and guilt is so hard when you are the breadwinner. I am super impressed that you are always keeping up with the blogging and working fulltime too. Wow super mommy!!! You are teaching your child valuable lessons of work and rewards though. I think that is so important too. YOu are amazing. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I apologise for the late response I have been without power for two days! #sharewithme

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  4. It is so hard to juggle kids and a job, what a great post. I feel really fortunate that I no longer work, I stay at home with the kids mainly because my oldest has Autism and needs me more. The guilt as a mother is all consuming though and it is so hard to stop feeling guilty about everything you do as it all has an impact on your children. At the end of the day you can only do what you feel is right at the time and go with that 🙂 #sharewithme

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    • Thank you lovely, it is tough isn’t it, I do feel that some parents have to master the art of juggling. Thankfully he has so much support around him and it is something he has coped with since he was 9 months old so to him he knows know different. #sharewithme x x

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  5. Guilt can eat you up, my view is you need to enjoy every moment you have with them, and know that they’re being cared for by people who do a good job and make them feel happy when they’re away from you. I work full time too, and my OH’s pants at helping out, moaning if he has to do the occasional pick up because I’m in London for work or the like. I think I’d go spare being a full time stay at home mum, so N gets the best of both worlds – great socialising, much more activities that I’d probably do with him at home, and family near by.

    Like you I’m lucky in that my current job (I’m on contract at the moment which I need to turn into a permanent role) only has a 10 minute commute compared to the old 1 hour one, and that’s it’s flexible enough that I can compress hours and do one early pick up on a Friday. I can also work from home if needed if he’s ill etc. Without that, I would be screwed, so it’s finding the right job, the right support at home, and enjoying the time you do get with them.

    Compared to some of his friends where parents are WAHM or don’t work, I think N’s much more well rounded than they are, and they’ve found it a lot harder going to preschool and being in a structured environment, rather than being home all the time. So there’s definitely benefits in having 2 working parents. #sharewithme

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    • I completely agree with you, when I look at how well he is doing in comparison to some friends then I know I am doing the right thing by him. He has a mix of nursery (3 days) and grandparents (2 days) and then of course around all this that actually it is a good balance. He really does benefit from all the different support he gets. The guilt does creep in and it can be crippling at times.

      Thank you so much for being so honest. I really appreciate it x x

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  6. On a positive note, Lil G looks awesome in his superman top 🙂

    Try not to beat yourself up too much lovely, we all do whatever we feel is best for our family. Guilt shouldn’t feature too heavily as long as we’re doing our best – which of course you are xx #sharewithme

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  7. Thank you for this honest post. It is so, so hard not to let guilt consume you, and I do suffer from it too. M started full-time nursery at 7.5 months, teeny tiny. I fret constantly that I don’t see enough of him, am not involved enough in his upbringing. The fact that his nursery is excellent does little to quell that!
    Having said that, I wonder whether many women (parents?) are awful at suppressing their feelings of guilt no matter what they do. I’m fairly certain that I would still find something to feel guilty about if I were a SAHM: not being a role model when it comes to achieving career success? Not exposing him to enough different people and experiences?
    So I am trying very hard to accept that this is our situation and that we are trying our hardest to make the most of it. Which surely means I have nothing to feel guilty about. x

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    • Awww so honest of you too honey. It’s a constant battle isn’t it. I am so pleased there are other mummy’s out there like me. I feel so guilty, it doesn’t disappear, just gets worse as he gets older at the minute x

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  8. I work full time too and my guilt has more to do with the fear that other people are raising my son and not me. I love my work and I love that my job enables me to provide for him but wish I could have more time everyday with him. Like you I sent my son off to nursery at nine months. I want a little brother or sister for him but how will I manage two kids when I have about two hours max a day with just the one? Oh the guilt! Great post! Took the words right out my mouth.

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    • Thank you for reading, I completely agree with you, we are choosing not to have another for a different reason (premature birth) but the time factor does come into it. It’s so difficult. Enjoy your week and time with your family x

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