There are many downfalls when you have, or choose, to be a working mom. Sure there are the looks and comments from people that judge you for not ‘raising’ your children. Then comes the sleep deprivation that leaves you disheveled and out of sorts when you first return to work. There’s the breast pump malfunctions and all the annoying paraphernalia that accompanies you to the office everyday…that has to be washed over and over and over. And let’s not forget the enormous guilt.
When those babies start to develop from little lumps to little humans things really start to change. You sadly may miss the first smile, words or first steps. Then later you might not be able to make that performance or Mother’s Day tea at preschool. It’s a nearly impossible balancing act, trying to masquerade as the ultimate professional and devoted mother, and inevitably someone always ends up disappointed. And it’s usually you.
But there’s one thing that really sucks, more than any of the other trials we face every day when we have to leave our kids…and that’s when your baby is sick. They want and need their mommy…and instead someone else is left to comfort them. A babysitter, teacher, or family member is cuddling them, holding them, rocking them and caring for them. Your baby needs you, and you can’t be there. Instead you sit anxiously at work, checking your phone every few minutes for updates, pictures…anything sign that lets you know that they are OK.
The massive guilt I felt when I left for work last night was the heaviest I’ve ever experienced. My shoulders ached with tension and my heart hurt terribly as our nanny pulled her away from me, crying that she wanted to go with me. Our littlest has a high fever which terrifies me because of her history of febrile seizures, and all day she just didn’t feel well. She wanted me to hold her. She didn’t want to play or eat, and she napped for nearly four hours as her little body tried to fight the infection. And when it was time for me to leave for work, her little lips quivered and her eyes filled with tears, as she asked so sweetly, “can I please come with you?”
It’s in those moments that I want to quit and just be a mom. As if that’s an easy job. It’s not…trust me, I’ve tried it and failed miserably. But for me this is the single worst thing about being a working mom…and it seems to get tougher with each passing year.
Working in the freelance world has its distinct advantages. I can be home more than a normal 9-5 schedule, and can plan edit days and some interviews when they are in school. But unfortunately there are those months that when the work comes, you have to take it…and if you don’t they won’t ask you anymore. And of course it is during this busy time our kids need us most.
I’m sorry to all those moms that I worked with when I first graduated college who would come to work late because of their sick children…and I silently judged them. They were tired, they missed things that needed to be done, sometimes they even made my job harder. But now I know what they were battling at home, and they deserved my utmost respect.
Tomorrow I’ll return my focus back to work, but today I’ll savor ever second we can be together.
If you liked this post, then please read Teach With Love.
Or Ways to Find Balance as a Working Mom.
jenn collins says
Hey Kristen – I totally understand. That was the most awful part about working, for me too. I hated it when I couldn’t take one of the kids to the Doctor or just be there for them. It happened all the time, too. Totally stinks and I feel your pain!
It is hard, can’t wait to hear more about baby boy #3!
Oh, I want to cry. All so true. I remember feeling horrible all around…for going to work even though I knew I had someone at home to take good care of my son. But, on the same note, I wanted it to be me because I knew I could cuddle him and make both of us feel a little better. Sending well wishes to all of you.
yes it’s sooooo hard!
Oh my goodness, I am literally nearly in tears here. I so remember those moments, and they were AWFUL. I am guilty of actually taking my child to work with me sick because I couldn’t leave her. Set up her travel cot and everything in my office. Thought the owner was going to have a heart attack when he saw what I had done. Then he said, no worries, I see where you are coming from.
I worked with my oldest and up to 4 years of age with the youngest. Then I became an at home work at home mum.
Now I only work while they are at school, I am home when they are. School holidays are a bit hard, but I jus freed up my Wednesdays and they will stay that way.
Hugs momma, you are doing a fantastic job, and she will still love you. No matter what.
You hit this one on the nails head, it is the worse….
Oh No! I didn’t mean to make anyone cry! I was just so anxious in the TV truck the other night at work I had to get my thoughts out. It’s honestly been the hardest adjustment…when we both have to work late and neither my husband nor I can be there for them.
Janine Huldie says
I am with you 110% on this. I was a teacher and had to go back to work when my first was only 2 months old and I cried many days leaving her at the babysitter’s house. And then when I had my second and decided to stay at home, I thought it would be better, but still needed a bit more. So, I decided to freelance from home and do both. It truly isn’t easy and anyone who says it is, is either lying to you or themselves. Hugs mama and just know you aren’t alone.
I know how you feel. Every morning when I am ready to walk out the door to go to work my lil one pleads with me to stay. She is fine as soon as I walk out the door but I carry it with me all day. It is even worse when she isn’t feeling well and I know she needs me.
Aubrey @ 53weeks says
Oh gosh, that was me this morning as I rushed out the door to work. My baby isn’t feeling well and the tears and the outstretched arms killed me as I had to slip out the front door for the day. :/
I feel you. Especially working in sports, things happen on weekends, in the evening and on weekends. As a dad, I know it’s tough to leave the kids when all you want to do is stay home and be a parent. Even when they’re not sick!
Glad you wrote this in the moment you felt it most, too.
Thanks Eli – and yes sports is TOUGH. There’s rarely a holiday off, or weekend. It makes the guilt so much stronger. But the up side is more time together in the off season!
Hope you get to enjoy an extra coffee today! And your daughter feels better soon. Gave you some Top Mommy Blog love too!
thank you! That was an in the moment piece and things are looking up!
Katy Blevins - Chaos & Kiddos says
I am so with you. I had one of these light bulb moments last week after having to work from home for what felt like a bazillion snow days. I was wondering why one of my boys was being so nasty and aggressive, always mad and acting out. Suddenly, it occurred to me that working from home had been very lonely for them. They had to keep themselves occupied and were stuck talking to the back of my head while I worked on the computer. He was acting out because he missed me and felt ignored. I felt so guilty. It felt like I had “forgotten” to play with them.
Katy I am with you as well…it’s so hard to work from home and divide your attention. You are doing the best you can! We all are…
Aileen from Newsy Parents says
It is so tough. I remember during tornado season when Brian and I were working at the same station. Thankfully, they never put us on call at the same time. I can’t imagine a tornado barreling down on our home and someone other than us watching and protecting our kids who were so young at the time. You’re doing great and she’ll see how you’re providing for your family by working. She’ll also remember the times you are able to be there because of your freelance schedule. I really think it’s the best of both worlds.
I can so relate to this.. I always feel so bad when my kids are sick and I can’t be with them. It is the worst.. I agree.
I figured you can relate – and you have a tough schedule!
Talitha Haynes says
You made me shed a tear. I remember growing up and my mom working all the time to provide for us. I didn’t understand, but now I know what she probably was going through.
Well I didn’t mean to make you cry, but I actually loved hearing your perspective. I always wondered how kids felt. My mom didn’t work til’ I was 13 and boy did I miss her those years. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman….
Kristen, I hear your pain. All throughout my sons’ first years of school, I would go through those days every now. I’d be at work, but not fully “there”. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but I’m sure you have her extra hugs and kisses when you got home! I how she’s feeling better too!
Robin @ The Golden Rule Kids says
I have been both a working mom and a stay at home mom. It is so hard sometimes to have to leave them. Very true we do and will always carry our children with us where ever we go.
Crystal Bissonnette says
I have been on both sides of the fence, I worked for the first 2 1/2 years until my second was born. Being a working mom was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It made me feel uneasy and I cried for weeks after I first dropped Chase off, he was only 10 1/2 weeks. I eventually got use to our schedule. I worked full time 4 days a week so I could have 3 with him. But when Wes came along I knew I needed to take some time to stay home. I work part time from home and when I leave he is with daddy or my folks. It never feels right, ever. But you are right, they are still there…tucked deep in our hearts every single second!
The Dusty Parachute says
That is so hard. I am a stay at home mom and I have a very injury/illness prone daughter. I often joke that I could never get a real job because I am at the pediatrician 50% of the time.
I think we all are Susanne…I need to buy stock in band aids!
Oh I’m so sorry! I hope your daughter is feeling better. I’m not a working mom, but I now how helpless they appear when they are sick. Sending a virtual hug your way.
I have been a stay at home mommy AND a working mom and neither one is easy to do. Every woman or family has to decide for themselves what is best for their family and one of the best things about this whole dilemma is that we all have tons of examples of great working moms and stay at home moms. I salute ALL moms because we are all in this together. Great post!
I work at home, but I can really imagine this struggle. When the kids are sick, I don’t work. End of story. And that’s incredibly hard.
It’s one of my least favorite things on earth, if not my least – sick kids.
Hope you’re all feeling ok!
Agreed! Why can’t we just be called Moms or employees? Dads aren’t called working Dads. They are just men going to work. I don’t know if the guilt ever relents in any capacity once we are mothers. It is just part of who we are.
Danyelle Musselman says
I cried all the way to the airport the first time I had to leave town for work… and then there was that time my only child started WALKING and the nanny saw it first. The guilt lessens, but never really goes away!
I’m with you – I cried an entire flight to Colorado the first time I left them. It never gets easier does it?
Kelly Suellentrop says
Aw. I just want to mind zap you home so you can snuggle with your daughter. Every mother, whether they work outside the home or not, can totally understand that longing and guilt you feel. It sucks. No other word for it.
Me too! An thanks for reading and understanding!
Thank you for the reminder that each moment spent with our kids is a gift! I would love for you to share this at my brand new link party Making Memories Mondays going on now! There’s a great giveaway too!
I’ll head over now! thank you!
Joy @ Joy Love Food says
I hope everyone in your family is feeling better. Leaving a sick child, or a child who just wants you to stay, is heart breaking. I do not miss those breast pump malfunction days! Thanks for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend?!
This is so tough! When a little one is sick and you just don’t know what to do! Maybe taking off one day, but when one day turns into many…such a hard choice. Thank you for being so real and honest in your sharing. We all do the best we can. Some days are better than others!
I came here to check out the lady who serves her kid coffee in the sippy, (which was my favorite off brain story over at Eli’s) and I found a fellow mom whose heart breaks when she has to go to work when her kid is sick. I hear you so loudly!
Throughout the month of April I will post an element of being a working mom starting with the letter A on April 1st, B on April 2nd, etc. Would love to have you over and visit! There’s gonna be coffee OF COURSE!
It’s so nice to meet you – and yes, coffee wasn’t a good thing to hand my 2 year old!! Can’t wait to check out your site!