Confessions of a Working Parent: Guilt

I work full time. I always have. When I met my husband 7 years ago I was working full time at a clothing store. I then landed a job with the Government which I held for almost a year before moving to a different section of the Government. I worked there for a year before I became pregnant with my first child. I took 9 months of leave and my husband took 3. It was wonderful!

But when those 9 months were up I went back to work. Full time. I worked for the Government for a bit longer until I found a less stressful job with a community college as an advisor. I worked there for a year and a half before we moved. 4 months after moving I had my second child. 2 months after that I started working as an ESL instructor in the evenings and on the weekend. That was my fist ‘part-time’ job in years.

I’ve always worked. Sometimes I’ve had more than one job at a time. When my second child was 9 months I also went back to work full time and taught part time in the evenings. We work so hard to give our kids the lives we never had, or to give them the life we did have and want to share. In my case it’s the former.

Right now my husband has made a career change and is in school full time and works part time in the evening. I work full time at a new job I’ve only been in since August. In the last two weeks I’ve had to take almost an entire week off work.

And I feel guilty.

I feel guilty to my new workplace. They haven’t made me feel this way, it’s an internal thing I always do.

I feel guilty to my children because I just want them to hurry up and get better; not so I can play with them and so they feel better but because I can’t keep taking time off.

I felt guilty this morning when I took my son to day care. He just wanted to hug me all day. He said he was tired and wanted to sleep and cuddle on the couch like we did yesterday and watch America’s Funniest Videos. I couldn’t even cuddle him yesterday because I had to make sure I was alert and able to cover for my co-worker. I’m lucky in that some aspects of my job are online and I can do this in these situations. This way I don’t have to eat up all my sick time.

But I feel guilty. I’m sure many working parents, men and women, feel this way. This world is not the same as it was. Mums or Dads don’t stay home all day with the kids unless it’s crazy feasible; which is often not the case. It is so hard to support a family of 4, I’m finding. Grandparents aren’t available because they either live too far away, they also work and don’t have the time or because they are too old or unhealthy to do it.

We all work. I know I will probably work until I’m dead. I have educational dreams and desires but I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve them. They cost money and time which I don’t  have.

I hate feeling guilty. I’m told I shouldn’t feel guilty but this is how society makes me feel. They make me feel that if I’m not at my Day Job every day then I’m doing something wrong.

It needs to stop. I’m tired of feeling guilty.

Posted by Sarah Jayne


I know how you feel. I felt guilty the first 2 years and now I have to keep reminding myself that it is also good for him. He’s 4 now. Being an only child (currently) he gets to learn more social skills than being stuck at home with mom. People ask me if I miss him when I’m at work and I say, yes I do but I enjoy him more on the weekends and we don’t take it for granted.

Sarah Jayne Nantais

I wonder if the guilty feeling ever really goes away.

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