The Return Of Working Mom Guilt

    This afternoon, I received an email from my 7 year-old’s teacher stating that she had sent a memo home last Friday alerting me to the fact that he was talking excessively in class.  She went on to say that he had failed to copy down the homework assignment due to his socializing.  No sooner had I read the message that I began to feel the all too familiar pangs of Working Mom guilt.

    You see, I asked him this weekend if he had finished his homework and he assured me that he had.  The responsible mommy thing to do would have been to check his folder and make sure that he had indeed finished all of his work.  Instead, I chose to give in to my exhaustion and take his word for it.  Now I feel terrible.  God knows what the teacher must be thinking of me.  In her mind, I probably don’t care about my son’s academic progress.  It’s even more embarrassing because I am a teacher myself.

    The truth is that I check every homework normally and I always take care of everything and I think that that’s just it, I’m overworked and overextended.  Between having a full-time career, a small business, a family, a marriage, and raising kids, most times I don’t even know whether I’m coming or going.  While every single facet of my life is rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else, I am only human and it’s starting to wear me down.

    My son is now grounded until further notice because I don’t support bad behavior in class and because I believe in tough love as part of parenting discipline.  The thing is that I’m sick over having to take away all of his privileges but I’m not trying to raise any delinquents who are not productive members of society.  Having said that, I had to put my foot down with his father about this punishment.  “Believe me,” I told him, this is hurting me more than it is hurting you.

    So here I am, typing this post, feeling like a failure as a mother, like the meanest mother on the planet, and hating myself for feeling this way.  This parenting thing is sure not easy and one never knows whether he or she is making the right parenting decision.  Only time will tell in this case.  Until then, my son will be reading and coloring because any other activity that requires technology is banned for him until I see an improvement in his behavior in class.

Let’s Discuss:  Do you ever suffer from Working Mom guilt or do you ever find yourself making difficult parenting decisions?

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  1. I do not have any kids but i can totally feel for you. It is important for your son to learn this lesson one way or another-as you know learning is the only way he will be able to make his way through life –talking his way through just isn’t going to cut it. And do not beat yourself up-you are doing the absolute best that you can under a difficult situation.

  2. Marielle A. Lord says

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, we all have moments where we doubt our parenting skills. And you said it yourself, you always check his folder.

  3. Do not beat yourself up over the fact that you have to work for a living. I do, too, and yes – things get missed sometimes, but hey – that’s life. Teachers understand (I hope) that occasionally things get missed. Sure the kids need to be responsible, but let’s face it, they’re kids and kids will be kids. Seriously, you are doing an awesome job 🙂

  4. This is called the ‘Super Woman’ syndrome. You are not a mean mother and I’m sure that teacher has faced situations like this in her own life. Your son will benefit from reading and coloring and think of all the creative ideas he will get by doing them. I felt the same way when my kids were in school and it is hard being a ‘super woman’ because you have to wear so many capes. You son needs to realize consequences for his actions and you are teaching that to him which means he will be a successful adult.

  5. I have felt this way many times and think every mom feels that way. Don’t beat yourself up over it. I mean, he’s seven, he is going to miss things sometimes so surely his teacher would understand.

  6. I can totally relate! You are not being mean, you are being a responsible parent who loves their child enough to set boundaries and to teach responsibility. It, of course, drove me nuts as a kid that my father was dead-set on teaching us to be responsible individuals, but that life lesson has certainly taken me far! Give yourself a hug, parenting is certainly no easy task!

  7. Lawna Young says

    This post sounds all to familiar when it comes to homework! Just a few weeks ago I asked my son if he had finished his homework and he insisted he had. I took his word for it only to find out the following day that he never did it!

  8. Oy, Maria, I feel your pain! I just dropped off my first grader’s homework at school — really, homework for the parents — because I forgot it. Homework is a battle for us, and like you, I’m too exhausted to stay on top of it. And my first grader complained that I never chaperone her field trips. Oy — It is not easy. Don’t beat yourself over it and know you are not alone!

  9. I oftentimes feel guilty when my children get home from school and I still have a ton of work to do be it online or around the house. I wish that I could spend time with them instead.

  10. JadeLouise Designs says

    I work at home, so I’m even home to monitor their homework and I still have this struggle. And I have the “bad mother” guilt. I think it comes with being a parent no matter if you work or not. And kids will be stinkers who try to push the boundaries of what they can get away with. You are awesome to give some tough love! The last time my son tried to pull this on me; he also lost all of his privileges until all homework was completed and made a full week without missing any homework or lying to me.

  11. Isabella Grey says

    I guess I look at it this way…you’re there for your son, he’s in school, and you seem to be doing a great job as a mother. Every Mom goes through this, I know my mom did.

  12. I look at it this way, you’re there for your son, he’s in school, and you seem to be doing a great job as a mother. give yourself a break sweetie we all are doing our best

  13. I was lucky and was able to homeschool my daughter and I was able to not have to work. I know it can be hard to do it all. I know your son knows you are doing the best you can.

  14. I suffer from working wife guilt, so I can only imagine that working mom guilt is much worse! Just remember that, while you are working, you are still being a great mom because you are providing for the needs of your children!

  15. Jennifer Williams says

    I always felt guilty when I was working outside the home for missing so many things. Being a single mom you could not take off for every school event. Do not be too hard on yourself, you do a great job and none of us are perfect.

  16. Mama Maria, it’s not you so don’t blame yourself. My youngest was the same way and still is, fortunately he will be graduating in May and will be 18. He’s a very good young man, but was a talkaholic in his earlier years!

  17. Aw no you shouldn’t feel bad things happen and I’m sure your son isn’t the first and wont be the last 😉 x

  18. I make those decisions all the time and I no longer feel guilty about it. I’m away from my kids a lot more than most parents. I’m out the house by 5:30 every morning sometimes at 5am and I don’t get back in until almost 6pm, sometimes later. I don’t always check homework but I give them that choice to be honest about doing it and being responsible. If I get a report that homework is missing or bad behavior, punishment is meted out and they know why. Nothing to feel guilty about at all. You’re doing the best you can and that’s all that matters.

  19. i sometimes feel the guilt, but i know it is part of parenting. i always make difficult decisions when parenting. it is what the job is all about.

  20. Joanna Sormunen says

    This is an important lesson for him to learn. All children test their boundaries. The important thing is that you are showing him that you are there, he can trust you to have his back. And that means a lot.

  21. Veronica Solomon says

    That has happened to me a few times. I totally rely on my son telling me he did his homework and placed it in his folder, only to get a note later. I got one this week because he was sleeping in class. Why, when I send him to bed at 9:00 every night. He was up playing on his Christmas present (iPhone mini). That thing will not be seeing the light of day during the week from now on. I was extremely embarrassed getting that note and felt like the world’s worse mom 🙁 You’re not alone girl!

  22. Veronica Solomon says

    That’s iPad mini. Not iPhone mini. lol See what I mean? I’m losing it!

  23. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says

    I was a SAHM the entire time my kids were in school, so I didn’t have that particular issue. But sure, we’ve all had to make some discipline calls that are hard for us!

  24. Even I experienced that and I am a stay at home mom. I learned my lesson though, after that one time, I am always ion their folder everytime they come home. Don’t beat yourself up, I think you are doing just fine.

  25. It can be so hard to always have to be running on empty but all of us at times feel like a bad mom due to our loads. I think the important thing is making sure the time we spend with them is high quality and engaged.

  26. I feel for you and have been there before when my kids were younger. Just not enough time in the day to do it all. I think more than anything, it is disappointing when they don’t follow through with something.

  27. Teresa McCluskey says

    My girls are 1 & 3 But I am a SAHM so this helps me I guess. I don’t know what I would do if I felt the way you do 🙁 Good luck! hope you figure out a solution.

  28. Sorry you felt this way. My oldest isn’t 6 yet so I’m not dealing with homework but it is the small things sometimes that get to us.

  29. I am a SAHM for right now, as soon as my last kid gets into school I’ll be going out to find a job. It’s always hard to find a balance as a parent, important part is to be ok with whatever you are doing. Whether working or not, your place in the family is important and you do what you have to do

  30. Courtney Pies says

    If I were a working mom, like you, I know I would be feeling guilty. I still feel guilty sometimes with having my blog. But we all just do the best we can do.

  31. I used to have this issue when I would leave my children with my mother so my husband and I could work. So many times I would not be able to pick them up until 6pm and then bed time is at 8pm.. 2 hours a day with my children? that is NOT enough… Lucky for me, My husband got a promotion, we moved from the state and now I stay at home with them. I wouldn’t want it any other way now, but I do remember the working mom guilt. I hope you and your son can find a happy medium, but sometimes moms mess up.. Its okay! Life will go on!

  32. Annie Wong says

    You are allowed to be human, we all make mistakes, but you are correcting them & making your son more responsible in the process. There just aren’t enough hours in a day. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re doing the best you can 🙂

  33. TheNewClassy says

    My daughter used to get in trouble for talking in class, but she is now enrolled in both high school and college. So, perhaps he will get it out of his system soon. 🙂

  34. Don’t be so hard on yourself! My parents were so angry at me for years for comments like this. I wish teachers knew more the influence their words have on parents and choose more carefully.

    I forget to check the notebook all the time and my son’s NURSERY teachers give me a hard time about not taking him on class field trips. He’s 3.

    Your son has you in his life; that’s more than lots of kids can say. We can’t create perfect kids but we can support kids who know how to learn.

  35. coupontammy says

    You are doing the right thing in my opinion. You have to take the hard stand when kids tell you onw thing and you find out the didn’t do it. I wish more parents would parent and not just try to be their kids friends. If more parents stepped up to the plate it would make all parents life’s a little easier. Hang in there! Hopefully he will learn to follow the rules.

  36. (The Return Of Working Mom Guilt) I know what your going through, years ago when my four children were all younger, I had the same type of feelings.

  37. I feel this way pretty much every day. My son is 14 now and he’s an awesome kid though so I must be doing something right.

  38. Great article!
    In today’s career-driven world, it’s common for both parents to be working full time in high pressure jobs that don’t provide flexibility to cater to family life. The expectation to be constantly available has resulted in some career-driven mums fielding business calls and responding to emails from the hospital ward, just mere hours after giving birth.

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