Working Mom Guilt

This week I was hit hard with working mom guilt. My 4 year old son, Michael, was having difficulty at school and the first thing I did upon hearing the news from his teachers, was blame myself. Michael, who is a sweet, sometimes timid, playful, energetic, average 4 year old started “acting out” at school. At first I thought this is a phase and is something all 4 year olds go through.  All kids are going to “test the water” at some point in their lives and I kept telling myself that my kid was doing just that; testing his teacher’s and my own limits.

For the most part, Michael has always behaved. The mother in me couldn’t let this go. Why now? What has changed? And then bingo, bring on the guilt! My going back to school at night equals less time with Mommy, which equals Michael “acting out” at school, which equals my fault. Hence, working mom guilt.

So what do I do? I actually contemplated dropping one of my courses, to spend more time at home with my son. After talking it over with my support system I decided not to. The best advice I was given was that everything I am doing is to better our future. If I quit, what message will I be sending to Michael? I’m not sure the answer to that question, however I do know the message I am sending by making this small sacrifice and staying in both my night courses.

I am instilling hard work and dedication. I am showing my son what it means to be a lifelong learner. I am showing him what it means to work hard for something you want. Why should I feel guilty about any of this? I should feel proud that I can teach my son, firsthand, the definitions of hardwork and determination. And that is what I am going to continue to do.

But, why do I still feel guilty!?! At the end of the day I know these things, but it doesn’t help me deal with the guilt. So what is the answer? How do I balance being a mom with being a teacher who is pursuing her education.

I don’t know the answer. All I know is that I am going to continue to talk with my child, teach my child, and make the most of our time spent together. So, cheers to another snow day! I’m looking forward to baking cookies, playing board games and being with my child. And when he is exhausted and needs a nap, that’s when I’ll worry about Tamara, the grad student.

Life is about finding that happy balance.

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6 thoughts on “Working Mom Guilt

  1. Tamara- Two great blog posts! Teaching can be overwhelming all by itself, I can not imagine all that you are juggling. You have a great outlook and I am confident you will have a spectacular Spring semester with your positive attitude and support system. Believe it or not, stopping and playing a memory game with your son will prove to be more productive than pushing him away to focus on what seems to be at the forefront of your “To do” list. This is a lesson that took me years into my teaching career to realize. Constantly doing work and stressing over what I still had to do was not nearly as productive as to when I decided to take some time for me. While I still have work to do in balancing life and work I look forward to learning from you and how you are progressing towards your #oneword goal of balance.

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  2. Tamara- It sounds like you’re doing a great job! I work and go to school full time, I can’t imagine trying to raise a child, too! It must be difficult, but I like your theory of showing your son the value of determination and hard work by your own example. I hope you have time to take a break and enjoy the snow day together!

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  3. I can’t even imagine juggling a full time career, grad courses and being a parent, which is a full time job in itself! I feel that teachers give everything they have to their students during the day and it is amazing that you have enough left over to give to your son and to yourself. I admire your tenacity and how much you value lifelong learning. It is evident in all that you are doing and I’m sure that your son and students see that as well.

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  4. Tamara – While being a mother can be the most rewarding job, it is also the hardest! I believe you are teaching your son many important life lessons in your role as mother, teacher, and student. As the mother of two grown daughters, I honestly feel that raising children in a way that lets them know they are not only loved, but cherished, will help them grow up feeling secure, confident, able to accept changes and new situations. I think you should continue along that path you have chosen and know that you are doing the best for him.

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  5. I am a firm believer in slowing down and enjoying the small day to day moments in life because when they’re gone that’s what we’ll look back on and miss. It has taken me a few years to get to that point, but life has a way of showing us what’s truly important. Your son is so lucky to have such a hardworking and dedicated mother, you should be proud of yourself and your determination! You are a true inspiration to everyone who may think their plate is just a little too full!

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  6. I am a Libra and a graduate student who is taking three classes. It is difficult for me to find balance in my own life between the tasks that are necessary and the activities I would like to do. I can not imagine how challenging it must be to balance a full time job, grad school, and being a parent. Michael is so lucky to have a mom like you, someone who sees the world clearly and honors his future by being the best woman she can be.

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