Will My Son Starting School Ease My Working Mom Guilt?



I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I took 8 weeks off work after I had each of my kids. Prior to starting a family I always pictured I would be more than ready to return to work after maternity leave. I like to keep busy and thought I would get stir crazy.

I was sincerely surprised when my time at home was in fact very busy and completely fulfilling. My son starts Pre-K this school year. It leaves me wondering if him starting school will ease my working mom guilt.

The night before going back to work after both maternity leaves I remember feeling like I was leaving a piece of my soul behind by not being with my babies. I then tried not to cry the next day(s) at work. I know, I know that sounds dramatic. It may have been amplified by post pregnancy hormones and sleep deprivation.

I wasn’t quiet about these feelings either. All the supportive mamas in my life and on social media told me they understood. They said it would get easier. They said it would begin to feel normal. Those woman were partly right. It did become easier once we all got in the routine of me going to work.

It never felt normal to me though. Why? Well, that ranges from I miss my kids, to I feel like I am not being a good mom by being away from them, to I don’t want to miss out on anything, to a million other reasons on any given day.

Last month I had a week off work that we used as part mini vacation/part stay-cation. No matter where we were or what we were doing, my kids passed the baton back and forth between who was going to totally lose their minds, have meltdowns, and be inconsolable. Don’t get me wrong, we had some good moments that week.  A lot of time though was spent being driven nearly mad by these two tiny, fussy humans.

The Sunday night before it was time for me to return to work after my week off I was bawling. I mean to tell you that I did the ugliest ugly cry you have ever seen. The kicker is – I don’t hate my job! I have the best work/life balance with the lowest amount of stress of any place I have ever worked. But even though my kids drove me nuts I was still sad I wouldn’t be with these crazy people all the next day.

My line of thinking is that if my kids will start to be at school for a big chunk of the day, maybe I will stop feeling bad for not being at home through the day. Are there any other moms who never fully adjusted to returning to work or any moms that had working mom guilt relieved when the kids started school?


  1. I was a SAHM for about 15 years – went back to work when my youngest was about 9….I was lucky to work in a school so that I was home when they were off. I only went back because my father in law moved in with us so if one was sick, there was an adult at home. (also there was college looming not too far off) Part of the reason for not working when they were young was because I could not find a babysitter for five children all at the same time. But I have never regretted staying home and must admit it was one of the best times of my life. We all have to do what is good for ourselves. And just when I got to the point of missing little ones like toddlers – I was blessed with 9 grandchildren…still love those babies running around my house!

    • Thanks so much for reading and for the thoughtful comment. My husband got laid off when I was pregnant with our second. So right now he gets to stay home. It’s just the way it worked out, but I’m grateful one of us gets too… Even if I am a tad jealous at times. I also have at times wished I would have been a teacher so I could have the same time off my kids do.
      9 grandkids!?! I can’t imagine how fun that must be!

  2. Thanks for sharing your emotions, it’s honest! There is no “right” way to react to being a working mom, despite what our culture tells us–do more! Do it all! I have found joy in both staying at home and being completely immersed at work. I find the transitions are hardest, but as long as I stay focused on enjoying the here and now–being present and mindful whether at work or home (or working from home!)

    • Oh that’s such a great point, there’s no right way to feel AND the translations are the hardest. I do try to have my mind in work at work and home at home. It for sure helps but can be hard to do at times!


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