A Working Mom's Guilt

Moms working vs staying home.  I am not going to even try and compare the two.  I have done both and trust me they both have their challenges.  It does not help that we’re all starting to get stir crazy being indoors and these teasing warm days do not help.  “Look Mommy, it’s summer!”. Umm no, that was two days ago and today it snowed.  Wisconsin…enough said.


I became a stay at home mom when our oldest was 18 months and then went back to work when our youngest turned two.  Each change has been an adjustment for us all.  We are currently struggling to find a sitter for our boys this summer.  This seems to be a common problem with every mom I talk to lately.  With the purchase of another business next month I need to be at work.  Unfortunately, staying home all summer is not an option for us at this point.  People that I tell this to respond “Oh how nice. You’ll get to spend all your time with the boys!”  I feel like I am the only one saying “NOOOOOO I need to be at work, I will go crazy if I do not go into work!” All year round school?  Anyone else with me????


Within the past two weeks, I have come to realize it is really hard to find childcare…..correction, good affordable childcare.  I have tried working from home with my kids or taken them down to the office, it never ends well.  Everyone knows kids love buttons and boy do they like to push them, literally and figuratively.  We cannot afford to pay top dollar for someone to come to our house and apparently to get into an actual daycare you need to apply the day you find out you’re pregnant.  That’s just crazy!  Seriously, moms out there what do you do in the summer when school is out and staying home is not possible?  Sadly, asking family isn’t an option for us….surprise surprise everyone works. 


I loved the time I had at home with our boys and would not give it up for anything.   A friend of mine put it best years ago.  She works a few days a week and said it makes her a better mom having those days away from her kids.  I didn’t really understand that until I too went back to work, there is something to be said for adult conversation.  I remember the days I couldn’t wait for Sam to come home from work so I could talk with someone over the age of 3.  Whether you work or not we all need a break from time to time.  My favorite is a glass of wine and a giant plate of shared nachos at one of my favorite restaurants.  We all love our kids to the moon and back, but there is no better way to vent the challenges of motherhood than with good friends, cheese and wine.  


I know I am not alone on this, but it feels like a constant battle of guilt.  Guilt for not being home enough, for sending our youngest to daycare, asking sitters to come on school nights because of scheduled meetings.  I will always first and foremost be Mom; but I do love our business and helping support our family at the same time.  We are very fortunate that we are the owners; when I need to stay home with a sick child or cancelled school it isn’t a headache of what to do.


Naturally, I think you end up developing super mom powers.  Unfortunately, we moms lack the super power to fuse food back together.  I would like an edible fast drying glue for when a banana (or any food for that matter) breaks in a toddlers’ hand.  Somebody please work on that; it would save a good half hour of crying.  As a mom you learn to eat really fast, how to put a spin on anything to make it sound exciting (no, no more juice let’s have some AQUA!) and sneak out the door without little eyes noticing you left.  You have to, whether you work or not being a mom is still 24/7.  In the end the laundry still needs to get done, dinner still needs to be made and those darn toliets still haven’t figured out how to clean themselves.




Natalie Kohlhagen