The Guilt of Bieng a Working Mom

I was watching Queen Rania during her discussion at Yale university and a question she was asked really bothered me.

Females are always asked this question especially women in big leadership roles and who happen to also be mothers. They are always asked:” How do you balance your work and family and how do you do it as a mother?”

Why is this question never asked of men?

It’s really frustrating for women to always be asked this question because it kind of makes them feel that although they are very successful , they have most probably neglected their kids to reach their goals, so how do they balance?

Men are never thought of as neglecting their kids, they are patted on the back and told, wow what a great provider you are , what a great man.

One of the reasons that this bothers me is that most women have no choice. In this expensive day and age most women are working involuntarily, they work to put food on the table. The days of one income households is coming to an end sooner and sooner , it is so expensive and difficult to only live on the mans income alone so most women have no choice BUT to work.

And no choice but to feel guilty for not being good moms.
So I say enough with the guilt. Women feel so much guilt about this issue from everywhere, media , articles, studies, even friends and family and most frustratingly from other women too.

They are made to feel, hey you are a successful leader but you know what, how do you do it, maybe you are not as good of a mother as you are a good leader.
I hope that one day there will be a tipping point, the tipping point that will make people see that it’s not only the woman who has to balance work and family, it’s also the mans duty. I am waiting for the day when kings are also asked, how do you balance work and family.

It’s about time men feel the guilt for a change.


8 Responses

  1. also, a fathers responsibility extends past being a financial provider as far as I am concerend. So being an overly successful man must come at the price of neglecting some of your childrens basic need. So again raised the question, why arent men expected to meet these needs?

  2. As you said, it’s an expensive age where some women HAVE to work to provide for the family, that’s it, the scales have been turned… Men are often not asked this question because it’s their natural duty to provide for the family, but when women had to leave their children to help provide for them tere was the conflict between the natural need to be at home for her children and the newfound need to be outside working

    I’ll say if women have to go out to work, men too have to be at home more with the children and help out, just to strike some balance…

  3. 7aki, you’re right that men are rarely asked this question. But, I tend to try and turn the question into a positive one. When asked this (as I have been numerous times), I try to provide tips for other moms, assuming that clearly every mom who works is a great mom because she can balance the whole world! She just could use more pointers on things I’ve found that work. Haha.

    And frankly, being a mom period requires balance. Whether you work outside the home or are a stay at home mom, your work requires the balance between your duties as a wife, mother, and person. It seems to me many women get so caught up in the work vs. home balance that they forget that there needs to be a balance between you as a person and you in other roles ;).

    I was blessed to stay at home for the first 15 months of ButterBean’s life and found it far harder than going out to work. Personally, I work because I want the stimulation and ability to make a contribution rather than strictly for the income…

    And men should definitely feel the same guilt about how their kids are faring without their positie influence.

  4. It drives me crazy when people (especially other women) suggest that if you’re working you’re a bad wife/mom.

    There’s no correlation between working moms and messed up families. A lot of times it’s women that are judging other women about their decisions whether they’re working or full-time grad students or what not. I’ve had this discussion a few times with some of my childhood friends that have decided to get married and have children young and stay at home while their husbands work long hours and weekends.

    I look at some people in my family and in my community and see that a lot fo stay-at-homes bring up some bad eggs. I think back when I was junior high and high school and the kids most likely to get in trouble…did they all have working mothers? HELL NO… a lot of them didn’t. So that logic is so fricking flawed.

    I find myself having to defend my decisions in my community because I’m a girl in my mid 20s that just recently started a graduate program. Some people don’t understand that part of the reason why I’m doing this is for my future children. Living is expensive and I want us to be comfortable. I want us to be able to afford private schools for my kids if I feel like it’s better (just like my parents did for us). I’ll be working in a clean, honorable, low-stress and flexible environment making a good income. My kids can be proud to say their mommy is a doctor and hopefully will be inspired to pursue big goals in life.

    So why would I feel guilty? where’s the logic in that?

    Ok I think I went off on a tangent and I’ll get off the soap box now, this post just touched on a sensitive subject for me 🙂

  5. you’re making me feel guilty about marriage

  6. 7aki,

    Great post; I couldn’t agree with you more!

    I refer to myself as a ‘married, single mother’ as my hubby works out of town 2-5 days a week. (But, yes, he is an amazing provider AND a great dad; even better is the guilt he feels not being at home to watch our babies grow and become.)

    Just 3 yrs. ago, I taught 7th gr. English full-time AND had a sizable vending machine company (I was The Snack Fairy – and the sole employee) AND my hubby was AWOL.

    I literally worked my ass off; I got down to 105 lbs! I was sick all the time, even though I couldn’t afford to get sick because too many people depended upon me.

    Something had to give because I was simply spread too thin. NO ONE got my best.

    Though it absolutely broke my heart, I took a break from teaching; I love it so!

    Within a year, I sold my Snack Fairy biz, and I took a Fab-O, very-part-time teaching position.

    By doing so, I was able to find the balance that worked for ME; still being able to teach, working and feeling useful in ‘the real world’ AND being able to be the kind of non-stress-crazed mother I knew was hiding somewhere within me.

    Though I make next-to-nothing, I am ‘paid’ in happy feelings, happy kids and happy memories!

    I couldn’t do it all on my own, but maybe that’s just because I’m a weak woman; not because I’m a WOMAN.

    What the whole ordeal taught me was that, for 2 long years, I DID do it all. It gave me a deep admiration for TRUE single parents, of either gender.

    Most importantly, I realized that being basically-stay-at-home-mommy IS THE HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD.

    For me, work was an escape; in fact, I don’t ‘go to work’;
    I ‘go to PLEASURE’.

    Lucky, lucky me: I have that balance that so many feel we should seek; my hubby, though, is still on the hunt.

  7. loolt: I just blame hundreds of years of putting the man as the sole provider. which was the case. not any more. I hope time will change the status quo and men will feel the need to be more involved with the kids.

    ola: you hit the nail on the head

    mamabean: you make a good point. But still, even with the positive way you portrayed it a woman is kind of considered selfish for working and leaving her kids even when they can’t afford her being at home.
    I think in this day and age and with the amazing daycare around it makes it easier for moms to work and not feel so guilty.

    Asoom: I always thought the health care profession is the BEST for working moms because you set your own hours, you can work part time if you wanted. I have friends who are nurses and radiologists and they have that balance and flexibility. It’s great.
    I think there is a plus to working, you show your kids how to balance the home and the bread winning, it’s a tough task like mama bean said.
    I am sure you will be a fab mommy

    KJ: You should! hehehehe

    sassyviv: You are lucky, to be able to balance is THE BEST option, to find a job that is challenging but not entirely consuming to the point you neglect your family.
    I think men or women should not neglect family for work.

  8. what are you talking about? I envy working moms especially if they are divorced. work income, spousal allowance, child allowance.

    These women are RICH.

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