10 Reasons Why Being a Working Mother Sucks Balls

This is an article I’ve had half drafted for a while, but I could never quite finish it off. I was worried it would come across as a woe is me post, my life is so hard post, I’m so exhausted post. But after a particularly shitty fortnight and just generally feeling like a crappy Mum, I read this piece The Working Mother by Learning To Be Mrs C and it just made me feel a lot better. I completely related to it and just felt relieved that I wasn’t the only one struggling with the work/life balance. This is exactly why I love blogging,  you start to realise that you are not alone. You are not the only one.

As Mothers of this generation, the game is varied, the choices are different and the guilt is greater.

Should I Work? Can I Work? Do I Want to Work?
Should I Stay At Home? Can I Stay At Home? Do I Want to Stay At Home?

But the ultimate truth is we’re all dealing with the same shit, our struggle is the same – its just the context that varies.

So here’s my ten reasons why being a working mother sucks balls. I’m not saying being a working mum is harder than being a stay at home mum – who knows, who quite frankly cares? I don’t, I’m far too fucking exhausted to worry about what everyone else is doing. This shit is hard and regardless of our ‘parenting context’ we all deserve a fucking medal.
If your a stay at home Mummy – please can you write ‘Ten Reasons Why Being a SAHM Sucks Balls?’ Then lets get together, compare notes and consume vast quantities of wine.
First bottle is on me!

1. My Kid Has Friends That I Don’t Know
A few months ago he came home from Nursery with an invitation to Harry’s 2nd Birthday Party. “Who the fuck is Harry?”  I asked my husband, he didn’t know either. The last thing I want to do is go to party where we don’t know the child, parents or anyone else, but go we did because Finley knew that child, he knew Harry because Harry is one his friends.

2. I Miss Him
I miss him, I’m missing out on him which is just crap. I deliberately don’t have a photo of my son on my desk. Most people do don’t they? I think it helps them get through the day but I don’t need a constant reminder that I’m not with him. My mind diverts back to him enough of its own accord, without having his beautiful face smiling up at me.

3. I Am Too Tired to Play
Sometimes I am so flipping exhausted after work that I just can’t summon the strength to play. I fob him off with watching Peppa Pig or Fireman Sam and having a cuddle on the sofa. Which he doesn’t mind but I know that truthfully he’d rather I got up and danced around with him like a lunatic. Or built his train track and smashed my train into his, but some days I just can’t I don’t have the energy left for it.

4. My Kid Makes Me Feel Guilty
There have been several occasions where he has stood at the front door shouting ‘Mummy, Mummy’ as I drive away from him to work. It happens once in a blue moon but when it does I feel horrendous, I feel like a shitty mother and a shitty person and that feeling stays with me all day long.
I know he loves the places and people he spends his time with during the week but he also loves me and I’m leaving him when he doesn’t want me to.

5. I Get Two Hours of Quality Time
On a week day, if I’m lucky and there’s no sodding traffic, I get about two hours of quality time with him. The fact that these two hours coincide with the Pre-Bedtime Witching Hour often means I get two hours of manic running about, frustrated tantrums and being repeatedly told ‘not sleep yet!!’.

6. I Bring Work Stress Home
This doesn’t happen often,my current work place is pretty chilled compared to some negative environments I’ve worked in the past but sometimes when I’ve had a rough day, I bring my bad mood home with me and that’s just not fair. I’m not mean or horrible or anything but I’m just harassed you know? So I have less patience, I am less willing to be understanding and try to reason with him. So on these days he gets told off quicker, put on the naughty step sooner or he loses his favourite Choo-Choo after only one warning. He doesn’t understand that Mummy’s been at work for eight hours, dealing with constant requests and deadlines, he just thinks Mummy’s the bitch who took his Choo Choo away.

7. My Kid Tells Other Kids That His Mummy is at Work
This ones a killer, its a hard pill to swallow. I have been informed (with the kindest intentions) that when he goes to the park and sees other children playing with their Mummy’s or Daddy’s he informs them that his Mummy/Daddy are at work. He tells them ‘My Mummy Work‘, as if to let them know he does actually have one, she’s just not around.

8. I Worry What He Thinks Work Is
He knows that work is a place we go to, without him but what does he think we are doing? When my husband works a weekend I often take Finley to visit for his lunch break. His office is on a farm, which has tractors, apple trees and chickens – its basically a two year olds dream day out. We take a little picnic, he gets to sit on the tractors and feed the chickens and its all jolly good fun. So does he think Daddy goes to work and has fun? He has no concept of money and necessity, he just knows when Daddy goes to work he goes to this awesome fun farm for the day. Does he think we’re going through choice, to have fun without him?

9. I Over Compensate
Ugh, I hate admitting this but I am definitely guilty of over-compensating to make him happy. There is a difference between over-compensating and outright spoiling. I don’t spoil him. He doesn’t get whatever he wants, I’m not an idiot who gives him sweets for breakfast. But I will do things just so that I can be the reason he is smiling. I will let him have just one more story before bed or a biscuit with his milk. I will keep kissing him over and over again because I don’t get to all day.

10. I Don’t Get Any Time to Myself
I don’t, not during the week anyway. If I’m not working, I’m with Finley and if I’m not with Finley I’m carrying out the next task in the chain. I’m cooking dinner, putting the washing on or making lunches for the next day. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t do it all, my husband and I work as a team – he has his jobs and I have mine. But even when you split the chore list 50/50 its still takes up a fair chunk of your four-hour evening window. So by the time we’re all home, kiddos in bed, dinners cooked and eaten, washing is hung up and the cats are fed, its fucking 9 o clock and that’s pretty much game over. I’m just too tired by then to read my book or watch one of my programmes, I can’t be bothered I just need to sleep.

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  1. Rachel Bitmead says:

    I am a working mum too, i am exhausted when i come home from work -playing is the last thing on my mind when i'm trying to juggle my eldest daughter's homework, listen to both of them read at separate times and cook dinner! I make up for on the weekends and half terms 🙂 #Findyourtribe

  2. Great post. I work full time and feel all of those things in abundance and I do spoil my little one. My mum (grandma) tells me that I do. For me the worst thing is missing him. I just want to spend more time with him because he is super cool and I love him but I can't and that is really tough. Thanks for writing this post. I appreciate it.

  3. I think its natural to feel guilty as a mom whatever the situation, but honestly I don't think there is a perfect medium. I worked some of the time when my kids were little when we lived in a town where I could find work, the times we lived way off the beaten track I found other ways to make money – sewing, painting tablecloths & plants I had hand-grown. Yes, the stay at home work had more flexible hours, but it brought in very little money. I felt guilty both ways. My advice looking back as my daughters are older now, just do the best with what you have and don't listen to people who judge. .

  4. Popping back over for #TenThings and thought of a couple downsides to being a stay at home Mum for you… Everyone else seems to work, so you spend a LOT of time on your own and you feel guilty about spending money if you aren't making money!

    Stevie x

  5. Exactly – needs must x

  6. Yeah you are right, there's guilt at every turn when it comes to the working/stay at home dilemma! x

  7. 40 hours in 4 days(??!!) well that definitely sucks balls!!! X

  8. Great post. Mummy guilt is such a toxic thing but, 9 times out 10, there isn't a better choice so we just have to get on with making the best of what we've got. (I once got asked by my daughter's old headmistress who I was. With hindsight it's funny but at the time I was, “What sort of mum am I?!”).

  9. I could have written this. I'm lucky that I work 2 1/2 days but they are long days and the rest of the week I spend chasing my tail. I'm really missing my baby and also not enjoying my job which makes it 10x worse. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

  10. I can totally relate! It's sucks but it's the thing we need to do to continue providing for our kids, isn't it? Thanks for sharing, at least we're not alone in this situation! #MMWBH

  11. Mum guilt sucks! I think regardless of whether we're at home or working we'll always feel guilty for something! I don't work other than my blog despite my boys being 9 and 11, childcare is so expensive and my eldest has Type 1 diabetes so I've always struggled to trust any one with him – I hate that I don't contribute that much to the family finances.
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

  12. I can relate to this completely. I work four days a week but in those 4 days I do 40 hours minimum. I also have no energy, which is worst at the moment for medical reasons. I do it so I get a friday with Monkey. But he will be to school next year and then it will all change again. On the plus side I use to do 55-60 hours a week before having him so it has reduced a bit :). I over compensate, loose my patience, feel guilty (constantly) and cuddle in front of the TV rather than get toys out because I can't face tidying them away again in an hour. How rubbish is that! But thats life at the moment and he knows no different and we make up for it on the full days we have with him (Hubby doesn't work a monday so he gets 4 full days with us). I take solace in the fact that if I worry about it then I must be doing an okay job because I am tuned in to it! I hope!! Its good to know I am not alone though 🙂 xx Thank you #PickNMix

  13. HI thanks for commenting, that must have been hard to take. I'm sure I'll hear something similar in the future. There is definitely a right balance, its just most of us can't afford to achieve it I think.

  14. Yeah I think we are programmed/ conditioned this way!

  15. Thanks for commenting I've now just visited your site and read that piece – I love a bit of social history! That whole moss situation definitely sucks ass! I've added you to my reader list – love your style of writing x

  16. That's really hard if you don't see them at all during a working day, bless you x

  17. Totally get your point – because we've been socially conditioned this way but men haven't!

  18. Thank you for your lovely comment x

  19. This is true, when I was on maternity leave/work part time I know my husband was envious of the extra time I got with our son. But he did know it wasn't all fun and games!

  20. Yeah its difficult, working part time definitely helps!

  21. I think you're right both ends of the stick have their own negatives (and positives!)

  22. Yeah it feels like whatever you choose you can't win sometimes! Thanks thats a lovely thing to say – I'm trying my best x

  23. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts and feelings. I have those same feelings. I felt terrible when my son told me that I didn't even know what his classroom looked like (which is true as I had only been there twice the whole year). Is there a balance? I don't know. #FabFridayPost

  24. I think there is a case of the grass is greener for me, I miss work (so had another baby to compensate not working) and want to use my brain. Blogging, for now, is a great medium for me to use my brain and hopefully one day to make some money! I also think that you're just programmed to feel guilty of all your choices the second you have a baby, whatever that choice is. Thanks for linking with #effitfriday

  25. Your post caught my eye because I recently wrote a post with 'sucks ass' as the title, so we're on the same wavelength! I agree – it is hard for all Mums, no matter what the circumstances. But, have to admit, some working mothers, the commute they have to go through, the stress at work and the guilt at being separated from the kids, makes things extra hard 🙁

  26. I only work part time but I'm totally with you on this. My hours are never set so it really sucks on the days when I'm out before she's up and don't get in until after she's in bed. But then my partner's at home feeling guilty about the work / home divide. It's a no win situation really!

  27. I work full time too and I totally get everything you've said here. As mums we end up feeling guilty regardless of whether we work or not, and I recently wrote a post about guilt over going to work and leaving my son with my mum, whom I sometimes feel may just as well have permanently adopted him, but do we ever see dads wringing their hands over their to-work or not-to-work choices? No we do not. If they stay at home they are considered feminist heroes, and if they work they are just doing what is considered normal. Now I'm not saying that they've got it right and we have it wrong, but when I find myself feeling guilty I try to take a leaf out of their books. Why should we feel guilty? I'm sure that your little one knows you are there for him, even if he does think that work involves going off and having fun without him, and that's the main thing.

  28. Oh I hear you!! I work part time and I juggle – badly! You are doing the right thing for your family and that's all that matters. It is tough though. #PicknMix xx

  29. I'm still on maternity leave but my partner works. This has given me a huge insight into how he must feel because he doesn't often talk about how he wishes he was home because I know it makes him sad. I have so much respect for a mum who goes to work to help support her family- I know I'm going to have to return to work at some point in the near future but it'll all be worth it one day!xxx

  30. I “only” work a two day week (16 hours) and that sucks balls!! I completely know where you are coming from. I work because needs must and it goes towards bills, but I am left with no money for fun stuff. At least I only do the two days, but like you, then only have around two hours of those days with my kids. Sarah http://www.kippersandcurtains.com

  31. Hi,

    I don't think there is ever any win-win situation when it comes to family life. Parents that work feel guilty for working, and never spending time with their kids, yet, full-time parents like myself, feel guilty for not earning enough and having to say, sorry but we can't afford it.

    Sometimes it sucks but when I look at the two boys, I just remind myself why I'm doing it, it wasn't always like this, and one, everything will be back to 'normal' (if there is such a thing).

    Great post, thanks for sharing #effitfriday

  32. Great post. I am a stay at home mum and I have so much respect for working mums. But the truth is I feel guilty too! For not earning a wage, for not doing enough housework when I am the one at home, for not doing enough activities etc… I really think you can not win. Sounds like you are doing a great job and are a great role model for your son and providing for your family. xx

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