Babies To Toddlers, The Motherhood

I’m Running Out Of Time

The thing about being a parent is that you are basically screwed from the get go. You can’t always be certain you have made the right decisions. You will get it wrong. You will second guess yourself. You will have regrets.

My son turns three next month and I already have regrets. I would really appreciate a do-over right about now. Not of everything just of some things – just of some moments that I’ve missed or let pass me by because I’ve been so busy, so distracted. Moments that other people got to enjoy and savour whilst I was sat behind a desk responding to emails and pushing paperwork.

I wont get it of course. Even if we have another child in the future and we are in a position to  do things differently, I still will never get a second chance at him. His toddler and pre-school years are almost over, in what now feels like a blink of an eye he’ll be starting school next year.

Sometimes I just sit and cry about it. The constant conflict within me is exhausting.

I don’t actually wish I didn’t work. I don’t actually want to be with him all day everyday. I just want to be with him more. I want the time I spend with him to not be full of other demands like cooking dinner and washing clothes. I wish I wasn’t so tired all the time. I wish I had more patience, I wish I wish I wish.


He’s fine of course.

In fact, it is my firm belief that he is such a fabulous child because of the way he is being raised. He’s thriving in what from the outside, might be misconstrued as chaos – sending him here, there and everywhere for breakfast, for swimming, for naps. But what is in fact a carefully crafted routine that rarely deviates and gives him structure and variety  and adventure every day. The one thing my son can never be – is bored!

The input from both sets of his Grandparents, who between them care for him three days a week is invaluable. What he learns from them, what he’ll take forward from them is impacting massively on the person he is becoming.


The social element from his Nursery which he attends two full days a week is equally important.  He’s built friendships and relationships with other children and adults, independent of us  – away from home. I just think its marvelous and is enabling us to cultivate a confident, happy little maverick.

So I guess its not Mummy-Guilt, I don’t feel guilty – I don’t feel bad for him. I just feel bad for myself, because ultimately its me that’s missed out. Life is all about choices and sacrifices and making the best of your situation. Had I not worked or worked less I’d probably be writing the opposite right now, an article about I had lost myself or missed my old myself. Perhaps the alternate-Universe version of me has lost all her confidence and has no idea how she will find the courage to go back to work after three years away. Who knows? I suppose you make the best choices you can for your children and your family and then you run with it and hope for the best. Most days it works out, some days it doesn’t.

The grass is always greener and all that…


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  1. Sounds like you are doing a great job to me mama. It’s almost impossible to get the balance right and the inevitable parent guilt kicks in all the bloody time.

  2. This really resonated with me. I think all parents have a ‘things they wish they had done differently’ list, but it is all such a learning curve and every child is so different. I agree that actually with regards to working it is us who struggle with elements of it more than the child (especially with lots of lovely extended family support) and there are positives (aside from work being a necessity for many). Good work on raising the profile of some of the positives, loved your post 🙂 #StayClassyMama x

  3. I totally feel for you and get where you’re coming from. I went back to work full-time (seemingly more than full time with a 3 hour round trip commute to boot) when my first was 12 months and I’m now off on maternity leave again with my second. I loved being at work and it felt great to use my brain again, but the moment I was off with my daughter I realised just how much I’d be missing out on with her. She was happy as anything, and we were lucky that our niece came over from France to work as her nanny for a year. What an amazing bond they have now and they’ll have that forever.

    When I go back next time around (who knows, full time of 4 days a week if it’s feasible) I won’t have that luxury as I’ll have to put them both in nursery. I worry about them being raised in an ‘institution’. But my daughter goes to nursery one day a week and absolutely loves it. She gets so much more attention than I can give her, especially now I have a newborn to feed 6 times a day too.

    It’s so hard being a full-time working mum. And I agree it’s not about the guilt of leaving them behind, it’s always about the fear of missing out and wondering if I’ll regret it later down the line when their childhood has moved on. Got to do what’s right for both you and your kids though, right? It’ll all work out in the wash as they say.

  4. I agree with a lot of the comments here. I don’t think you can win either way. As long you and your son are happy, then that’s all that matters. Sounds like he’s doing fab to me and as a mum that’s all
    You can do! Well done you!! #StayClassyMama

  5. I went back to work after I had my first son and I can totally relate to everything you wrote. Since my daughter was born I have stayed at home and the difference is massive. Truth is sometimes I wish I was at work! You can’t win I think these feelings are just part of being a parent #stayclassymama

  6. This is such an honest post, thank you for sharing it! Firstly, it sounds like your son is absolutely thriving and enjoys both nursery and quality time with your extended family, which is so precious. Secondly, you’re right in that the grass is always greener.. we all feel it don’t we? If we stay at home we feel bad that we aren’t constantly doing crafts or we worry that our kids are missing vital socialisation. If we work we worry we are missing out. There’s not an answer but I think the fact your son is so happy has got to be the main thing. Your choices are the best for your family and that’s what matters. We all just do our best eh?! #stayclassymama

  7. I very much feel this too, like you say notmummy guilt for my kids, but Mummy regrets for myself. It’s so hard to strike that balance. Thank for sharing #stayclassymama

  8. Mouse, Moo and Me Too says:

    Your line about not feeling bad for him but feeling bad for you struck a chord with me – it sounds like you have a great support network around you and your son is thriving, but maybe not quite enough of those moments where you’re utterly focused on him and absolutely nothing else. Are there ever enough of those moments?! #stayclassymama xx

  9. I agree with lots of the other comments, a baby/child who feels loved and secure will always thrive, plus having close family/Grandparents to support you is such a bonus. We’re all trying to do the best we can with our situations, good on you for expressing it in this post though because it’s not always easy. lovely Photos too x 🙂 #stayclassymama

  10. laughing mum says:

    aww I hear ya… I felt like this when I was working and its not easy, but as you say, not for them, for us! Fast forward 10+ yrs and my girls are wonderful, they excel in social situations, they are confident and outgoing and we firmly believe this is down to the way they were brought up… they too were routed from nurseries, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends (we had no choice lol) and they are fabulous young ladies! Im not saying children of sahm’s are the opposite of that (Im a sahm now myself) far from it in lots of cases. I just relate to what your saying and how you feel and chirping in from my own experiences. it is US that miss out, but we do the best we can with our circumstances, and as long as the bambinos are happy, we just have to pat ourselves on the back for putting them first 😉 #stayclassymama

  11. As a new working mum, I can totally relate to this. Part of me actually likes being back at work and using my brain productively again, but I wish I could do it less. I’d wanted to work three days a week ideally, but my employer wasn’t too keen on that, and I couldn’t really afford it anyway. I’m working 4.5 days as a compromise, which still feels like too much sometimes. I got home at 5 today and my daughter hadn’t napped, so she was in bed by 6. I saw her for one hour. Not enough. But I agree that nursery can be good for socialisation, and I’m hoping she’s going to learn to make friends and trust other adults there. #stayclassymama

  12. This hit me on a series of levels as I constantly feel regret and like I’m already failing my two year old babe. Though I work from home, I too feel the need for more time of quality and less time where I’m doing multiple activities at once with my tot wrapped about one of my limbs. Thank you so much for sharing as it feels good to know I’m not alone in this! Xx, Lace #stayclassymama

  13. Sharon Rivers (@riverswrites) says:

    You can’t win either way hun, you just have to make the most of your situation 🙂 sounds like your babba is loved and looked after very well. Maybe you could do something special each night to help your feelings of missing out. A scrap book would be a nice thing to do and you could look back at it and hopefully realised that you didn’t miss out on as much as you thought you did 🙂 #stayclassymamma

  14. This definitely hits home. Being a working mom has resulted in my children having the most incredible relationships with their grandparents. The love they have for each other brings me so much joy, but it does come at a cost – because I couldn’t be there. Although it does come in handy when they are acting like creeps (like this morning) and I get to send them to Grandma and Papa’s! #StayClassyMama

  15. Petite Library says:

    Really enjoyed this refreshing post, things are not always rosy, we have decisions to make but ultimately if your little one is healthy and happy, crack open the prosecco 🙂 #stayclassy

  16. I went back to work when my eldest was 5 months so taking 11 months this time. Nursery did her the world of food though and I was amazed how much she learnt from there! #stayclassymama

  17. min1980 says:

    I totally get this. It seems as though every time I get excited about Piglet doing something new, my mum sighs and says he’s been doing that for ages-with her. But we have to do what’s best for us, and I do think the time I spend with Piglet is better quality and more fun than it would be if I was at home because I know there’s less of it. #StayClassyMama

    1. I get that too! I’m all excited by the new thing and to everyone else it’s a very old thing that’s lost its novelty. I’m noticing it more as they get older and the developmental shifts are more drastic.


  18. Oh I completely emphasise! It so hard not to look back and beat yourself up. Sounds like you are doing an amazing job though. Amy xx #stayclassymama

  19. I think your so right, it does do them good. I am a sahm and I really considering going back to work. I feel as though my children are missing out socially, compared to if they spent time at nursery. It’s so hard to get it right isn’t it!


  20. alisonlonghurst says:

    What a fantastically observant and balanced post! I totally agree with you that your son will be thriving on his routine and the input from his grandparents (gorgeous photo on the beach btw). I completely understand too that it’s you who feels that you are missing out and I admire your honesty when you say that if you were a SAHM, the blog could have been about losing yourself. Alison x #StayClassyMama

  21. 2travellingtots says:

    The grass is definitely always greener! I change my mind on a daily basis as to whether we’re doing the best for our kids – especially with our plans to take them on a 6 month trip next year. I think that’s the whole point though – none of us really know what we’re doing so the only thing we can do is make it up as we go along and hope for the best! x #stayclassymama

  22. shaunaceyb says:

    I head back to work in 2 weeks after a year home with my almost 1 year old and my 3 year old… I’ll be feeling much this way very soon…. 🙁

  23. Lou says:

    I thought this was so well written and thoughtful. None of us know whether we got or are getting it right and we make decisions for our families that are right and necessary at the time. Your ‘maverick’ little darling will be benefiting so much from the time with his grandparents and growing from time spent in Nursery. Thank you for this honest piece X Lou at

  24. mackenzieglanville says:

    The grass is always greener, it is hard as a mum, or any parent to not beat ourselves up over our choices and is it the best thing for them. I didn’t work at all when my 3 were young and I questioned was I setting a bad example for my girls, will they think that all you can be is a stay at home mum and not have ambitions besides being a mother. I mean being a mum is enough and stay at home mums are awesome, but I felt like I wasn’t being a strong, independent role model. That is the thing, no matter what we do we will find something to criticise ourselves over. When i first started to work again, my daughter was so worried I wouldn’t have time for her, but I do and I always will. We all have to do what feels right and just believe join ourselves a little more, oh and be way KINDER to ourselves and other parents, we really shouldn’t judge ourselves or others as hard as we tend to do. Great post! #stayclassy

  25. All kids need is to know that you love them more than anything. Children don’t really form proper lasting long term memories until they are about 5 or 6 (apparently!) so you have not run out of time at all. And from your side, you are doing the best you can for your family – by working, by doing laundry, by making dinner. He’s lucky to have a mum who cares so much about him!

  26. I totally get this – I think the grass is always greener and it must be hard to hear that you’ve missed certain things. But like you say, the variety of his week is what makes him and it sounds like you are all doing fantastic. Such an honest and powerful post, thank you for hosting #stayclassymama x

  27. I feel the same way about my youngest three. I am a SAHM so there is no “need” for my children to go to nursery but I send the girls each week as I know that ultimately, they get way more out of it than they do sitting at home with me. My youngest is due to start in September, just two mornings a week and although I know he will love it, I feel sad for me who will miss him tremendously. Although I’ll have five hours a week to myself for the first time in four years, so maybe not so much….!! #stayclassymama

  28. The grass is always greener! This week I have been pining to go back to work! It’s good to read the other point of view, simply because you helped me realise we all have worries and anxiety about parenting, whatever our lot in life. What I have realised most since becoming a mother is there is no such thing as having it all. We have to make choices and compromises and just do our best. #StayClassyMama

  29. I hear you, I hear you loud and clear. My son spends a lot of time with both sets of grandparents because I work, and while I don’t feel guilty for him because he has a fab time, like you say it’s guilt for myself. I constantly feel like I’m running out of time. My son is 3 this year and I’m constantly reminded how fast he’s growing up and how I would love to slow time down but obviously can’t. I feel constantly conflicted. #stayclassy

  30. I think I’ll feel similar to you when I go back to work. Being with my little lord every second of the day, when he goes to nursery I’ll miss knowing about his adventures- but it’s best for baby and for mum 🙂 #stayclassymama

  31. Ah, totally get the bit about it being you thats missing out. My daughter loves going into creche, socialises well, eats good food , is cared for by people that genuinely care for her. Much better than staying at home with me watching Max and Ruby and eating toast. Its me thats missing out. Will I look back and regret it? Who knows, but we make our choices for now, not for 20 years down the line. Lovely post, Sarah. We’re all in this together

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