A New Kind of Mom Guilt: Do You Ever Feel this Way?

Lately life has been pretty good. I’m working part-time from home and loving it. The girls are home with me three days a week and it’s been going surprisingly well.

I know how fortunate I am. How lucky my family is. Especially when so many families are struggling right now. I am not a religious person per say, but yes, I do thank God for all that I have.

And a big reason my family is doing great? Is my husband. If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while, you know I don’t talk much about him because he’s so private. But today, he’s in the spotlight. Because I’m looking for your advice.

Hubs is amazing, you guys. He is a supportive spouse, a fabulous dad, my best friend. He radiates love for the kids and me. When I was really struggling with depression and anxiety this year, he did everything and anything to help me get better.

And now – well, my day-to-day life seems to be so good. And I want Hubs to have that, too.

But instead, every day he goes to work so he can support our family. And me? Many days, I sit by the pool, tanning myself and watching the girls play while I chat with my friends.

That doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Now, of course, I work two or three days a week. And the other days that I am a SAHM, it’s not all pool parties and fun. I run errands, do the laundry, do the dishes, grocery shop, clean, and do all sorts of not-fun stuff to keep the house running.

And when I’m feeling guilty about the fun the girls and I are having at the pool, I look at it as payback for all the endlessly awful, cold New England days that I am stuck inside, breaking up ridiculous fights while we all go stir crazy and I stare at the clock, willing it to be 5:45 when Hubs gets home.

Yet … I know it sounds so childish … but it just doesn’t seem fair that Hubs has to go to work every day and I don’t.

Maybe if he adored his job like I adored my full-time job years ago, I wouldn’t feel so guilty. I don’t know. But I’m really struggling with this lately. It’s not like I think I should go work full-time so things are “even.” Who would that help?

I feel like the happiness balance is off. I’m enjoying the day-to-day. Hubs isn’t. And it needs to change. So…

Are you in this position, or have you been in the past? How have you handled it?

*****

For the first time, I am linking up with Shell at Things I Can’t Say and her “Pour Your Heart Out” linkup. Since spilling secrets is totally my thing, I can’t believe I never thought to link up with her before now!  🙂

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10 Replies to “A New Kind of Mom Guilt: Do You Ever Feel this Way?”

  1. I understand your guilt, however, what’s your other option? To sit inside and feel guilty? Continue to bask in the sunshine. A nice glowing tan on you and your children is a good thing. Enjoy! Plus, think of it this way, how many sleepless nights did you have when your kids were little while your hubs slept through it all?…or maybe he didn’t sleep through anything and was an active participant in pacing the floors with crying newborns and sick barfing children, in which case, maybe you should feel a little guilty. But still sit in the sun while you’re feeling guilty!

  2. I am there right now. My husband works so hard. I have a part time job teaching that is out for the summer. I feel shame too– I get to hang out with friends and goof off in my casual clothes while he’s working and fretting and holding it all together. We have a lot in common….my spouse was great when I needed help for depression and in all other ways. And it’s the worst when I spend money….like when I bought some clothes for Blog Her 12 (I will look for you there!!!). He works hard and I spend the money. Doesn’t seem fair. Great post.

  3. It’s awfully sweet of you to empathize with your husband. That in itself, is awesome and I hope he knows that you know how hard he works. I don’t know how to tell you not to feel guilty, but maybe ease some of it by making sure that the time that he is home, that he’s totally loving it. Be it fabulous home cooked meals, foot massages or just letting him hang out doing nothing in front of the TV. Maybe you guys can plan fun weekends together?

  4. I was absolutely there until very recently – I was loving day to day life while he went to a job that he positively detested. I felt guilty every day, especially in the mornings when I saw the anguish in his face as he had to go out the door when the baby was reaching for him. But he often told me that the only thing that made it worth it for him was to know that the kids and I were enjoying it. He was doing it for the family, so I could stay home with the kids, and if the family wasn’t better off (happy, that is – all of us) then it made it even harder on him because he felt tlike he was doing something he hated for no good reason.

    (Un)fortunately he got laid off a week and a half ago. We’re all loving him being home all day, but of course now we have different problems. :/

  5. Though I work from home as well, my schedule can be more flexible(some days anyway) and I can get in time with the kids at the pool or park or beach or somewhere else fun. And Hubs can’t. But then I remind myself that he wouldn’t want to switch places with me. For the fun times, sure, but not the day-to-day dealings!

  6. I teach several college-level dance classes a week , so maybe I’m not a true SAHM. I, too am grateful, for my Hubs, whose job on paper is way less fun than mine. He, too, makes the majority of what we have possible. (But we don’t have a pool!). I know he works his ass off, but with two children aged 2 and 3 I feel like I work all the time. I work at work and I work at home. Even when I’m at the park village-parenting with my mompals, it is work! Frankly, I think when your kids are of a certain age, it is easier to be at work. Way easier.

    I definitely found this post refreshing – not the usual grousing about the hubs. But I feel like I work really hard too, both at home and at work. Because my hubs works hard outside, as resentful as I may get, home does have to be a place for him to chill, while for me it’s anything but. Bitchy as it may sound, I can’t feel that guilty or that sorry for the hubs.

  7. OMG, you are my TWIN! I quit work about 3 years ago. I have felt guilty ever since. I HATED my job. My anxiety was going strong when I was working. Now that I’m not working (I am consulting, but on MY terms and with much less pressure), I am not nearly as anxious. I am a much happier person. I would rather break up ten fights a day between my kids than go back into the corporate world. BUT, yes, I feel guilty. That is why I don’t say boo when hubs wants to play golf on the weekends. A lot of my friends think I’m a saint for “letting” him play for so many hours on the weekend when I’m stuck home with the kids AGAIN. But the way I see it, he brings in the money. I am home. I can do what I want when I want (within reason) during the day. I am not dealing with the pressure of supporting my family. So, yeah, I “let” him play golf. And I do it relatively willingly. That’s how I keep my guilt at bay.

    One more point, I think our marriage is much better with me home. I am a generally happier person, so we argue less often. When I was working, I was always in a bad mood. So, for us, this arrangement promotes a more peaceful home. If mama aint happy, aint nobody happy!

    Sorry for the really long reply. Clearly I have a few thoughts on the subject.

  8. One question to see if we can put things into total perspective…when the kids get sick or wake up in the middle of the night, who takes care of them, you or your husband? When his work day is done and he comes home, who does the dinner and dishes and such? Putting the kids to bed and all? I’m not trying to say husbands don’t do a lot, or doesn’t help out at home too, but sometimes we work a different schedule than they do. It’s still work but just on a different schedule. So yeah, maybe we get a break in the middle of the day to sit at the pool or watch an episode on TV, but we are usually the ones who work overtime at 3 AM with a kid who is crying or throwing up. And we work in the evenings with the kids or doing things for the kids. So no, I don’t usually feel guilty when I take a break at home in the middle of the day. Also, I worked most of my life in a “real” job anyway…and believe me…I had way more free time when I worked than I do now as a SAHM.

  9. HELL NO. I’m always the one to get up early w/ the kids (2YO is up by 5:30 daily, some days much earlier). Husband gets to sleep an extra 2 hrs. He gets to work out or play Frisbee every day while I can barely get a run in and can’t go to yoga unless I hire a sitter. I’m trying to freelance, work at my son’s cooperative preschool, and spend 15 hrs/day on my own with a toddler and preschooler in an 87-degree apartment. My husband? He finds his coffee already made every morning (see above, “I get up 2 hrs before him). Gets to shower and dress alone. Gets to listen to NPR during his commute. Works out with his friend, goes to lunch with a friend, and/or plays Frisbee almost every day. Works at an intellectually stimulating job which, at any point, he can stop to pee or have a snack or talk a walk to clear his head. Comes home to find dinner made and the kids finally settled down and ready for bed. He reads them a book or two, lets me do the rest of bedtime, and then watches TV the rest of the night. Me? Putting the food away, cleaning the kitchen, catching up on emails, doing laundry.

    So I do not feel a SHRED of guilt when I have to hang out at the park with my 2YO or take the 4YO to the pool and stay in the water w/ him the whole time. It’s not a vacation. It’s not downtime. He cannot seem to stand or handle being on his own with them.

    Goodness, I do sound harsh and fed up, don’t I? But to me, his life is seems like a vacation.

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