A Mother’s Guilt

As we grow up we are told we can do whatever we want and be whoever we want to be. We identify with the nuclear idea of getting married, having a family and providing for this family by working.  If it’s what we choose, we go to university, start a degree and follow on to having a career. I remember when I was 17, just finished school and my Aunty and mum sat me down asking me what I wanted to do. Get married? Stay at home mum? Career mum? Just a career? Oh my god I wanted to just go clubbing. Stupid questions I thought these were. Until now. I’m 33 and mum of Lily aged 1. I did go to university and I did a social work degree and now I’m a drug and alcohol clinician. 

I never really thought about what I would do after children because it wasn’t on the radar. I was just going to do this job forever. But when I got pregnant I started thinking about what to do.

Now I chose to return to work 4 days a week when Lily was 6 months old and she was put in daycare 3 days a week. We have a mortgage to pay and 2 new car loans to pay off. We needed the money.

I felt no guilt at all. She loved it. Never cried when I dropped her off. I was really excited to get back in to the adult world.

8months on and I’ve been offered a full time role in a city which is 100km away – about 1hr 15mins travel each way. I’ll have to put lily in daycare an extra day (4 days a week) and I’ll have 1 less day with her a week. I also have the option of staying near work when my husband is home to watch lily.

I now have mother guilt. This position is amazing for my career but terrible for my responsibility as a mother. It will help Lily in the future but impact on her now. I think about how much I’m going to miss her if I stay there the night. I have chosen to take on the new position however I do it with the thought of it improving our life in the future so now Lily can do whatever she wants and be whoever she wants to be.

I’ve now realised… having children passes on your freedom to do whatever you want, and be whoever you want… to them. 

Zoe is a 33 year old first time mother, with a Bachelor in Social work, who in her pre-baby life baked nearly every day, kept up a facebook food blog, worked full time and lived in a clean house. She has spent the last several years happily settled in a small town in rural Australia (moving from city of Melbourne) where she met her husband Ben and works as a drug and alcohol clinician. She always wanted to be a mum and adores it, but in the midst of that mothering bliss, being a mum has unearthed a range of emotions including guilt and self-doubt. Being a working mum, her current and future goals include getting a leg wax (way overdue), making sure Lily’s daycare Christmas outfit fits, and bringing Lily up not to become a stripper, a drug dealer or both.

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