Solace for a guilty mother

Last  month my daughter fell sick, the very first fever of her life at six months old. Usually, I take an off whenever she is sick and at the time of her vaccinations but this time my department was undergoing an external audit and I was the focal person for the audit therefore taking an off was out of the question. I have always been a very career oriented woman believing that you can manage both house and office if you set your mind to it. However this time I found myself questioning my beliefs and ideas. It is really hard going to office seeing your baby in pain and needing you. My daughter needs only me when she is sick and is inconsolable. I was devastated and had half a mind to quit my job. I posted my feelings on a Facebook support forum:

“Girls! I have a question for all working women. Do you ever feel guilty of working. I have always been a very career oriented woman and have always believed that you can manage both work and children if you set your mind to it. But today I felt questioning my thoughts and my beliefs. My 7 month old daughter had flu (its her very first time AH she hardly ever gets sick) and I had my audit so a chuthi was out of the question as I am the focal person. The audit was for two days starting from yesterday. I even went to office yesterday knowing that my daughter was sick as she is well taken care of at her daadi (although I felt guilty yesterday as well). Today I decided to drop off her at naani as her dada is sick so her taayi and daadi were always busy with him so I was feeling guilty to placing that extra burden on them so at the spur of the moment around 8: 45 (my office starts at 9) I decided to drop her off at her naani. The route is long so I got late and reached office around 45 minutes late. The audit team was already waiting. I work in a government organization and the auditors hardly ever come before 11 so I thought I would be on time but today they cane even before 9! so I missed the preliminary meeting and when I entered the room, everybody was looking at me like I had grown two horns or something . I felt myself totally failing as a mother and as an employee both. My job usually is not that hectic but this situation can come again. What if there is a really important task at office and your baby is sick at home, what do you chose then? How do you guys manage without feeling guilty and a failure at motherhood and job both?

In response to this, I received non judging, morale uplifting comments encouraging me to maintain my resolve in tough situations and not to break down. In this blog post, I would like to share those helpful comments to help mothers like me who both work and have a baby and would like to tell them that do not worry, this too shall pass and whether working or non working, all mothers are amazing and the choices you make, whatever they are, are definitely the best for your children. Also, never pay heed to the world judging your parenting or doubting your love. Appreciation is hard to come by in this world anyway so do whatever you feel is right, at least in that case your heart and mind will be satisfied. Here’s is to the comments. Adios!

Note: The comments have been copy pasted directly without any modifications to preserve the essence of the raw feelings of encouragement:


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    Photo by Juan Galafa

    “One reason why I still can’t think of starting work again… I used to be so career oriented now thought of leaving my daughter behind and doing night shifts in hospital, just thinking about it makes me crazy.. Dear hang in there. Your doing great! You are an amazing mom and a working women.. Your being paranoid.. You were late for a reason.. So relax.”

  • “This confuses me too ! Thats why I have decided not to work. Though i worked for just around 2 yrs before getting married. But if u r managing both well u r an amazing woman.”
  • “Guilt is like an ingrained mom thing. It’s not going to go away but think of it as an investment for your little one. You’re working to help her have a comfortable life. See if you can work out something with your manager about working from home, coming in late on days when your little one is unwell.”
  • “The guilt will stay. It will be more in the days when your baby is sick. Whenever you feel this way just remind yourself that in the longer it will be good for everyone in your family! You, your husband and the kid! She will look upto her mama one day and be proud of her!”
Photo by Sarah Graybeal
  • “I think guilt will come one way or the other. I think the way we have been brought up in a society where women should be super women. If you didn’t work you’d feel guilty for wasting alllllllll those years you spent creating something for you.If you work an occasional late or absenteeism is fine honestly. Mncs care so much about the needs of their employees who are parents. As for extraordinary situations… that’s the catch! If you were a housewife even, you’d lag behind with your home chores and a typical non-understanding husband might criticise you for undone chores.
    Point : there is no win win situation.”
  • “Kids can fall sick at any time, so there’s nothing you can do to control the situation
    But since you’re a working mother, you need to have a backup. Eg: your mom in law can take care of the baby, if not you can look for good baby sitters and whoever is home can keep an eye on the baby sitter. Even if you would have skipped your meeting and stayed with her, there’s nothing you could have done to speed up her recovery. So it’s okay, don’t feel guilty. At times , a crises situation like this will come up and so to deal with it, have a back up plan so that you are stressed out during the situation. like baby sitter can be the backup. The fact that you are working will be very good for her in the long run. You’ll keep her motivated and in the long run this will teach her to be independent also.”
  • “My mom was a working woman as well, so she was always a role model for my sister and I because she would juggle working, driving, and taking care of the house so even when we were younger we were a lot more confident and independent than usual kids. Like some of our friends were glued to their moms 24/7 and needed their mom to do everything for them. So don’t feel guilty, in the long run this will be good for her and you. Because when she grows up, you’ll start getting bored and would want to start working again, because most women post queries like that. So just keep it going as it is, and try to be a little more organized and you’ll do fine.”

    Photo by Paige Marie
  • “I don’t know how it feels honestly I am a newly married and I am a hell as career oriented person but i know I read this research in which a working mother child is more likely to excel and be intelligent than a stay at home mom ( its the research not me ladies just quoting). Because kids learn from what they see . Yes your leaving them but they know you care and love them and your doing it for a brighter future they will actually be proud of you.If you remain guilty you will never be able to focus on both the situation. Remember when our mothers living in joint family system had a hectic life (handi roti bazar or even working mom) and they probably even asked someone to take care of us while they were at it and look at us today I don’t think we feel sad or mad on why our mother left us . So don’t worry feel positive you got till here you can go further inshaAllah take all the help you need without feeling bad.”
  • “Your feeling is totally normal and same happens with most of us working ladies(i guess)… but yes when kids are sick work seems like punishment but thinking of alternates working from home is not possible in all cases i would suggest stay calm..n yes strong support system is very important i m someone who would prefer leaving my kids with grand parents or any orher trust worthy relative rather than trusting any day care…n yes quality time after coming from work is a must:)…. so gal relax continue with your work inshALLAH your kid is gonna be fine”
Photo by London Scout
  • “Don’t feel low hun,its ok when sometimes you just cant be there.ho sakta hai office k elawa koi reason ho jata and you wont still be able to spend time with her..your lil princess will grow up knowing that her mommy loves her more than anything don’t be guilty conscious.”
  • “It’s normal for working moms to feel that way. I was lucky my employers were a bit flexible when I had family emergencies like kid falling sick etc and I could talk day off or leave early etc. It’s understandable to feel guilty but at the end of the day you are trying to build a better future for your children and they ll be proud of you one day.
    We women tend to really be hard on ourselves mostly, so take it easy and don’t try to be a super woman. Sometimes it’s ok if work suffers or you are late for work as family especially children always come first. Set your priorities straight and be proud that you are doing so well.
  • “Last month I had an exhibition at Expo and my 5 months old daughter had severe chest congestion just before a day of exhibition and i was feeling so bad as i was not able to take care of her myself (although her dadi and phuppo took really good care of her) but after exhibition my mother in law told me that she was most of the time sleeping as she was so down plus the effect of antibiotics as well so i somehow thought its all Allah’s wish and we never know what’s good for us.. I am ready to face such problems in future as well but as i have my own business so its different as compared to an employed person because i can take a break anytime I want
    People sometimes say to me that stop working its not ur need and take care of ur daughter but i feel that i am more active and responsible as a working woman as i saw my mother like this as well. Housewives do their work whenever they want but we set times for everything and are punctual so we are more active.. Just my thoughts and i dont have any intentions to say that housewives are lazy.”
Photo by Jon Ottoson


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