Do You Ever Feel like Your Job Is Consuming Your Life?

Updated on August 08, 2011
M.. asks from Anchorage, AK
9 answers

Hi moms, my job is very stressful. I work full time (sometimes more), and last week I cut back to only 3 days a week to spend more time with my 3 year old daughter. I now work Mon, Wed, Friday. I could not have picked a worse time because we are so swamped at work. Now when I am there, I have to try to do double the work (becase I won't be there the next day). It horrible! On top of that, I feel horribly gulity for cutting my hours back because I know it is making life harder on my co-workers. I have always felt a very strong sense of loyalty to my job (I've been there 10 years) and my boss has done a lot for me. As much as I love to spend the day at home with my beautiful daughter, I feel like I should be at work. Has anyone else ever felt this way? How do I disengage from work and let go? I try to remind myself "it's just a job", but I can't get that through my head. I constantly feel conflicted between home and work. When I am at work, I feel like I should be home with my child. But when I'm home, I feel guilty that I should be at work. I guess I am just looking for some support and hopefully someone else has felt this way and I'm not crazy.
Oh, and I agreed to start doing work from home on Tuesday & Thursday. Why can't I just let go of work and enjoy my days at home? Please tell me that someone else has felt this way too! I think there is something wrong with me LOL.

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Thank you all so much for making me feel better! You mom's are awesome!

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answers from Dayton on

Hi, I know how you feel because I've been there. When I felt conflicted it was because I hadn't made my choice yet, what was most important in my life. Having been a professional career woman for 14 years before having a baby, the only thing I ever used to define me was my job. But once I choose "being a good mom" as the most important thing in my life and using that to define me, it was much easier letting go of the job and focusing on accomplishing that. Looking back, being a mom is by far THE most important job you will ever have! A friend once said that on people's death beds, no one has ever said, "Boy, I wish I had spent more time at work." That kind of hit home for me. I don't want to live with the regret that "Boy, wish I had spent more time with my family."

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answers from Kansas City on

I agree. I started my in-home daycare so that I can be with my own children and now my grandchild. And yet because of the daycare my family has never had any privacy in the last 25 years. I have to open the door day and night and everyday of the year except for 2 days out of the whole calendar year. People always say that I should stop being open 24/7. But if I stopped doing nights and weekends I'd have to increase my rates, which would hurt the daycare families, and take 3 times the # of children that I do now in order to clear what I need to make ends meet. That would be bad for the kids and my family.

It's a fine line to walk. I have to consider my family at all times. And yet, the daycare comes first in every purchase or every repair or change of any sort we make in the house. My kids have shared me and all of our personal possessions are used by others and sometimes broken or stolen by others.

In one way or the other I think most people are pulled by the same competing interests.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think most working moms feel torn in someway. I think that is completely normal. It's normal for all moms to feel torn! Am I doing this right, will I regret know the drill. We all think these things!! With that said...Think about it this way. When you are old and sitting in a rocker...what would you regret more...not spending enough time with your child, or not spending enough time at your job? I have met SO many people who regret not having enough time with their children, but I have not met a single person who regretted not working more hours. Is it possible, that you are finding too much of your identity in this job? Do you feel like you will be loosing part of yourself, if you stop working so much? When I lost my job I felt like I lost part of my purpose. I realized how unhealthy that is. I wasn't curing cancer, I wasn't helping the world in any significant way. It was truly just a job. An income. Work. I was replaceable. My identity should be WHO I am, not what job I have. That helped me let go. Your job as a mother holds so much more purpose, then extra hours at work. Your work will eventually end. The duties and tasks will some day be gone. You are a mother forever. That never ends. The purpose never ends. What you do at home will effect your child's life always. What you do at work, effects what your doing in that moment. As far as your co-workers, you are not responsible for them. I totally understand feeling badly about putting more on their plates. (been there!) However, you are the priority here...not them. They have to figure this out.

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answers from Seattle on


Work M-W, or W-F.

Every other day you don't get to actually TRANSITION, you can't save work for tomorrow (because you won't be there), and your coworkers can't "catch you in the morning" 3 days a week (instead of 1 day a week). Plus, on the days you're home, because you don't have the transition time, you're just gearing up to work the next day. You don't have time to get your head in the game, or out of the game.

Every other day schedules are just as HARD as it comes. When people split a job, that's why they work days in a row, as well... and it's why montessori preschools (and a few other childhood edu mods) insist on 2 or 3 days in a row.

When I'm in school, it's actually EASIER to take 2 classes (1 M&W, and 1 Tu&Th) than it is to just take 1 class. It's the fluidity of the schedule in knowing that for days 1-4 my schedule is the same.


Work M-Th or Tu-Fri (depending on the busiest day at work) and take 3 day weekends. This is one of those "great" things to spin to your boss (since we're slammed right now, blah blah blah), but INSIST that it's either Monday or Friday that you have off... or you may as well work 5 days a week. A day off in the middle of the week and you'll just end up stressing the same way you are now).

I LOVED this schedule when I had it so much it's how I arrange my life, currently. Friday is "Mommy & Kiddo Day". Just US. Something to reeeeeally look forward to. To bank on.

Point being; I don't think there's anything wrong with you. On PAPER M/W/Fri sounds great because you're there for the beginning and end of the week, and have a day in the middle to "stay abreast" of what's going on. And you're with you kid throughout the week off and onYou've just found out why "off and on" -for most people- that only looks good on paper, and the reality is stressful and awful.

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answers from Toledo on

There is nothing wrong with you. You enjoy working, and so do I. :) You don't even have to have the attitude of "it's just a job". You are, and should be, proud of the paid work you are doing.

But I hope they are paying you for your time (full time practically). Otherwise, you may as well go back to M-F, which would probably reduce your stress back to your original level. You can't keep on doing what you're doing. I was in your place once. I went from being an A+ worker and B+ mom to being an A+ mom and B+ worker. And when that got too hard (went from 2 to 4 kids), I went to what I am now, a stay at home mom most of the time; I do a small amount of paid work but that's it. Since I chose to have all these kids, I also was making the choice to reduce my paid work, since I can't do it all on the A+ level.

Who takes care of your daughter while you work? I had a great daycare and did not have that guilt because my girls loved it there and learned so much. When I got to four kids, getting everyone ready for the day and doctor's appointments are just too much to do the full time M-F thing for me. So it's up to you! You have valid feelings, and the decision you make will be OK. Good luck!

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answers from Cleveland on

When I had my first child, I continued to work fulltime for a few months. The first time he fell and got really hurt, he went to my mother in law for comfort because she was the one that watched him while we worked. That is when I decided that I should be that person and looked for a new job. I was able to continue in my career just with another company that allowed 3 day work weeks. At first it was a very tough adjustment. As you said I felt guilty when I was home and guilty when I was at work. It has been 4 years now and it is great. I feel like I get to be mom, go to the park and enjoy some daylight hours for part of the week and the other part of the week I get to be around grownups and not have to be responsible for anyone else. I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old.

I have been able to try different 3 day work week combinations and have discovered that MWF was my least effective schedule. I could not get anything accomplished. I would start something on Monday, of course something else would come up on Wednesday and then by Friday, I forgot where I was so I basically would have to start over. Three days in a row worked the best for me for productivity. I currently work MTW, but loss out on a lot of Mondays because of Holidays which really hurts the paycheck when it is only for 3 days anyway. I am switching to TWTh in September when preschool and kindergarten start. It sounds like it should be great. Who wouldn't want every Monday and Friday off.

As time has went on, I have come to love my days off of work and my days at work. Like I said, I get to still feel like a professional woman a few days a week, but don't miss out on the daily stuff with the kids. In addition, it is great using the days off during the week to get chores done and then the weekend can be all fun with the whole family. Last Thursday we went to a waterpark and hardly anyone was there which is another added bonus.

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answers from New York on

I am right there with you mama! I work full time from home...blessing and a curse! I find myself logged in at night after the kiddos are sleeping trying to catch up on everything I couldn't finish. Last night, the baby woke up at 1, I got her to go back to sleep by 2:15, I was up till close to 4:00 worrying about all the things I had outstanding at work. NOT FUN!

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answers from Lafayette on

I agree -- I've worked full time, part time, and with my own at-home business, and I'm always torn between work & my family. I think it's just how God designed up. Women have a natural inclination to be with our family. Sounds like you really want to do a good job at work, too. If you can be flexible, talk to your boss & see how it's working out for him/her. It seems like you trust your boss -- see what his/her opinion is on how things are going & share what you struggle with. Maybe the two of you can come up with a schedule that works for both your home & work? If your boss isn't someone that you can trust to look out for you, then work this out with your husband. Or if you aren't married, really think about what you want & figure out an alternative schedule that'll work for your kids. It sounds like you have some options, so just really concentrate on what you WANT and then make that work. It IS hard, but it's worth it. Good luck!

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answers from Cleveland on

I think Riley is offering a great suggestion. I've also worked either MTW or TWTh, which tended to be the busiest where I was at, and that has gone very well.

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