Feeling Guilty for Giving up My Career.

Updated on May 13, 2010
T.R. asks from Forest Hills, NY
25 answers

For years I had "working mother's" guilt. Now, I'm finally able to stay home, and I have "walking away from my career" guilt. Has anyone else ever experienced this? I had a high profile career in the entertainment news business and a very nice salary. After I left in January, my company actually tried to get me to come back with a promotion, even higher salary, and some flexibility with my schedule. I said no, but I'm having some sort of weird guilt and I don't know why. Yes, we could have used the money. No, we're not rich, but we're doing okay and can survive (paycheck to paycheck) without the 2nd income. Why do I feel so guilty for walking away from my career...for now? I know my children need me. With both of us working long hours, our lives were hectic most of the time, even though I was fortunate to have family child care. Now, things at home are great. Summer's almost here. AND I FEEL GUILTY!? Ugh.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.D.

answers from Albany on

T.,

I felt the same way when I first became a SAHM. I think it had to do with missing the income and financially contributing to the family. I kept trying to find a business to do from home to no avail but became very blessed when I was introduced to Arbonne. It is so wonderful feeling like I am contributing again and everything is going so well, my husband keeps talking about when he can retire! LOL

Best of luck to you,
L.

http://APerfectMoment.MyArbonne.com

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.W.

answers from New York on

YOU are AWESOME for what you are doing!!!! I totally commend you!!! There is NO better or rewarding career than being a wife and mother!!!

Just think of it this way: when you die, is anyone going to care that you were a successful career woman? NO! They are going to care that you gave your life for someone else's life, each and everyday!! :)

Children desperately NEED their mothers in the home, especially with all the problems there are in the world. You are doing them such a great service and giving them such great love that they would not otherwise have if you were not there.

My mother raised 8 children and even when we were all in school she stayed home and did projects, hobbies, community and church service. When my littlest brother left home for college last year, he thanked my mom for ALWAYS being there for him...he knew wherever he was, he could always count on her to be there. What a great gift!!!

I also stay home with my 5, almost 6 children. It is soooo hard sometimes....but geesh, so is any job! Whenever I take them to the pediatrician I'm surprised at what all the nurses, doctors/practioners say....the first time I went to the office they said: "You can totally tell that mom stays home with them"...and I was shocked! I asked how they knew that?? They said, "your kids are so well-adjusted and confident, completely comfortable with themselves, able to communicate well with adults, and behave well." I was really surprised! And, through the years of going to this office they continue to say the same thing..."MOM AT HOME IS THE BEST REMEDY FOR ANY CHILD'S HEALTH AND WELL-BEING"

Don't feel guilty and don't let anyone make you feel guilty! You are GREAT at what you do!...ENJOY it, because it goes soooo fast!!!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.D.

answers from New York on

A letter to Dr. Laura Schlessinger from one of her listeners who made the decision to stay home with her kids:

"I listen to you and often feel frustrated when you tell moms to stay home and raise their children instead of paying someone else to raise them in day care. You can tell by all their excuses money is more important. I was a stay at home mom and I will never regret it. I am so happy I was able to do it. Yes, we had a small house, used cars but we had happy sons that felt very loved. We could not always afford expensive vacations but we did buy a tent trailer and went camping a lot. We rode bikes together, had friends over for barbeques. I loved cooking breakfast for them in the morning before school and having warm cookies for them and their friends after school. Our house was the one on the block where all the kids hung out. I was able to go on field trips with their classes and help out in the classroom. When my oldest son was in the 6th grade the teacher asked the kids, "If you could change one thing about your parents, what would it be?" One boy jumped up, pointed to my son and said, "I want his mom." My biggest reward is 2 well adjusted grown sons-32 and 28 years old who always talk and laugh when they remember their younger days and always say...we had the best childhoods. My sons are very loving and caring. I have been diagnosed with MS and my sons are caring and concerned and will always be in my corner. There is no love like the love a mother has for her children. Keep giving the good advice.

D."

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.S.

answers from New York on

Is it guilt? I read your bio and you list, "hoping I'm not making any big mistakes along the way" as a fear.

Could you be afraid that you are making a mistake? Would it help to know that we all feel that way when we make big decisions--meanwhile you sound like someone who really appreciates life and the good things you have...

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.C.

answers from New York on

I was forced to give up my high paying career of 15 years where I was still moving up the 'ladder' with many awards and I just I loved it, when my 10 month old was diagnosed with insulin depenedent type 1 diabetes. She needed and now at 5 still needs around the clock care. But you know what, at first I felt lost without my career. Thank God I could afford to retire early becuase I don't think I could have ever entrusted her care to anyone else - I needed to be with my baby who needed and still needs up to 15 blood sugar tests a day and 6 injections of insulin a day - but now I see how truly blessed I was that I was able to afford to stay home with her. She is very healthy and doing great but the beautiful moments I would have missed had I kept that 9 hour a day job - just nothing like it - seeing her first steps, etc. No one can put a price tag on the bond that my daughter and I have formed. You did the RIGHT thing. Just the other day I let her play 'hookie' from preschool on a beautiful day and took her to a beautiful historic town with some rides where she fed the ducks, had icecream, I bought her a small toy, etc - just a magical day. Something I could never do if I were still working. Since you can afford it, do it. When the younger one is in school you can always do something part time which is what I plan to do but those early years are just so important to have mommy there - I never realized what I would have been missing had I not been forced to leave my job. We should consider ourselves blessed that we can do it. I really feel for other mothers who must work. Enjoy staying home and being with your children! It is the most important and rewarding job we will ever do!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.R.

answers from Syracuse on

Stop feeling guilty! The only right way to parent is the way that makes you feel the best! There is no better way, stay at home moms are no better than working mothers...we are all the same, moms who want what is "best" for their children...we are all mothers. If you love working, then work! If you want to be at home, then stay home...if you like both, well do both...work part time or from home...the best thing you can do for your children is be a strong role model. You can't live your life for anyone else but yourself...after all it's your life, you're children will grow up and have their own lives and although you will always be connected you have to have your own sense of self....being a mother doesn't mean giving up everything! Yes, we gladly go without things that if we had no children we would find important but how can you be an effective wife/mother if you aren't happy? It would be a lie...and do you want to live a lie or teach your children to settle for less than they want? There is no right answer, no perfect solution, the balance must come from you....I am a stay at home mommy...I have 5 boys, 8,7,6,4, and 20 months...I also sell candles, volunteer(because I enjoy it), scrapbook and watch t.v. without guilt at night...this is my perfect life...I doubt it would sound that wonderful to anyone else out there and I really don't care....I love and care for my family all day and I take care of myself when they are in bed...and those dishes/laundry/projects...that I didn't get done can wait til tomorrow....I got off on a tanget...sorry...you may want to read the book Perfect Madness by Judith Warner...it's not a self help book or a book of answers, it's simply a you're not alone in motherhood in this age of Anxiety(as she puts it)....best of luck! and please don't feel guilty...you're doing the best you can and that truly is enough!
C.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.R.

answers from Rochester on

Can we have it all? A healthy happy family and a thriving career- I don't think so, and as women it sucks to have to loose career (and lets be honest, loose the respect that goes with it) when you decide to be a full time mother. I never understood how hard it was until I was in the position too. Just know this, no matter how important you are/were to your company/job- it will go on without you just fine---can your kids say the same thing.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.C.

answers from New York on

I became a stay at home mom too after my baby was born (she's now 10 months). My career was going ok, I miss the paychecks and sometimes feel bad like I'm just "wasting" all my work experience and MBA, and wonder how challenging it will be to re-enter the work force several years down the road.

It's really tough for women because we have to make these choices. My friends who work feel bad because they're not around for their kids as much as they'd like in these formative years, and I feel bad for not working on my career. I guess a middle ground would be working from home or having your own business. That must be why so many moms try to start their own businesses. I actually have a couple of ideas that I'm kicking around.

I channel some of the focus and attention that I previously devoted to my job to saving the family money making sure we get the best deals on stuff, making my baby's food, doing lots of research on how best to raise her, and getting out and meeting other moms. Let me know if you want to discuss more.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.P.

answers from New York on

When I was on maternity leave, I assured my boss that I would come back full time, for I have always been career minded. However, when I had to come back, I realized that I couldn't come back full-time. I surprised the heck out of myself! I now work part-time, 5 days a week, from 6-11am, and barely miss a beat with my little girl. I used to manage many jobs at work, and now I manage the most important job imaginable. Being a mother is a full-time job with many benefits. Don't think that you've abandoned your career, just think that your switched your careers with many more rewards than you've ever imagined.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.S.

answers from Buffalo on

Hi T.,

Yes your feelings are normal. I quit a lucrative writing-editing job in the corporate world to do free lance writing at home. When that writing dried up, I felt the pressure to go back into the corporate world.

Now I have a home based business where I can work around my family's activities. Check out www.ReachingGoals.org or www.LiveTotalWellness.com/L.

I wish you well

L.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.S.

answers from New York on

I can totally relate to what you are going through. I had a job that I absolutely loved, and never dreamed that I would be a stay at home. When my daughter was 4 months old, I went back to work. I worked for almost a year, and even changed jobs to one that was more local, with less hours. For that year I struggled with the decision of working, or staying home. I finally decided to stay home. It was the best decision I have ever made. Yes, there are days that I wonder what it would be like to continue working. But, my family really is so happy with me home. As for me, I get to see her grow and develop every day. These are days that I will never get back. Sure, there are days when it can be very frustrating. You are in a world that is totally foreign. It does take some getting used to. In the beginning it was very hard. Now, I am loving it. Especially with the summer coming.

Work will always be there. You can always go back, if and when you are ready. The time that you get to spend with your child when they are young is priceless.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.H.

answers from Richmond on

Hi T.,

Your message struck a chord with me, as I gave up working (also in the entertainment industry) when my son was born three years ago. The hardest thing for me was feeling that I had somehow given up on myself, not just my career. I felt like now that I'm someone's mom, I'm no longer myself anymore, and the things that were important to me (my writing, my work) just dropped off the radar completely.

It was a totally pragmatic decision for us in many ways - my husband is a physician, so we get by just fine on his salary alone. We knew we wanted one of us to stay home for the first few years rather than use day care, and it made sense that it be me, since he earns more. But it also felt like some sort of anti-feminist return to the Donna Reed 1950s, as I'm now a stay-at-home mom who does most of the cooking and cleaning.

One thing my husband and I talk about frequently that helps me feel not-so-horrible is how this is just a phase in our lives, and when this phase is over, we'll enter a new phase - one in which my work comes back into importance and the kids (we're thinking about having a second child - just as my son is getting ready to start nursery school - are we nuts?!) are a little more independent - in school, in activities of their own, etc.

I also am very lucky in that my husband and I work hard to make sure I get some "me" time every week. I would recommend, if you can make it work, giving yourself one activity that lets you focus on yourself, at least for a little while. I don't mean just straight "pampering", like a manicure or something (although that's nice, too), but rather a somewhat creative or work-related pursuit that exercises that part of your brain that is not dedicated to diapers, healthy snacks and playdates. (I take fiddle lessons, which has NOTHING to do with my work, but it's somethign I've always wanted to do and I can practice as much or as little as I have time for.)

Taking care of your family is a full-time job, but it often feels like thankless work, so sometimes you have to thank yourself. I think you said it best yourself in your original question when you said you felt guilty for walking away from your career "for now." Remember that this IS just for now - if your work is important to you, you WILL get back to it, and perhaps you'll even appreciate it more.

I hope this helps, and I hope you're able to take it easy on yourself.

Take care,
C.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.S.

answers from San Diego on

I have a 7 week old baby and for her, I went from a full-time position to a work-at-home part-time status. And guess what? I still feel a little guilty because I felt that I was just starting to be on the rise and now I'm going to kind of disappear. But you know, I really want to be there for my child and future children that I'll have.

Count your blessings and what you feel you can be grateful for. Nothing is ever perfect but there is often so much to be happy about!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.D.

answers from New York on

Hi T.,

Wow, they're offering all that? They valued you big time, and you're letting them down...GUILT!
Your boys can't negotiate to keep you home, but trust me, they need you more. If you stay home their lives will indeed be rich, because they have you. And they'll value those memories for a lifetime. I'm sure your employer will take you back in a heartbeat when you are ready. You will NEVER get this time back with your beautiful boys.
The guilt will pass, and when it does, you will be thankful for the decision you've made. It's the right one... for now.
T.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.P.

answers from Albany on

I haven't read the responses, so this may be redundant. I have experienced the same thing. For many years -- with out children, all I focused on was my career. It's really hard to change the way we think when we work in a competitive atmosphere. Who's getting ahead, who's jockying for position. Work was our focus. It just takes time to "get over it". It's a priority shift - you'll see. Being home is the best job in the world. Not to say there aren't some rough days. But life is good. Congratulations on your new job!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.T.

answers from New York on

Ahhh yesss.....I know that guilt well. You are feeling guilt because a part of you wants to go back. It wasn't a problem until they called you. Now you know for sure that you were good at what you did, it was proven when they offered you your job back with incentives. There is no better form of flattery than that. So of course, now you are wondering if the choice you made was the right one. Seeing as you are in the drivers seat, perhaps you may want to test this out as you have nothing to lose yet much to gain.....since your job has actually contacted you and offered you your job back, why don't you think about what your perfect job would be,write your own ticket in other words..... working 8 to 3 daily ....working 2 days in the office and 3 from home.....whatever would work around your children.....and ask for it. Even if the money becomes less, if you are working from home and both you and your kids benefit, who cares. If they say ok you've got it made, if they say no, you're not in any lesser position than you are now. You will be at peace and the guilt will be gone. I wish I was as lucky as you, where my company, which dismissed me after 17 1/2 years, would come calling for me. You have a wonderful opportunity, think about it and see if it may be something you truly want and if it's something that works for you and your family. You could very well have the best of both worlds. Good Luck to you!!!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.B.

answers from New York on

Thanks for this topic. I paid my own way through college, since, "women don't need to go to college" were my father's famous words. It was ingrained in me that I'd climb my way up by pushing papers for someone else. I graduated with High Honors, a 3.6 GPA, and some scholarships at the age of 30. I worked part-time through college helping Single-Parents get a college education while knowing their children were safe and the childcare was paid for. My older sister has always been employed and raised 3 wonderful, bright, creative, and well-adjusted girls/women with excellent goals. I had no intention of ever staying home. Because I ended up on bed rest and we moved during my pregnancy after graduating, I lost my lucrative County Job. I went on job interviews after my son turned 5 months old, people who continued to be in the work-force had no use for someone who was a SAHM. My expensive college education was a complete waste according to potential supervisors.
Okay, 3 years ago I decided to become a Real Estate Agent so that I can work from home, make my own hours, and still make a little money assisting people in buying/selling their homes. Its an extremely competitive line of work. Most days I wonder if I'm spending more time in business affairs then in my children's affairs. Yes, I know I should write a schedule and stick with it, however, that is impossible in this business....when a client asks me to jump, I say 'how high'? My perfectionism requires that I provide excellent customer service, and hopefully in the long run gain referals, since I'm not paid a salary.
So I've been home for 6 years now. I love my kids and spending time with them. I love being able to watch them grow, and reap the rewards of all the kisses, hugs, and "I love yous." I'll be Treasurer of the PTO next year at my son's school. I struggle constantly with balance. I do not want my children to have to pay for their own college. In a way, they are paying for mine now.
I want to thank the mom who wrote about whatever makes us happy will be what our children see. In a way, I can not wait for my children to be at school from 8-3pm so that I can pursue my career more thoroughly. Its not that I want them to grow up too fast, I just want to stop feeling guilty for being on the phone or computer while their home. =<
If I had the opportunity to work a flexible, part-time job at a company who loves you like your old employer does, I'd grab it in a heart-beat. But that's just me....

1 mom found this helpful

S.B.

answers from New York on

T., I wish that I could stay at home with my 4 year old. It is amazing that you are able to afford to do that in these modern times. You may just miss the rush of the deadlines and feeling in control of others. Kids don't often give you that feeling. However, the trade off is enormous! You have children who will be well adjusted and future leaders.

Perhaps.... though.... you would be interested in working from home in another field? I am a full time teacher and a part time business owner, and I am looking to switch these positions around. If you are interested in learning how you can do it all, work at home and be the SAHM, then look at my website www.1525.agingmyway.com My contact information is on the website.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.V.

answers from Syracuse on

T.,

I feel for you! I think I'd struggle with the exact same thing. You're doing what you think is right and yet it still seems like something is wrong.

A few things come to mind when I read your post. Maybe you simply really liked your job and are feeling uneasy because you're letting a part of yourself down by leaving. No one likes to talk about it, but it is sometimes a sacrifice to stay home - not just of money or material things, but a sacrifice of developing a side of yourself that has nothing to do with being a parent. Though we're taught that staying home with the kids is the more noble thing to do, I don't know of many women who could quit jobs/careers they really loved and never look back, even if they thought it was the right thing to do.

Or maybe it isn't that - maybe someone (you? spouse? family? boss?) gave you the impression that you SHOULD be working and now you're feeling guilty for staying home, even though in your heart that's exactly what you want to be doing.

Just a couple of thoughts... either way, I hope you can be gentle with yourself and trust that if this guilt is a signal of something deeper, you'll figure it out. But maybe it'll always be there, a little. Aren't women/mothers wired to feel guilty, no matter what? lol

Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.D.

answers from New York on

Hi T., after reading the responses you have gotten so far, I thought I would play a little devil's advocate here, seems like everyone is trying to support you in your decision to stay home. At least there was one response who actually encouraged you to ask for a compromise from your job, going back on your terms if possible. To me that would be ideal. However, Every family is different and you have the freedom to make whatever decision is best for you and your family despite what society and your family friends expect of you. Could you be feeling guilty because you are giving in to outside pressures that say you have to stay home to be a good mother, when what you really want is to go back to work? If this is the case, there's nothing wrong with listening to your instinct and going after your dreams and happiness. I would rather keep my career if it meant showing my children what a happy and fulfilled person I could be for them rather than staying home if that made me resentful, gulty, and depressed. I mean be honest, do children who have daycare or nursery school or caregivers from the age of two love their parents any less? The person who said the son told his mother thanks for always being there for me, there is another side to that coin. A mother who loves her career and is still there for her chhildren teaches them valuable life lessons as well. If the thing that makes you feel guilty about not working is mainly the money, I say dont do it just for the money. Kids need love and care not money. Dont loook around and think about what other people have or what you could have had with that money. Just feel grateful that you have what you need and that the kids have their mother. But if it's what you need to feel like a whole person, for your own peace of mind, finding a balance between career and family is your choice and I wouldn't judge or blame you for it, If you do it right neither will your family. It's career moms who neglect their families for their jobs sake that I think is a problem.. But I truly believe that it IS possible to strike a balance and do it right. Good luck to you whatever you decide.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.C.

answers from New York on

Perhaps you are feeling guilty because your family is now living from pay check to pay check or you left a company who needs you...or perhaps you simply loved the job and miss it. Change is hard to get used to. Stop being hard on yourself, you can always go back to work but your children only grow up once and you shouldn't miss any more of that if you don't have to....Motherhood and being home for your children is a very important job with much to love and enjoy about it. Focus on how great things are going in your family and before you know it, you will adjust and it will be hard to think that you have ever worked out side the home.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.L.

answers from New York on

We women can't win for lossing sometimes, lol. We feel guilt when we have a job, we feel guilty when we don't have one.

Your company will find some one to take your place, they may even do as good a job;) No one can take your place in your children's lives. They'll thank you in so many ways, enjoy and good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.K.

answers from New York on

Well in My faith we believe its in the best intrest of the child to Stay at home with them for the first 5 years,

Here are some quotes, that might help you feel better about your decision,

I really believe you have made the right choice for your family, you will have plenty of time and opportunity for a career, but when it comes to parenting your time is limited

Each child deserves that time and energy devoted to them.

Good luck

M

http://usbahai.org/bahai-children

The education and training of children is among the most meritorious acts of humankind..."

The mother is the first teacher of the child. For children, at the beginning of life, are fresh and tender as a young twig, and can be trained in any fashion you desire. If you rear the child to be straight, he will grow straight, in perfect symmetry. It is clear that the mother is the first teacher and that it is she who establisheth the character and conduct of the child.

Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the education of children is of the first importance. Let them put forth every effort in this regard, for when the bough is green and tender it will grow in whatever way ye train it. Therefore is it incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even as a gardener tendeth his young plants.

That the first teacher of the child is the mother should not be startling, for the primary orientation of the infant is to its mother. This provision of nature in no way minimizes the role of the father in the Bahá'í family. Again, equality of status does not mean identity of function.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

I felt the same way... I called it my mid- life crisis. I always wanted to be a Stay At Home Mom but working was part of my identity.

After about 9 months I started working from home. It gave me a connection to the adult world but I could set my own hours and work at my own pace. I've worked about 15 hours a week and I've been with the same company for almost 9 years and I love it.

S. Walker
###-###-####
www.mymomsoffice.com

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.P.

answers from New York on

T.,
I totally get the "guilty" feeling. I didn't relate it to guilt as much as having loved working. I became a SAHM when I was about to deliver my 2nd child almost 7 years ago. I missed working and felt at times that I was "useless" b/c I wasn't "working". That said I wanted to be at home with my two children then 6 and an infant. It took me a while to find the right fit. I have a home based business, make my own hours, determine my own salary, get sick time, personal time or vacation time when ever I want b/c I work for me. It is fullfilling and lucrative, no more paycheck to paycheck for me. I researched home-based businesses for 18 months before I found the right one. A company with a solid legitimate history, of proven success.
Give me a call or an e-mail and I can give you more information so you can decide if a home-based business is for you.
Don't feel guilty, 7 years later, I would not have changed any of it (except sometimes scraping by on one income)I have two amazing children 13 & almost 7 who are well adjusted incredible people and I would like to believe being a SAHM had a lot to do with it.
So..relax enjoy the gift of time you have with them, and give me a call ###-###-#### or e-mail me ____@____.com and I will give you some more information on starting your own home-based business.
Cheers,
S.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches