Guilty of Going Back to Work

Updated on March 13, 2012
S.S. asks from Seattle, WA
13 answers

Hi moms,

How do I get over this guilt? I really need to go back to work and have been given a good opportunity, but I feel guilty.
How do I leave my child in daycare when they are screaming? My DH works nights and days sometimes, so kids dont see him much.

what did you do to get back your child in daycare? how do I get over this guilt?

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



answers from Atlanta on

I still feel guilty sometimes when my youngest "mama's boy" cries as I drop him off at preschool. However, I felt guiltier when we couldn't afford to buy them anything, take them the places I wanted to take them and have experiences with them we wanted to have. I also felt guilty being on edge, screaming and being unhappy because I DO NOT enjoy staying at home all the time! We have a lot more quality time now! I have to say, my oldest is in kindergarten, but both he and my youngest have learned so much and blossomed so much in preschool and in pre-k -it's been great for them. And quite honestly, even though I still feel bad once in awhile, it's been really great for me too!

Also, have you left them at daycare or preschool before with them screaming? My youngest ALWAYS does this -it's almost a game with him -but my oldest never has. I was prepared for it, but he was always excited to go. So, it may not be the nightmare you're imagining

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

Most children will stop crying as soon as you are out of sight. They will see you are gone and go play. It does take some a little more time to adjust but all in all, they do finally get past this.

Going back to work should not make you feel guilty, it should make you feel proud that you are willing to make sacrifices for your family so they can not only the things they need but to also have the things the want.

Good for you going to work.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

you just have to lock the guilt away. if you need to work, then you need to work. the guilt of not being able to provide food and shelter for your child is MUCH greater than the guilt of not being with them all day. trust me.

my kids have both been in daycare since 6w. they are now 5 and 10 and most days LOVE it. Did we have bad days. Yes. Do we still have bad days, yes, but we found a sitter that they both LOVE and so the love being at her house.

My son was worse then my daughter. He was with my mom for the first year. He was in public daycare from age 1 - 5y. The trick with him was that I would take him 10 mins early. I would help get him into his routine, get him a snack, basically get him settled and eating something. we might play a quick game of Connect-4. If I could get him settled and talked to a friend, he was fine. We even started this game where I would say when the big hand is on the 10 I have to go. So I would give him a quick hug, stand by the door and then he and his friend(s) would do a 'launch' countdown and when they said 'go' I would hurry out the door! There were a few times when I couldn't wait and he would cry and scream and those were hard. Esp. when he could see me from the big windows. Mostly tho its for show. Once he was screaming, I had to leave. I got to the car and noticed he'd left something. If I go give it to him it will make him feel better and not cry. Right? So I start to walk up to the school and see him through the big window. He's sitting back down at the table, NOT CRYING! I turned around and walked back to my car.

My sister was sitting for a kid one night. Crying and wailing. His mom was a mess, and it was just a date night. They'd only be gone a few hours. You could hear him outside the house he was so loud. Mom almost said they would stay home. Kid did the whole throw yourself against the window thing. Sister pulled him away. After a few minutes kid said 'are they gone?' Yes.. Okay. Just like that he was fine. The WHOLE thing was just a show to see if his mom would stay home.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

If you're doing what's best for your family, put your child in the best daycare you can and know that it will be ok. I felt terrible putting my daughter in daycare, I had to when she was 3 months old, but it was harder on me than her.

When we switched daycares, she cried for the first couple of days when I left, but her daycare lady told me it was ok, just go around to the window as soon as I left. So I did, and in the 10 seconds it took me to get from the door to the window, she had stopped crying and was playing. Kids know how to play on your emotions!

Do what's best for your family and don't feel guilty. I read somewhere that on average, working moms today spend more one on one time with their children than stay at home moms did 30 years ago. My daughter is 5 and doesnt seem to have any ill effects from being in daycare. It will be fine.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I'm a single mother who has had to work really hard to raise two kids by myself. If I piled guilt on top of all the pressure to provide the basic necessities of life for my children, I might not have been strong enough to pull it all off.

In this economy, I know very few families who can make it without two incomes.

I think the transition might be easier on your child if they can't sense your apprehension and guilt. Little kids are very adept at picking up on these things. I was very fortunate to have daycare providers who loved my kids like part of their family.
After a while, you and your child will get into the routine. Some moms even get emotional when their children are HAPPY to go to daycare and don't want to leave when it's time.

None of it's easy, but it's doable. And, there is a way to find some balance. If you have to work and you're doing what needs to be done, you're not "guilty" of anything.
Try not to be so hard on yourself.

Best wishes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

The first few years are so important to a child. You get to see them do so much and learn so much. You get to hear the first "mama", not some daycare worker. You get to see their first steps and their big smiles, if you choose to stay home and be a Sahm. Or you can let a daycare worker who doesn't have the emotional attachment to your child see and hear those things that make motherhood so special.

But if you go back to work, you can buy the nicer car you really don't need, but really want. You can take your kids places thay may not have been able to go, and really don't want togo to. They would rather be near mom and dad and do things with them.

And if you don't go back to work, you willl have to listen to the "guilt-trip" dished out to you by working mom's who talk about you as "Just a Sahm", as if working in an office and battling a commute was such a glorious experience.

You can always go to work after you children are in school.

Good luck to you and yours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

When I went back to work my oldest was in kindergarten and my youngest was 2 1/2 and I couldn't wait to get out of the house and feel like an adult again! And it still sucked!!!

Putting my little guy in daycare was harder than I thought it would be. I was a little bit more prepared for it than my husband, and for a couple of weeks it was his job to take him to daycare. He would drop him off, drive to work (about 5 minutes away from the daycare) and immediately call the daycare to check on him :-)

The daycare said the same thing you here almost every time. He's doing great. He stopped crying just a few minutes after you left. He's playing with cars and laughing! We promise we'll call you if he really has trouble!

I remember my oldest beginning preschool. He turned 3 that summer, so he was a very young 3. I knew at the time that I was not planning to have him begin kindergarten at age 5, so if this was too much for him I was ok with pulling him out. He cried the first day at dropoff, and I said goodbye and left just like the teachers told me to. Then I sat in the parking lot and cried! After school (only 2 1/2 hours) his teacher told me he did really well. He had a couple of moments of getting a little teary eyed, but other than that he was fine. The first couple of weeks were a little hard, but he went to the school for two years, and I swear it was more emotional for him to realize that he was moving on!

Just to let you know, after a few weeks of daycare, my youngest couldn't get out of his carseat fast enough in the parking lot! We have those days every once in awhile when he's not thrilled to be there, but he does fine right after I leave and he really loves it there.

It's not easy, but just give it some time. Daycare centers usually do such fun things with the kids that they just have so much fun and really grow. Your little one's going to be just fine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Be at peace. Do what you think is best.

If possible, see if your husband can cut back a few of his work hours to better know the children. That would be a real bonus for the family.

If possible, drop all extra committments (organizations, clubs, church committees) and save all non-work time for you and your family. Use any vacation time you earn. Don't accept any extra work or community requests with "Thank you for asking me, but I won't be able to do that." Ask other Moms how they trim time off tasks, so that you have as much time for family as possible. Simplify. (I often tell the story of my friend who raised lovely children. She sometimes served them cold cereal for supper. Folks were aghast! She felt it was most important that she sat and they all had supper and conversation together and some nights she was too tired to cook a meal and sit with them both. The kids say it was a blast to have cereal night!)

It can be done well. You are being the best Mom you can. Again, peace.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

S.- I know this is hard. but the important thing is not how loud they scream, but how long. My daughter cried and clinged to me every morning when I took her to daycare, the daycare workers said it lasted maybe 1 or 2 minutes. Every afternoon when I picked her up she cried cuz she didnt want to leave. Transitions are very hard for kids. I've taught preschool and kindergarten and first grade. Most kids get over it in 1 minute. Kids who do not go to preschool or daycare have a harder time adjusting to Kindergarten. Make sure the daycare is the absolute best you can afford, How old is your child? choose a program that will enhance your child's life with nature, music, arts and crafts that will make you feel better. In the old days when most moms were at home kids had more siblings and cousins and neighbor children to play with. They didnt spend their days playing with mommy they socialized and played outdoors and if they fell some older child picked them up and kissed their boo boo. Today's nuclear family with a SAHM who is not working her but off, not having to haul water, make candles, bake bread, shop for fresh food daily or gardening, not making and mending everyone's clothes, is a new invention not a traditional norm.
If you need to work, get over the guilt and Figure out a plan to make the most of YOUR life. Get organized so mornings are more pleasant than stressful (that's hard!) make your first 15 minutes at home about reconnecting not cooking dinner immediately, plan for a LONG calm loving bedtime routine, so you know you are spending quality time with your children every single day. And listen when Some SAHMs complain about their kids, you'll see Some of them are NOT enjoying their kid's childhood as much as you are.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If you HAVE to go back to work, then you will have to do it.

If you DON'T HAVE to, I'd wait a little bit until he's in school.

Nobody knows your little one like you do so nobody can care for your little
like you can.

Having said that, if you have to go back to work, just research & visit the
daycare centers picking the best one.

When you drop your little one off, give him/her big hugs, tell them you love them, you have to go to work & you will see him/her soon.

As far as dealing with the guilt, you just tell yourself over & over that you have to do this for your family's financial survival. You are doing the best you can, you absolutely need this income etc.

Again, if you don't have to go back to work right this minute, I'd wait a little bit.

Hope that helps and best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

It DOES get better and the kids do adjust. I agree that it is absolutely heartwrenching to leave with a child screaming in the background. You have to keep telling yourself that you are working for the betterment of your entire family. Don't make a huge deal out of drop off. Just smile and tell your child bye-bye and you will see them later. The longer you prolong drop off, the harder it will continue to be.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Amen 8kidsdad, amen!



answers from Portland on

I don't think you ever get over it unless you release yourself from it. I went back to work when my DD was 8 months old. It was hard, I mean really hard - it took months for me to feel better. You really just have to trust they will be alright, put the down, walk out the door, cry in the car on the way to work, hit the bathroom, freshen up and start your day.
When you think about it too, you are role modeling what it means to be a strong working gal that can still love and take care of their family. You are caring for your family by bring home money to help support them. Men are expected to do it, it is still not the normal to have stay at home Dads - think at it from that angle. Take pride in the work you do for your family. Spend the time with them when not at work and it will slowly get better.
I truly believe that my daughter is better off that she went to day care and I went to work. Since she is an only child and it would have just been me and her at home, I feel like her having other kids and people around that cared for her have helped her grown into the smart, strong, quick witted, funny little 7 year old she is. :)

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions