How I Cope With Working-Mom Guilt

Mom and Son Playing Basketball

I’ve been working since my son was born; I’m also the primary earner in my marriage.

My son, now five, is thriving. I’m not.

I still filter everything through the lens of my shortcomings, the tally of meals missed and other failures.

But he’s not. He’s a happy, independent little guy.

Last month, my son was on a class trip at Carnegie Hall. It happened that I had a TV shoot a few blocks away. When I was free, I raced over. He was thrilled to see me.

But after I hugged him and chatted with him a bit, he wanted to get back to his friends. “Bye, Mama,” my son said cheerfully.

He does miss me—but that doesn’t mean he feels he’s missing something.

Then why do I? I try to assume the stance of many executive men—men who seem to enjoy a guilt-free pass when it comes to their kids. The guys I know don’t appear to suffer from the belief that if they were around more their kids would be healthier, happier, eat fewer pesticides and eventually attend superior colleges.

But I’ll never have that guilt-free pass—and maybe I don’t want it. My yearning to be a better mom reminds me to be more involved and engaged when I’m with him.

And when I’m not, I’m doing a damn good job at what I do. That may not spell inner peace. But it’s close enough.

Come clean. How do you handle working-mom guilt?

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