'Do I work too much?'

"But mom, do you have to work?" is a line I've heard approximately eight million times in the last seven years. Whether it's been at home, when putting my little person to bed and then heading back to my desk to conquer my inbox, or when I've dropped her at a holiday club over the Easter period, that line still stings me to my very mommy-core.

For obvious economic reasons, it's almost impossible for a South African family to survive without two incomes. In the case of single parent families, it's even more evident that mom staying home to conjure up fun ideas involving play dough is impossible.

But, economic factors do not detract from that all too familiar ache in your heart as you walk out the door to work, or drop your child at daycare and head to the office. I have some good news for you though, mama who cries because she missed her kid’s first steps… It’s okay.

You're not a bad parent

I read a recent report in The Guardian, which highlighted some effects of working moms on their children. Undertaken by the a team from the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, the study found no evidence of detrimental effects on the young children of mothers working part-time or full-time.

So, you can stop crying now. Stop crying and know this one simple thing – you are working for the betterment of your child. Whether you’re doing it to afford their education or to afford a roof over your head, you’re doing it for your child.

There’s also something that is often not mentioned in these types of studies – the art of being a role model. Like every parent, I want my daughter to believe she can do and be anything she wants to be. I want her to grow up knowing that it is possible to roll with life’s punches, and still come out smiling. So, yes, when I am tired out of my mind, having applied all of my energy into my inbox, I tell her. And then I thank her for being the balm to my soul, and giving me the cuddles I so crave at the end of the day. Being a working mom lets my child understand that I am not just the cooker, cleaner, money machine that sometimes hogs the television remote. She even said, the other day, that “seeing you doing what you love teaches me that I can too one day when I am big”.

Yes, I’ve missed some milestones, forgot a concert and should have shares in our local takeout but I’m giving my daughter the life she needs. And I’m letting her learn to dream big.

There’s just no space for this guilt in our busy lives so, I’m bidding it farewell as I type this. I hope you will join me in this adieu.

Do you give yourself a hard time for working too much?

Follow Parent24 on Twitter and Like us on Facebook
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24