Whatever makes you feel better, right?
As much as we working moms love our jobs, or have to work to support our families, or both, it's tough not to feel guilty when your kid starts making comments that you aren't home much, or that you can't make it to their school activities. Even though we shouldn't let providing for your family or fulfilling our aspirations eat away at us (um, haven't you noticed how hard we rock?), our kids' reactions can be totally heartbreaking and cause us to make some decisions to make that guilt hurt less. Below, 13 moms share what they've done out of guilt—from sacrificing sleep or an extra day on their trip to making some probably not-so-necessary purchases for their kids.
1. "I've bought exorbitant amounts of Legos. I work next to a Lego store, and my son knows it. When I tell him I'll be at work late, which is often, he'll ask if I am going to bring him home a Lego. He's such a good kid, and I feel guilty, so I often will."
—Cheryl Brody Franklin, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, college program director
2. "Vacations! We say yes to everything for that extra special time with them. This year we went to Florida and stayed at a family house twice, went skiing, and went to Great Wolf Lodge. Going to Hershey Park and Disney is already planned for end of the year. My kids are 2 and 4 so when I say it out loud, it seems a bit excessive, but I can justify it because well, that’s why I work!"
—Lindsay Ferraro Bennett, Bethesda, MD, public relations consultant
3. "I've let them stay up late because I selfishly want to spend more time with them. I feel guilty being away so long at work I will keep saying yes to more books or extra time in the bath."
—Jessica Breault Ramirez, Rye Brook, NY, chief of staff
4. "I joined the PTO and became class mom so I could be there for all the class parties and field trips. It's a major juggle on my end working full time with three jobs. I know I stretch myself too thin sometimes, but I want to be present as much as possible especially because I work Saturdays, so I miss out on a lot of games, practices, birthday parties, etc."
—Kara Thorson, Randolph, NJ, event planner
5. I used to throw a Valentine's Day party for my older daughter, complete with crafts, games, prizes, cake and a cotton-candy machine that sent sticky pink tufts up to my kitchen ceiling. Sure, I wasn't at home after school every day, but hey, my daughter got TWO big parties a year instead of just one!"
—Deborah Skolnik, Scarsdale, NY, editor
6. "I hid under a blanket in bed and worked for hours late into the night and early morning on my laptop because my kid wanted me to stay in bed with her and kept waking up if I tried to leave. I’m not proud of this on the parenting or work side, but it got me through a night of finalizing and filing briefs without 'abandoning' my kid."
—Natasha Daughtrey, Los Angeles, attorney
7."I don't like sports or adventure movies; however, out of guilt, I let my son choose a movie to go to—which was one of those Marvel films."
—Peggy Beane, Queens Village, NY, senior account director
8. "I bring my child out to the mall and show her puppies at the pet store if I've been working for three days straight. I've never seen anyone love dogs so much. It's crazy."
—Danielle,* New Jersey, nurse
9. "I've served ice cream for dinner. That may have been the day Steve Jobs died, and I had to work well into the night as stuff went live. That was it. Sundaes. Enjoy yourselves."
—Cyndy Aleo, Rochester, NY
10. "I changed my flight home from a work trip to Singapore to depart a day early to attend my daughter's school play."
—Jacqueline LaBrocca, Salisbury Mills, NY, senior director, conference operations and logistics
11. "I have forgotten my son's lunch before and ordered from a local restaurant for delivery to his daycare—more than once."
—Gucci Igbokwe, Newtown, PA, attorney
12. "I forgot to bring the cheese cubes I signed up to bring for my 2-and-a-half-year-old’s end-of-summer party. I didn’t realize it until I dropped her off and heard one of the other moms tell the teacher that she put her food in the fridge. I panicked and drove to the closest place that had food which was a Rite Aid down the street. They only had blocks of cheddar and no utensils to be found. I bought two blocks of cheese, a big pair of scissors, and some gallon plastic Ziploc bag. I sat in the car in the parking lot and cut up the cheese (total hack job because I was in a huge hurry), then went back and dropped it off."
—Amy Johnson Hebbard, Charleston, SC, pharmacist
13. "I got a cat I didn't want for my son, and a few years later, a dog I really didn't want for my daughter. And I didn't even bother to try to hold them to the perfunctory promises of cleaning the litter pan and walking the dog. The fluffy cat is 20 pounds, so I have perpetual tumbleweeds of cat hair blowing across every room. She has destroyed all our moulding. Pickles the dog, for his part, wakes me up to take him out every day at 5 a.m., and then perches at the living room window barking at nothing until about 7 a.m., when he goes back to bed—just as I have to get up. About once a week he gorges himself on cat food (bitter irony), then barfs on the one and only rug I have in the entire house. I owe those kids nothing for never being home when they got/get home from school!
—Christina Vercelletto, Babylon, NY, writer
Written by Maricar Santos for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.