7 Reasons You Absolutely Shouldn't Feel Guilty For Going Back To Work After Having Kids

Ad failed to load

Regardless of the way you structure your balance between work and kids — home all day every day with the littles, a proud workaholic who often loves from afar, or something in between — parenting comes with guilt. It just does. We feel guilty about how much time we spend with our kids and how much time they spend with other kids. We feel guilty about the books we read to them when they're little and the types of books they read when they're older. We manage to claim guilt for everything from the food that goes into their stomachs to the lower back tattoos they might potentially get in ten years if we don't monitor their every move. Everyone jokes that moms are so masterful about weathering so much guilt because we're the ones who are putting it on ourselves, which is mostly true — we are the biggest sources of the guilt we suffer under, but we are far from the only source. And even when it comes to our self-guilt, well, it only speaks to the impossible, no-win messages we've been taught from birth about who mothers are supposed to be, and what they're supposed to do. And in no area do these guilt-inducing expectations and stereotypes rear their horrible head more than our professional lives after becoming moms.

You know the score by now: If you choose to have a job outside the home after having a kid, you're being a neglectful mother and your kid will suffer endlessly because of your "absence." But if you decide to forgo a career and be a stay-at-home mom, then not only are you ~lazy~ but you're a ~very bad feminist~ who is setting a terrible example for your child in terms of gender roles, and what women "should" do (plus did I mention that you're lazy? Because being a stay-at-home mom is so easy?).

Since I've become a mom, it's been remarkable to me how often I've had to justify my choice to work with, “Well, my child is quite accustomed to having a roof over her head so I thought I’d keep providing that.” The reality is, every parent has his or her own method and madness – we all do things differently and no one can make these decisions for us. So, who cares what I choose to do with my parenting? Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t feel guilty for going back to work after having kids:

Ad failed to load

Finances Are Real

Image: giphy.com (7)

Finances can be depressing to the point it sucks out your happy, little soul. Soulless parents seem like a bad idea. Maybe they aren’t. I’m sure there’s at least one Supernatural episode where it turns out OK but as a general rule, let’s say parents should keep their souls, and a crucial part to that is to not be torn apart by the stress of money. If you’re faced with crunching finances to the point you’re stressed every moment of every day, please don’t let yourself feel guilty over going back to work on top of that. For some families, having one parent stay home makes more financial sense. For other families (especially one-parent families) staying home is literally not an option. You need to pay the bills and this is how you’re doing it. At some point, your children will understand.

You Love Your Job

Contrary to popular belief, parents are allowed to be people. I know, that sounds silly but we really are: We can have dreams, desires, and passionate sex with strangers in Florence (OK, maybe that's just me, but you should probably look into it). And the truth is, continuing to be whole people for our kids (instead of one-dimensional "parents" who cease to be actual human beings after procreating) makes us way, way better for them. We are allowed to love our jobs. That’s OK. It doesn't mean we don't love our kids. It doesn't even mean that we love work more than our kids. There will be people who will imply (or outright say) all of those horrible things — ignore them. Feeling guilt over doing what you love is insane. You’ll want your kids to pursue what they love so set the example and do it with your head held high.

Your Kid Is Alright

There's this weird myth that our kids can't handle not being around us; that they need their parents and only their parents at all times. This is just fundamentally untrue. Kids are also whole people, and are capable of a far greater degree of independence than you might think. And that makes sense: They're fully dependent when you first meet them, and the days, weeks, months, and years fly by, and it can be easy enough to miss that transition from "totally dependent upon you for literally everything" to "eh, probably gonna be totally fine and maybe even benefit from being on their own with other adult humans for a while."

The point is: Your kid will be fine without you. They will actually end up developing a bigger number of secure attachments to loving adults, and having relationships with new people who can teach them new things and offer perspectives that their parents can't have (because we're all limited in terms of what we can know, and how we view things) and in general, their squad of caregivers is going to expand and that is nothing but good. And then at the same time all that awesome stuff is happening, you're going to be off earning money and being a human being and making yourself feel happy and accomplished and fulfilled, and then bringing all that money and good feelings back home to your kids later. It's a no-lose situation, guys.

If you’re making decisions that provide for your child, giving them access to love and care, and those decisions involve you going back to work, tell anyone who disagrees to shove it. You’re in charge of your life and the life of your child. When you’re making decisions that are best for you both, there’s no need to feel guilty over it. Go to work and do you.

Ad failed to load

Being Home With Your Kids Can Make You Less Thrilled About Being Home With Your Kids

Fact: Getting away from children can occasionally remind you why you love your children. Taking a step back and going to work so you don’t hate your own life can be the best of all possible worlds.

Your Job Might Be Waiting, But Your Career Waits For No One

There's nothing wrong with loving what you do, and even defining your identity based on it. And sometimes, you can do that and still easily take lots of time off work when you have a kid. For others, it's not so easy to jump off the merry-go-round. For many, their chosen career path doesn’t allow for lengthy time away from work. If you are moving toward a career that isn't easy to take a break from, there’s a solid chance you'll be going back to work sooner than your less-career-minded friends, and this is also allowed.

You're Setting An Awesome Example For Your Kids

You want your children to see that you can have a life after having kids. It's not complicated but it's so important.

Ad failed to load

You Like Working And Want To Go Back

Yep, that’s all the reason you need and feeling guilty over the choice would just be rubbish. If you want to go back to work, go back to work. There are absolutely no reasons to feel guilty about it (as hard as it can be to unlearn a lifetime of messages telling us otherwise).

Images: NBC; Giphy(7)

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}