Regret & Reflection: The Complex Emotions of Being a Working Mom

When delving into the psyche of modern mothers, the journey between being a working mom and a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is not straightforward.

Both paths come with their unique challenges, but for many, the weight of regret – whether it’s regretting the decision to stay home or to work full-time – is a burden hard to bear.

This article will guide you through the varying emotions many mothers experience and answer questions many hesitate to ask.

Is Regret a Common Emotion Among Parents?

Regret is an emotion many parents face, irrespective of their decision to work full time or stay home.

Often, the idea of spending time with their toddler, missing out on their first steps, or not being there in the middle of the night can cause immense regret for working parents.

Conversely, stay-at-home parents may feel they’re missing out on achieving their career ambitions.

Why Do Some Stay-at-Home Moms Feel Regret?

Choosing to become a stay-at-home mom often comes after a lot of contemplation. Many stay-at-home mothers express feelings of regret for missing out on career opportunities or personal growth.

Lisa, a mother of two, expressed on Reddit how she regretted the decision to stay home after the birth of her second child. The perceived lack of balance in her life made her question her choices often.

The Guilt of the Working Mother: A Real Struggle?

Many working mothers face a daily juggle between their professional responsibilities and their parenting role.

Jennifer, a full-time employee, often feels guilt when she has to leave her nine months old with a nanny. The balance between wanting to spend quality time with her child and achieving her career goals is a tough one.

What Leads Women to Become a Stay-at-Home Mom?

For many women, the decision to stay at home comes from a place of love and the desire to spend more time in the early years with their child.

However, unforeseen circumstances, like the Covid-19 pandemic, have also forced many women into this new role, sometimes leading to unexpected feelings of regret.

How Society Judges Mothers Based on Their Decisions

Whether a mother decides to work or stay home, society often passes judgment. Women who choose to work might be perceived as prioritizing their career over their child.

On the other hand, stay-at-home moms are sometimes viewed as lacking ambition.

Balancing Motherhood and Career Goals

Balancing motherhood and career is not an easy feat. Maya, a mother of a newborn, often feels she’s running around, trying to chase both her professional and personal dreams.

Yet, she insists on working, not just for the salary but for her self-worth and independence.

Full Time, Part Time, or Stay-at-Home: Which is Best?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. While some mothers thrive in full-time jobs, others prefer part-time roles to achieve a semblance of balance.

Then, there are those who find their calling in being a SAHM, fully immersing themselves in the role of motherhood.

Returning to Work: Is Going Back to Work a Smooth Transition?

The transition back to work after spending time as a stay-at-home mom can be daunting.

Not only do mothers have to deal with the emotional aspect of leaving their child in daycare, but they also face challenges reintegrating into the workplace.

The Impact of Childcare Choices on Parental Regret

Choosing between day care, a nanny, or relying on family for childcare can influence a mother’s feelings of regret.

Debra, who chose to send her two boys to day care, sometimes feels guilty but is comforted by the quality of care they receive.

Is there a Perfect Answer to Motherhood and Work?

In truth, the perfect answer varies for each individual. What’s really essential is understanding that each decision comes with its rewards and sacrifices. It’s about finding what works best for each mother and her family.

Key Takeaways:

  • Regret is a common emotion among both working moms and stay-at-home moms.
  • Society’s judgments often exacerbate feelings of guilt and regret.
  • Balancing career and motherhood is challenging but not impossible.
  • Childcare choices can influence feelings of regret.
  • There’s no one-size-fits-all solution; it’s about what works best for each family.



1. Do many working moms feel regret about not being a stay-at-home mom?

Yes, many working moms experience feelings of regret about not being a stay-at-home mom. The challenge of juggling a full-time job with motherhood can lead to guilt, especially when they feel they aren’t spending enough quality time with their children.

However, it’s essential to note that feelings of regret can also be present among stay-at-home moms who might miss their career or personal growth.

2. What factors lead women to become a stay-at-home mom?

Several factors influence a woman’s decision to become a stay-at-home mom. Some prioritize spending time with their child during their early years, while others might make this choice due to financial considerations, like the high costs of childcare or daycare.

External circumstances, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, have also prompted some mothers to stay home due to job loss or concerns about their child’s health.

3. How do working mothers balance their career goals with the demands of parenting?

Balancing career goals with parenting demands is a challenge many working mothers face. Often, they may choose to work part-time or look for flexible working arrangements to spend more time with their children.

Using childcare solutions, such as daycare or hiring a nanny, can also help working mothers manage their professional responsibilities. Remember, every mother’s balance looks different based on her individual circumstances and priorities.

4. Are feelings of guilt common among mothers who work full time?

Yes, feelings of guilt are common among mothers who work full time. Many working mothers often feel guilty about not being there for every step or milestone their child achieves.

This guilt can be amplified when society judges their decision to work and implies they might be prioritizing their career over motherhood.

5. Is returning back to work after being a stay-at-home mom a smooth transition?

The transition back to work after being a stay-at-home mom can be complex and varies for each individual.

While some mothers find it relatively easy, especially if they have a supportive workplace and quality childcare in place, others might face emotional challenges, such as leaving their child in daycare, or professional challenges like keeping up with changes in their industry.



This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.