Working Mom Guilt :: My Kid Has to Go to Aftercare

Working Mom Guilt :: My Kid Has to Go to Aftercare

It’s back to school season and while I’m excited about the new school year, new opportunities, and new experiences, I can’t help but have a slight feeling of guilt. This isn’t random, unknown guilt, but a very specific, guilt related to aftercare. I’m a working mom and due to my work hours, my family has to utilize aftercare. I know I shouldn’t feel bad about this, but a part of me does. It’s a constant reminder that so many things in life just aren’t built to accommodate working parents. There is also an additional cost tied to it.

My 4 year old’s school takes in at 8am and releases at 3pm. I work until 4-4:30pm and can’t realistically get to him any earlier than 4:30-4:45 most days. I hate this. Of course, I know my child isn’t the only child in aftercare and LOTS of families have this same need, but it still stings. It breaks my heart to think about all of the other parents in the carpool line to get their kids at dismissal, while mine is escorted to the “my mom has to work” room.

Child running down the school hallway.

I try to focus on the positive of things and have several reminders I repeat to myself to help lessen this guilt.

  • I love my career. I love my job. I don’t want to be a stay-at-home mom, and it is important for me that my kids see that Mom has a life outside of them.
  • I do have some flexibility with my job, and I’m thankful for that. While I can’t be there right at dismissal time most days, I am able to drop him off every morning. I work a hybrid schedule, and we live close enough to my son’s school that I can be there at drop off on my work from home days and take him home with me to finish my workday.

Little boy working alongside his Mom.

  • My coworkers and company truly value family and work-life balance, and I have never had to miss an event or activity at school.
  • These hours aren’t new. My kids have been in daycare since they were infants and are used to being there the same length of a school day + aftercare. I don’t know why the days and hours feel so much longer to me at school than they did at daycare. Maybe it’s because I know other kids have left earlier.
  • We aren’t at homework age yet, but I presume I’ll appreciate the days when I pick my kids up from aftercare and their homework is done (and there was a teacher there to help!).
  • I went to aftercare as a kid sporadically, and I loved it! I had a chance to meet kids from other classes and grades, and it was so much fun. I hope the same for my son.

Kids like after care more than what us parents think sometimes!

  • Talking to other parents tells me that kids love aftercare. I’ve heard from parents who say their kids never want to leave, and parents with kids who aren’t in aftercare and wish they were.
  • There will always be something some kids do that others don’t, and that’s okay.

I know it’ll be okay. I just need a moment to feel my feelings, and I can’t shake this aftercare guilt at the moment. So, I will try to focus on the positive thoughts and start this school-year strong. Just please don’t let him be the only one from his class in aftercare or I may impulsively quit my job, lol.

Do your kids go to aftercare? Do they love it?

Danielle Blanco
Danielle is a native New Orleanian. She graduated from Ben Franklin and attended the University of New Orleans' undergraduate and graduate schools. She and her husband Abraham married in 2017 and welcomed their son Blaise in 2019 and son Beckham in 2021. She balances motherhood with working full time as the Director of People and Culture in the local healthcare and education industries. She is learning to embrace the chaos of life as a Mom. Danielle’s current struggle is navigating preschool options for her oldest and managing the endless appetite of her youngest. This type-A mama can usually be found on the go with a to-do list and a plan. She enjoys trying new things, thrifting, and is always in the middle of glittering or a DIY project. Additionally, she never turns down a happy hour or beach vacation. She is excited to experience New Orleans as a mom and is truly proud to call it home.


  1. Mine is starting prek this year and I absolutely feel this. He’s been at daycare until 5pm every day but for some reason the fact that other kids get picked up early and I can’t get him on time breaks my heart. So much anxiety, thanks for making me not feel alone.

  2. When my oldest was about the same age as yours, I felt this so much. I often worked later, and some days she was the last one left in aftercare in the “after 5” crew. One day I moved around my schedule so I could pick her up early – like 4 pm so still in aftercare but not late. When I got there I was greeted with “Aw man, I wanted to stay and play!” A lot of times, we forget to see things through their eyes, and I was much more at ease with aftercare when I realized it was fun for her! I still rush to try to get her (and my now 1year old) before 5 when I can but it’s more for me now than for them ❤️


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