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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.