Thursday, July 22, 2010


so...I have guilt.  I think every woman does.  You hear a lot about "mom guilt"--how mothers seem to feel guilty for everything that they do or don't do: if they stay home to be with their kids they have guilt over not providing financially, if they work outside the home they feel guilt over not being home with the kids, guilt over doing anything for themselves, etc...

Well right now I'm dealing with a case of what I will call "childless and jobless guilt." I have two more days of training my replacement at my job before I start  my "semi-retirment." (that reminds me--i haven't yet really gone into what I will be doing after I quit other than the health stuff--will update that soon hopefully).  As I'm preparing for this transition I'm just really struggling with the things that I think I should be doing.  I guess my main reason for this guilt is that I feel that if I do not have children, I have no right to be staying at home.  In this time I could continue working (though it would probably negatively impact my health) and saving up more money so that if/when we have children we would not have so many financial strains.  I have plans for things to do--cleaning, organizing, making our house really a home, tackling the mountains of piles that are going on, catching up on my scrapbooks, knitting, crafting, reading, having dinner for my husband when he gets home at night--so many things, but I just don't feel like it's enough.  Do you ever feel like that?  Like there is always more that you should be doing?

I know that this is the right choice for us.  I know that it will help our future, and hubs is even starting to really enjoy it now that the house is cleaner and he gets a good meal when he gets home every night instead of waiting another hour for me to get off work, and then waiting for me to finish dinner (which all too often meant a cold-cut sandwich).  Butch is thrilled to have mommy at home w/her too.  I think everyone is ultimately happy with the decision (minus the little aspect of tighter purse-strings) but it is still gnawing at me.  I think every woman would love to have this opportunity, so why is it fair that I get it?  Yeah, it is ultimately due to my health issues, but I just don't feel like that is enough of a  reason. 

Plus, I have always worked outside the home.  Since I was 16 I was working (at the same office that I am leaving now!).  When other kids were on summer or winter breaks from school, I was picking up extra hours at the office.  I have never just had a break.  And honestly I didn't need to work that much, but I just did b/c I like to work hard.  I think that is where so much of this guilt comes from.  I always see things that need to be done and that I can do and I always have multiple things going on at once.  It wasn't enough just to manage an office.  I had to do that plus college ministry, plus taking care of the house, plus weekly baking for my co-workers, plus a few little direct-selling businesses.  But I don't think there are any women on earth who don't have some "plus" things.  Don't we all try to do it all? 

Then there is the pressure on hubs.  How is it fair for me to not be working while he is practially working 2 jobs?  He has a freelance videography business that is growing by leaps and bounds, as well as his 40 hour/week computer consulting job.  I can try to talk myself into believing that before I basically had the two full-time jobs of maintaining our home (I've always done pretty much everything housework-wise) and working at my office, so now I'm just going to have one "job"....but it doesn't seem to be validated when I am not earning a paycheck.  I don't think that anyone would argue against the fact that homemakers work extremely hard--and it's not like you can leave that work at the office and go home--there is always something to clean, someone to feed, things to get rid of...but our culture defines people so much by salaries that it is hard to get an adequate value for that kind of work.  I feel like it is unfair--at my age & without children--to have him solely responsible for our finances.  That is a lot of pressure on him-- though we have no debt and have honestly had a basically stress-free marriage when it comes to money, I'm just afraid that I'm throwing that away without enough cause. 

It's just a weird situation.  I almost feel like I have to have a baby just to justify this move in my mind! eep!  What about you?  Do you have guilt that you are struggling with?  Is this mostly a "woman-thing" or do men struggle with it constantly too?


  1. Last year when I lost my full-time teaching job and had to drop to part-time, I felt guilty too. And THEN I felt guilty that I really enjoyed being home so much!

    I think our society has reared a whole generation of women who think they have to do everything. Have a ridiculously successful career, be the perfect mom, run the household, etc....sometimes I think women's lib did nothing but make a woman's life more difficult. Buuuutttt that's another comment for another day...haha.

    You're right when you said that you were practically working two jobs before. I know it's hard to think so, since there's no paycheck involved for homemaking, but think about it...people who can't do it themselves have to PAY other people to do it. Right? So if someone can have a full-time paid position as a housekeeper, there must be some actual work involved, right? :P

  2. I also just noticed your "about me" here on your page. God gave you the desire of your heart! Rejoice! :D

  3. Sarah, I think this guilt is definitely not of the Lord and that you should release it. You have an opportunity to minister and take care of your home in a way that you haven't been able to do before, and your husband will be blessed by it, as will you. I completely understand why you feel guilty; I struggled with this too when I was out of work last year, but I came to really appreciate the time I had and I loved how much more in order my home was! (I think hubs really enjoyed it, too.) So while it's certainly not typical to stay at home when you don't have a child, that doesn't mean it's wrong. You are doing what you feel is best for your health and your life, and I know that God will get glory out of your new situation. And ultimately, that's what matters!

    And ff it makes you feel any better, one of my mentors when I was in college did this very thing. She was in her mid-twenties, married, and working full time. She decided to leave her job and devote herself more to the college ministry at our church. They were in a position where they didn't really "need" her income, and even though some people thought it was completely "weird" that she would stay at home even though she didn't have a child, she loved it and it was great for her and allowed her to invest even more in others!

  4. sweet sarah, you rock!

    i don't have anything super great to say, but it is just a woman thing i think! because even though i did stop working to stay home because of a baby...i still feel guilt-like i'm not doing enough. the laundry isn't put away because b has been fussy all day, or oh my word it took me 30 minutes to scrub the shower clean because it hadn't been cleaned in so long!

    you are doing what is best for your family! :) no guilt necessary!

  5. I read this entry last night but didn't comment right away because I couldn't figure out how to put into words what I mean in a way that would persuade you to not be guilty anymore! Sadly, this morning hasn't brought any huge revelations that I feel would convince you so I'll just blabber one and see what happens!

    I have always felt that you fill your schedule way too much - I thought this before you got sick and even more afterwards. You invest so much in other people's lives and you have so many other "businesses" that keep you busy, I have been amazed by your ability to continue to do all these things and have a full time job. (and you do them all so very very well!) I am so excited that you get to take one of those things out of the equation - and in my mind it is the least important thing. It would have made you so sad to have to give up one of your businesses or friendships or now bible studies because you HAD to work. You and Patrick have been blessed financially and he has been blessed with work that he enjoys, why can you not take advantage of this and do what you love? I think some of this guilt will melt away come the new school year, you'll feel more like you have a "job" and you'll be getting some paychecks and be contributing to your family. Even more, your 'paycheck' will be your spiritual and emotional growth as you learn and grown through CRU bible studies and your relationships. There is more to life than a 9-5 job and a paycheck!!! Go find out what it is and don't feel ok about it :)

  6. Sarah my dear, I completely agree with Jordan. You have worked yourself to the extreme in so many situations, and though I know you enjoy most of your jobs, you don't take time for yourself very often... not to point a finger but pushing yourself is a little of why you are sick. I don't think you have any reason to feel guilty about this period in your life, and if it makes you feel any better I kinda feel like your 'job' now is to try and get well!

    I do experience guilt too, and like you I know most of it is unjustified, but I still find it in my heart. My guilt revolves around dragging my husband to Fl for a PhD program that I may not even 'use', the fact that my husband is doing a bunch of the house work and I'm not taking care of him, feeling like I should be having children not going back to school... yeah the list goes on. I feel that some of this guilt involves society's messed up expectations of women right now. Men have a job, to provide, that is not disputed by anyone. Women however are to fight repression by having highly successful careers while still being the best full time Moms and Wives... its not possible! In my mind either you are one or the other it is very difficult to be both.

    You are contributing to your family when you stay at home, with the work you do around the house AND with the other fun jobs you take on. Also even though it seems like Patrick is doing a lot, it is part of his responsibility as husband to be the main provider, it is a responsibility he has taken on to give you the chance to recoup. Oftentimes it is my pride getting in the way when I feel guilty that Chris is doing all the house work, I feel like I should be doing those things and I get satisfaction out of taking care of him, maybe that is a little of what is going on with that concern for you too.

    Dear I'm so excited for you in this stage of life. I know it is weird and new, and that makes it hard to get used to, but I am praying that you will find joy and satisfaction in this season, and that God will use it to prepare you for whatever season is coming next! Sorry this is exceptionally long and wandering!