Working it out…

I was raised with a very strong work ethic, all thanks to my mother. As a single parent, she often worked not only one but often three jobs just to keep us afloat. They may not have been her dream jobs but she did what she needed to do for us. The magnitude of her commitment as well as her unwavering determination to succeed as a mother has set the bar very high for me. Her acts of love and examples of how to take on life’s challenges are something I will always be grateful for.

This week I traveled abroad for work. It’s always been a consistent theme in my life. But with the birth of our two children that aspect of my life slowed down tremendously and on a definite need-to basis. I feel fortunate that I can carefully plan my work around my husband and children’s schedule so it’s not too disruptive for them. As the planning got under way for my most recent trip, I was very excited about working, traveling, and to be honest taking a few days to connect with myself. Even if it as simple as sitting down to read a few chapters in a book uninterrupted. With my bags packed, hugging and kissing my little ones and husband goodbye, that excitement turned to doubt and of course, needless to say, outright guilt.

I hope to set an example for my girls that if you want something you need to go out there and earn it...

But in current times it’s important that I stick to my core belief system that it’s important for my children to see me pursuing a career. The pain I feel when I leave them is real and I don’t think that will ever change. But I hope to set an example for my girls that if you want something you need to go out there and earn it.

Please feel free to share anything you wish about being a full-time, part-time, or stay-at-home mom. Or full/part-time working mother, of course. I learn so much from your discussions and I hope by us sharing our experiences, we are able to help and support one another.

From my home to yours,


Emma x

mommy guiltworking mom

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Leigh says:

I struggle so much with these issues in my own life! I saw a meme the other day that said “balance is bullshit” and I laughed out loud in recognition. For me, as a work-at-home-mom, I find that all the boundaries are so fluid and messy…I can be breastfeeding my toddler and making lunch while sending work texts, emailing co workers while getting my sons dressed for school, and updating the Sakura Bloom social media while doing the laundy. I feel pulled in so many directions at once, and even though I am physically with my kids most of the time, I cannot help but wish that my mental focus and attention on them could be greater all of the time. And yet I feel so blessed to have a successful thriving career that allows me the flexibility to drive them to school and pick them up every day, to eat every meal with daughter, to take them with me to work meetings. And I know that by working I’m setting a great example for my kids — just like you said, it’s important for them to see a woman pursuing her interests, goals, and work objectives. But yes, it is not easy, there is a lot of guilt, and I can say with resolute confidence that balance IS bullshit 🙂

Emma Heming Willis says:

YES!! It’s so hard to find that balance. It’s a daily struggle for me. I try to separate everything to be able to give each person and project my undivided attention. I fail miserably at it. But at least I try! 😉 Thanks for sharing xxx

Gail says:

I can totally sympathize with you, Emma, feeling guilty leaving the kids when you have to work. It used to break my heart some days when my second baby would cry (she was six months old at the time) as soon as she saw me dress in my scrubs to leave for the office. As she got older she would even throw a tantrum after I left. I was working part time so I was home with her more than I was working. As soon as I got to the office I would call home and she was fine. I had to keep telling myself that I was both doing something for myself as well as my daughters. I completely agree with you that it is good for our daughters to see us go out into the work world and have a career. I now explain to my older daughters (my girls are 10, 7, 4 and 10 months) what it took for me to achieved my goals…the school, studying, sacrifice…so that they know they can do it too. I grew up with three older brothers and my parents always told me that I could achieve whatever I set my mind to do just like the boys. Both of my parents worked and my Mom, as a nurse, had to work weekends. She felt guilty for leaving us as well, but saw the infinite benefit to us, especially to me as her daughter. The fact that I am doing something as an example to my girls takes away a little of the guilt. I think it is great that we are showing our girls that you can have the best of both worlds…being a Mommy and having a career! What a wonderful example and gift we are giving them for their future! Just know that you are doing something positive for your beautiful family both when you are working and when you are home…and we are still Mommys even when we are working at our careers! I so enjoy reading your blog, keep up the great work! All the best to you and your family!

Emma Heming Willis says:

Thank you for your post. I know that feeling of the tug and pull but I agree. I’ve never looked back at my mom working and think you weren’t there for me. I think the total opposite. And like I said it was the best example that got me off to a great start.

Mimi says:

I have been fortunate to be able to work from home for the past 8 years with them. My daughter is now 6. When she was an infant I was able to be present with a nanny during the day and I was able to breast feed when needed, no pumping needed. Now, it’s just normal to her that I work from home, never had an issue with interrupting, she has always known when I am in my office, she does not come in. I am able to work full time, sometimes having to be flexible during sick/snow days. Sometimes I wake up at 5am or stay up until midnight working when those days happen. I have purposely put off a promotion because it would entail more travel and I don’t want that right now. I only have travel 2 times per year now and even those short periods give me anxiety as the travel time approaches. But just like you, once I am on the plane, it’s like a relief to travel alone and I get that “me” time in my hotel. I have a very supportive husband who appreciates my work situation which is very important. I feel so lucky to be able to drop off, be there at the bus stop in the afternoon and be able to volunteer at my daughter’s school now and then. It works for us and our family, some people like my husband couldn’t work from home, too much distraction and not enough human interaction. I hope to do this until I retire, which a long, long time away!

Emma Heming Willis says:

It has a very familiar ring to it. I feel being able to work from home has been such a gift. The traveling part is great but yes the anxiety gets a hold of me as well too. But being able to sleep in the hotel without two monitors next to my ear is a bit of a luxury I must say 🙂

Audrey says:

Hi :). From a very young age I aspired to be a wife and mother. I really didn’t desire a career. My son’s dad always liked the idea of traditional roles. I actually stayed in the home until my husband left us. From there I relocated, found a roof to keep over our head and between homeschooling I managed to find a few homes in the area that needed to be cleaned. My son was 13 at the time and with all the life skills I crammed into his young life he managed just fine without me. Those were some tough times. I’m in the home again and occasionally I am asked to do an organizational/space planning job that I only take if my family doesn’t need me.
Once upon a time the stay at home was the norm. I can see that in reading the comments above the career mom can do it all….not all moms however want too. My family comes first, everything they need before my needs. I am teaching my daughter that her education is important and that if she too aspired to be in the home it is a good idea to have training for a job outside the home just in case she ends up left behind. Working outside the home…because we have to or because we want to? 🙂


Marta Markowksi says:

I’ve found your blog and I myself am a single mom with 5 children. I work full time and love working out but getting it in is so hard. I love to hike the peaks during summer here in the Adirondacks and try to hit the gym a few times a week during the winters. Here in upstate NY our winters are very cold so we can only do so much outdoors. Could you share your workout schedule and maybe your eating plan? Or what you dondaily to keep fit and stay healthy.. Thankyou! Marta

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