Working Mothers And Holiday Guilt

* A repost from 2010*

One of the most difficult things I have encountered with being a working Mom is all the things that I miss during the holiday season.  Because the holiday season is the biggest part of the retail sector, I end up missing a lot of time with my family during the holidays.  It’s one of the things I have struggled with back when I worked as a nurse, too.  At least with my retail job, the store is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that I am not completely missing out on those important holidays.

And it’s just not time with my kids that I am missing, being a working Mom. My husband is off the day before Christmas Eve, through the Sunday after New Year’s.  Being full-time, I am only home with him 4 days during that two-week period(not counting Christmas Day).  It’s hard, because time spent with my husband is so important to me. As you may know from my previous posts, my husband is more than just my spouse, he is my best friend as well.  I didn’t realize how much I miss him sometimes till I’ve been on evening shifts a few days in a week, and then have a full weekend off with him. The bright side to this whole thing is I actually had 3 days off the week in between Christmas and New Year’s because I get a day of holiday time.

So what can you do to combat the guilt of working while your family is home?  There’s a few things that may help:

Plan fun things on your day off.   The housework and laundry can wait.  Really.  Do only the basics, and leave the rest.  Time spent with your family is far more important than having a perfectly organized house, and the laundry will always be there.

Leave work at work.   Really.  Make a vow to forget about the office while you are at home.  Before you get out of your car, jot any last-minute notes on a sticky note, and leave them on the garage wall.  When you leave for work the next day, grab the sticky notes and take them with you.  That way you are not constantly thinking about work when you should be enjoying your family.

Plan simple meals that don’t require a lot of kitchen preparation.   The less time you need to spend in the kitchen, the more time you have with your family. Use paper plates and plastic ware so clean-up is a breeze.  A quick swipe of the table, and you are done.  If your budget allows it, go out to eat.


One of the most important things to do is just enjoy what time you have.  Things don’t need to be perfect, in fact, the husband and kids won’t remember if all the bows are the same color, or that the filling wasn’t hand mixed.  So instead of putting piles of guilt under the tree, grab a cup of hot chocolate and just enjoy your family, the rest just doesn’t matter.

Meet Jennifer S. (Making Our Life Matter)

Jennifer S has written 469 entries on this blog.

Mom, Wife, Blogger, Coffee Addict, Book Obsessed. Huge Philly sports fan. Love Travel. Food. And don't forget the wine. Product reviews, book reviews, and more.

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  1. Thanks for the post, Jen! It’s definitely important as a working mom – whether you work in the house or out of the house – to make life as simple as possible…that way you have way more time to spend with family. This is totally why i’ve become a crock pot recipe master over the last six months, haha.
    Cortney – The Mommyhood Project recently posted..Thankful for my life. That’s all.My Profile

  2. I am currently a stay at home and I understand how difficult it must be for you. Honestly sometime soon , I will need to go and be part of the workforce again, I really can’t imagine how I will be able to survive it. Being away from my daughter most of the day and yes missing out some important events. But your tips are helpful and encouraging…
    Icar (My Charmed Mom) recently posted..Enter : Child’s Dream Christmas GiveawayMy Profile

  3. It is always important to remember those that are most important to you and make sure you set aside time for them. I don’t know if it is possible but maybe let your husband drive you to and from work with the kids so that they can get all excited about going to get mommy at work and helping to bring her home. You can even drive home the long way and check out Christmas lights displays in the neighborhood or pick up a special item you all love at a restaurant to share.
    Felissa (Two Little Cavaliers) recently posted..These Are a Few of Our Favorite ThingsMy Profile

  4. This is a great post! It’s hard when you work and there’s so much you want to do and can’t always get it done. But I love your first one. When you’re off, be off, let the housework wait. Great tips!
    Stephanie @ From the Burbs to the Boonies recently posted..Fels-Naptha laundry bar review, giveaway & poison ivy home remedy?My Profile

  5. Oh Jen, this post tugged at my heartstrings because I remember all the class parties and fun things I missed with my older kids. You’ve given some great suggestions.
    And this post is featured on this week’s Family Friday! I hope you’ll link up again this week.
    Missy Homemaker recently posted..Wellness Wednesday: I desperately need your helpMy Profile

    • Aww, how sweet! I won’t get to link up till after 2 pm because I work. Now, to figure out which one to pick :) Thanks again for having me co-host last week!


  1. […] from Making our life matter posted an oldie but goodie about Working Mothers and Holiday Guilt. SAHMs can understand this too as we often feel like we’re just not doing enough. Thank you […]

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