FTWM: Guilty as charged

On the day a group of us decided to each do a post on our lives as FTWM (that's Full Time Working Mom in case you are wondering), I was close to tears at my desk. 
It was already 5pm and the prospect of me NOT taking work home for the 4th time in the week was bleak. 
The very same evening, J's IFC teacher asked me whether I was expecting my number 2 because J's recent behaviour in school suggested he may be slightly neglected or may need to share the attention he is getting from us with another. My heart broke. 
Last night, J refused to let me feed him...he screamed when I came close to him and threw a hissy fit. On the other hand, he sat quietly and allowed my mil to feed him. I felt helpless. 
These, and many other instances, make me question myself time and again if I am not doing enough to love and nurture this precious gift. There were times when I felt angry with myself for not being there for J. The time he first started to crawl, the time he fell and knocked his head...
Can you see the "baluku" on his head?
When the clock strikes 5 pm each day, and there's still work to be done, or I'm still in a meeting that never seems to end, panic sets in as I need to make sure J is picked up from IFC on time.

While the choice to be a FTWM was a conscious one, because I needed my daily dose of adult conversations; To many, it is also because of the need to provide a comfortable life for the family  that prompts them to continue working.

In bid to get Singaporeans to pro-create, the government dished out the not-so new parenthood package which in my view is not sufficient to take the guilt away from a working mother. In fact, the natural maternal instinct to protect and nurture is something we cannot put a value to.

The daily juggling act needs companies in Singapore to recognise that mothers make up an important lot in the workforce, but when faced with the decision to have kids or work or both , the support we get is very important. 

I am fortunate that my mother and mil are ever willing to lend a helping hand if my schedule gets a bit out of whack. But, I cannot emphasize enough how I rather be the first person J sees at the end of his day in IFC. Whenever I get a bit of spare time here and there, J will be priority before I think about everything else I need to do. So in a typical day, the moment I knock off, I practically cannot do anything else until J goes to bed and that includes only doing the cleaning & laundry at 9 pm, finishing the work I bring home till way past midnight, and having my daily chats with the man only during our train rides to the office.

While the situation is not ideal for me, and I wish for better working arrangements so I can be more involved in J's development...the funny thing is, the constant guilt is making me more conscious of how I spend my time and that J benefits from it all.

I love to work... and I still dream about being that supermom who has an amazing career, a brood of well behaved kids, a successful, loving man and a well kept home. So as I continue working towards that (although prospects seem quite remote in the near future), there are more sacrifices to make along the way. I don't ever think I can make it as a SAHM as it will drive me absolutely nuts. So, SAHMs... you all have my respect.  But, my ideal state would be to do what I enjoy, that defines me for who I am, yet be there for J when he needs me. 

So at this moment, I plead guilty to all charges of not doing enough for the boy. I also plead guilty to not spending enough time with the man, and my parents, and my friends, and myself as I find my way to that ideal state. 

To read more about FTWMs who share their side of the story, hop over to SANses to read more: 
SANses.com's FTWM Motherhood Madness!
Also linking up with MummyMoo as I share my thoughts today: 


  1. I totally feel you :(

    I had the same moments as the boy was growing up as well... and we didn't have the luxury of bringing him home daily because we didn't have a car then, and my in laws stay in the East, while we stay in the West.

    Heart breaking moments when he started to reject his parents, and sought comfort in other familiar faces instead.

    We then decided that despite working, we have to find a way to make sure that we spend what time we have with the boy. We finish work late, and by the time we pick him up, it will be past 8 - and yet - it had to be done, because it was the only way I knew how to deal with things.

    I couldn't live with myself knowing that my son is growing up almost completely without me. And that he doesn't need me.

    So we cut corners, got a car, primarily to ferry him around. We send him to my in laws and bring him home daily, no matter how late it is. It doesn't matter that he's asleep, as long as he's next to me.

    He got used to it. He sleeps later, and wakes up later. He hugs me, and looks forward to his parents coming to pick him up. He waits for us by the window, every single evening.

    We work around things, Shermeen... but I won't let you say that you are not doing enough for J. You are his Mum, and you have a bond with him that can never be broken. I'm sure you do what you can to always always be there for him, work notwithstanding. To me, you are not guilty of not doing enough or not giving him enough attention. You are just guilty of being a Mum who loves her son, and wants to do more for him because of that. :)

    1. Hi Regina,

      I just realised your comment went into my spam box!
      Thanks so much for the long comment and encouragement. It really helps to know that I am not alone, and that I will eventually find the best workaround.

      By the way... i always love looking at pictures of C! Lovely boy!

  2. I am with you on your charge! Haha.. but don't be too hard on yourself too.

  3. Hello Qiuxian, thanks for ur comment. I think whether we are sahms or ftwms... we will at some point feel guilty for one thing or another.

  4. Meen, how you're feeling is perfectly understandable, so don't let that guilt keep you feeling down. It will take a while to adjust especially with the new job. Know that you've done your best as a mom. Personally, I've had my ups and downs and thoughts when I think of staying home but I doubt it's really for me as I enjoy what I do and the support from hubby and parents and in laws is there too. I'm sure that J will know the sacrifices you made too.

    1. Susan, thanks for the encouragement. Yes.. it is hard.. and seemingly getting harder, although I keep telling myself we will get there.

      Same... staying at home will drive me nutz... took a day to work from home just two days back... and I almost died. :p

      Hope that back of yours have been good to you. :)

  5. Hello! I can finally leave a comment now that I have my laptop. Can't seem to leave comments on blogger websites using my mobile phone.

    I think we all face the same struggles as FTWMs, so please don't be too hard on yourself. The only thing we can do is to spend quality time with our kid after work/during weekends and to show him/her lots of TLC then! I think it would also help to explain to your kid why you have to work. I remember my mum doing that and somehow, even though I was very young then, I understood. I'm sure J will understand too.

    Hang in there!

    1. Thanks Zee! I think the good thing for me is.. J loves IFC a lot. So, I know he is enjoying himself while I am at work. Makes me look forward to the end of each day!

  6. No guilt, no guilt Shermeen! The little ones still fall and hurt themselves even when we are looking and hovering next to them, no matter how committed a mom, we can't be there to catch them when they fall all the time.

    1. Thanks Rachel! I realised that as well... especially with boys. He enjoys knocking his head on walls as well! Don't know what's with that. :)

  7. Hey don't be too hard on yourself! We live in a world (and especially in Singapore) where we cannot have everything we want. It is about finding the right balance that would keep the people that matter in our lives happy. All the best!

    1. Yup... agree! It is always about keeping a good balance between work and family. :) Thanks for dropping by Darren!


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