Does Being a Work at Home Mom Mean Your Children are Neglected?

Updated on: by Amy Kennedy

Work at Home ChildrenAs a work at home mom, many of us first decided to work from home for the sake of our children. We want to be there for every milestone, be the one instilling their values and help to create who they are. We chose not to hand over those responsibilities to a family member or a stranger at a daycare. We are work at home MOMS.

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But most of us did not realize just how often we would be left with feelings of guilt. We worry we do not spend enough time with our children. Are we neglecting our kids because we work from home? Or is that just another thing, as a mother, we carry as a burden- always worrying we could do better?

Jessica Weaver, a work at home mother of two, believes,

all mothers have what we like to call “mommy guilt.” It’s that nagging feeling we have all day…! Every day I wonder if I am doing something right. I think…am I better off taking them to daycare since I am not giving them my attention 100%. I nag at myself all day because I am trying to be the best mother possible but I am also trying to help bring in an income. I am a worrier by nature.”

Jessica’s view is probably pretty common of Work at Home Mothers. When I first began working from home I only worked when my daughter was napping or asleep for the night. Then, life changed, I had another baby and I began also working when my husband was home…things are always changing. Now my husband is gone a lot, my children are a bit older and I find myself working at all hours of the day…in spurts. I take advantage of every single time my children are busy or occupying themselves.

I realized recently, when I was concerned about my daily schedule being so erratic, that it is simply based on my children. They are my priority. However, I will admit there have been times I encourage them to watch a movie so I can get a little more work done. I am also no stranger to asking my kids to give me just a few more minutes so I can work just a little bit more.

If guilt comes nagging at your back- stop and evaluate your situation. If you find your kids are bored and constantly being pushed aside so you can work, maybe it is time to take a break and enjoy some time with them…they ARE the reason you are home anyway! But more likely than not you will probably be able to reassure yourself that you are simply balancing life.

I believe it is good for your children to have some alone time and be self-sufficient. Letting them fend for themselves, with guidance, is an important part of their growing up. But just as you find a balance between work-life and home-life, be sure to balance your one-on-one time with your children. They do still need your interaction and attention- no matter their age.

Nevertheless, here are some tips I feel can help take care of your kids while working at home:

  • Establish a routine: A routine brings structure to the day for both you and your children. It provides a predictable pattern for your children, which can be comforting and stabilizing for them. Having set times for meals, play, and nap or quiet time can give you predictable slots of time in which you can work. This structure also ensures that your children’s needs are being met and can reduce disruptions when you need to focus.
  • Set clear boundaries: Depending on the age of your children, it can be beneficial to set clear boundaries about when you are working. This could mean explaining to them that when the door to your office is closed, you should only be disturbed for important matters. For younger children, setting up a play area where they can safely explore and play while you work can be effective.
  • Use child care when needed: Even though you’re working from home, there will be times when you need to focus entirely on your work. Child care options such as a babysitter, a daycare, or even swapping playdates with other parents can provide periods of uninterrupted work time. This also allows your children to socialize with others, which is important for their development.
  • Keep kids engaged: If your children are engaged and occupied, they’re less likely to interrupt you. Use age-appropriate educational toys, crafts, and games, or consider educational websites and apps for older children. Rotate toys and activities to keep things fresh and interesting.
  • Break down your work: Working from home with kids around often means you won’t get large uninterrupted blocks of work time. If possible, break your tasks into smaller pieces. This way you can make progress during short periods of quiet or independent play.
  • Be flexible: Working from home with children requires flexibility. Some days might not go as planned due to a sick child or unexpected interruption. Being able to adapt your schedule or expectations on these days can reduce stress and keep you productive.
  • Practice self-care: As a parent and a professional, it’s easy to overlook your own needs. Make sure you allocate time for yourself to relax and engage in activities that you enjoy. Whether it’s reading, exercising, or simply enjoying a quiet cup of coffee, self-care activities can help you stay balanced and refreshed.
  • Seek support: Connect with other work-from-home parents who can relate to your experiences. They can offer advice, share strategies, and provide emotional support. Social media groups, local parenting groups, or work-at-home networks can be great resources.

Jessica Weaver reminded me that regardless of our choice to stay home or work outside of home, we would still carry guilt-

“When I was working full time I had mommy guilt and now that I am working at home I have mommy guilt. Whatever stage of life we are in- we will always have guilt. But it is our job to not let our kids see the worry in us. Someone BIGGER than ourselves wants us to let HIM do the worrying. After all…he created us and HE doesn’t have mommy guilt. My goal every day is to hand over my worries and frustrations because those burdens are too big for this mommy to carry on her own.”

How do you handle Work at Home Mom guilt? Does the guilt simply remind you to stop and enjoy the moment?

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June 24, 2011 at 10:44 am

I can really relate to this post … sometimes I lay awake at night worrying and fretting because I feel like I’ve somehow let my children down by not spending enough time with them and trying so hard to get work done. And I would feel the same way if I was leaving the house to go to work, that guilt is always going to be there. But my earning an income is important to them too for lots of reasons that they are too young to understand, so reminding myself of that fact does help — and even though a million interruptions per day while I am trying to work is stressful, I am grateful that I can be home with them. As they get older, working at home may get easier, but I also know that they’re only going to be this little one time — ever — and I need to treasure every moment as much as possible that I can.


June 24, 2011 at 10:55 am

We can always make ourselves crazy with guilt. Sometimes you have to sit back and evaluate the reality. Most people I know who are working from home are doing it to stay on budget and reach financial family goals. These are not selfish reasons.

That income can be earned at home where you are the primary person watching your child or at a B&M job where you need other people to watch your children while you meet the same income requirements (or realistically more to pay for the additional costs of working outside of the home.)

There is a huge difference between teaching kids to entertain themselves and neglecting them. If you can honestly say you’d be spending more time with them if you were working outside the home I think you need to evaluate the balance. If you really can demonstrate that you have flexiblity to spend time with your children then while it is not perfect, you are doing what you set out to do. Working from home is work and it does take time.


June 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm

This post really does hit home for me. It can be challenging to bring in the extra income your family needs but still give your children the attention they deserve. I recently put my youngest in preschool two days a week. She gets plenty of attention and play time with other kids and I have two days to really get work done. I still have to work on the days she is home with me but I am not as stressed.

Katie Jones

June 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Although I do not have children of my own, I can only imagine what “mommy guilt” feels like. My mom dealt with guilt all through my childhood, whether or not she was doing this right or that right. As she got older she finally started to realize that some thing are not her fault and she has no way to changing them. She was always here for my siblings and I and that’s all I ask for – her loving support.

Miranda is right – if you feel like you are putting work ahead of your children (or any other responsibilities) step back and look at your situation. A clear mind can maker better decisions rather than a cloudy one!


June 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I feel like i know the person that gave tips on this post. i feel exactly what she is feeling. 🙂


June 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

My boys are 11 and 13. Unfortunately, it does not get easier as they grow. It is easier to work but you also start to see that time with them slipping away. You realize that your years with them at home are limited. I think my mommy guilt increased as they got older. The good news is that it is a lot easier to spend quality time with them because it doesn’t take as much work to entertain them 🙂

Jess Weaver

June 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Seriously though. I am going thru a hard time with all of this but I know this is where I am supposed to be.

Kathy R

June 25, 2011 at 12:17 am

I struggle with this too. There are a couple of things that have worked for me that might help others as well. First, carve out mommy-child time every day…even if it’s just 30 minutes or so. My daughter and I are reading the Wizard of Oz right now, and we also do puzzle books together. We both look foward to the time together and after it’s done she’s happy to find something to keep herself entertained. Find something that you can do each day, whether it’s a book, a game, or coloring together for a few minutes. Kids love routine and if this is part of your daily routine they will relish that time. It will also help you feel a sense of balance that you took time to connect with your kids.

The other thing I do is pick something fun to do that you can use to put part of your WAHM money towards. Our thing is a trip to Disney each year. For you, it might be a weekend to a nearby city, or even just a fancy dinner out. Pick something, an experience preferrably, that you can share with your children and let them know that you are working so that you can make money for this goal. My daughter became my biggest cheerleader when she understood how me working also benefited her!

Hope that helps!

Miranda Grimm

June 25, 2011 at 8:44 am

Nice tips!! Thanks