Sioux's blog: The Mum Guilt is Real

clock Released On 16 January 2024

Sioux's blog: The Mum Guilt is Real

I recently returned to work after 10 months’ of maternity leave and I’ll be honest, it’s been a tumultuous time. Whilst I was off my company merged with another so I left employed by one organisation and returned employed by a different organisation. And more than just the name had changed. People I knew and messaged to triumphantly declare I was back at work had out of office messages saying they were no longer working here or that they were on their way out the door. It was disconcerting and nerve-wracking to return to such a drastically different environment. And, to add to the unsettled feeling, I was trying to manage my own feelings of guilt for putting my baby boy into nursery and (it felt like) giving over responsibility for raising him to other women. 

My return to work didn’t quite go to plan either, catching meningitis and being hospitalised the weekend before I was due to return, I felt such guilt as I messaged my new line manager to explain I wouldn’t be coming in on Monday as I was, in fact, in hospital on various drips and observations. That was also the longest time I’d spent away from my son, suddenly unable to see him for 3 days and 3 nights and surviving off FaceTime calls that left me crying as I felt such misery from being separated from him. 

Thankfully, I was able to return to work a week later than scheduled and for the first few days, we established a new routine and, as a family, we embarked on this new stage of our lives as working parents, juggling deadlines with nursery pick up slots and the minefield of asking for flexible working arrangements. 

What we hadn’t banked on, or planned for, was just how many coughs, colds, bugs, infections and illnesses that Arthur would pick up in his new environment. This is where the mum guilt really started to kick in. Trying to juggle a sick 10 month old who has been sent home from nursery with a full time job that needs you to be on calls, in meetings, in London, present at your work station was really tricky. I felt guilty because I wasn’t giving my all to work and I felt guilty because I wasn’t giving Arthur all the attention he so desperately deserved with his rosy red cheeks, haunting cough and weak smile as he tried to be brave whilst still being so poorly.

So yeah, the mum guilt was real, is real, will continue to be real but I have to just console myself that I am doing the best I can. Arthur will now always be my priority but that doesn't mean I can’t also do my work and achieve what I want in my career too – I just might wait for the dust to settle on this new life we’re establishing before I go for that next big promotion!


Sioux lives in a village outside Milton Keynes with her husband, young son, 3 cats and 2 dogs. When not managing the chaos of home, she works for a large housing association looking after health, wellbeing and engagement.


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