The Guilt of Having to Work and Not Stay Home to Raise Your Child With Special Needs

The Guilt of Having to Work and Not Stay Home to Raise Your Child With Special Needs - - -
3 min read

Guilt is an overpowering feeling.

For years I felt guilty because I had to work and was unable to stay home with my son. I was 19 years-old when Nate was born and within a year after having him, I went to work part-time. By the time Nate was 4 years of age, I was a single mother, with the obligation of supporting my child. Taking government assistance to raise Nate was something I never wanted to do. Not working was not an option for me.

My first job after having Nate was working for a government housing agency. I would sit at my little cubicle thinking about my son, and wishing that I was home with him. The need to be with Nate ached my soul, as I thought about all that I was missing.

Working caused me to miss his daytime occupational therapy, vision therapy, and hearing therapy sessions.  I felt horrible that I was absent during that time and unable to see Nate’s growth milestones.

The guilt was compounded even more when Nate began to have behavior problems. I felt horrible that I could not be there to help him. Every phone call about Nate’s behavior, from his teacher, school counselor, and school psychologist made me feel like an awful mother. I cried so many nights, wishing that I could quit my job and keep my child home so that I could spend my days locating resources to stop his unwanted behaviors.

For the majority of my life, while raising Nate, I struggled with that guilt. I hated myself for working and for going to school, to obtain a career which I hoped would give Nate and I a better life.

I will tell you, that to this day, I still suffer from some feelings of guilt. I have my moments where I wonder if I stayed home, and were more involved in Nate’s care, would life be different. Would my son be farther along in his development? Would Nate had moved to a residential facility? Could Nate have possibly stayed home with me so that I could care for him?

Hummmm, I will never know!

However, what I do know is that during those years my heart was in the right place for my child. I wanted what was best for him and I did my absolute best.

What I also know is that God allowed me to go in that direction. If it was meant for me to stay home with Nate, God would have provided, however, He allowed me to work.  So, I am learning to stop feeling guilty for not being a stay-at-home mom, but to be grateful for the opportunity to work and provide for my son. - -


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  1. 1

    You did and are doing your best. I can see your dedication to Nate when writing about him. Most of us are not independently wealthy so we must work. However I do understand the feelings of guilt. Since I must work most holidays I feel bad that I cannot spend those holidays with Stephen. But I need the money. New York is expensive and unless I suddenly become rich I must hang onto my job until deliverance arrives.

  2. 3
    Margaret from soulfood101blog

    I feel your pain on this one. I know you are a great mom BECAUSE you feel that guilt. I too had to work full time, well, more than full time, 7 days a week to provide a roof and food. My son is 28 and I still feel guilty about all the time I worked, and couldn’t be there with him. It is getting better as time goes by but guilt is a nagging creature. God Bless you 🙂

  3. 6

    In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to choose between being a worker and being a mom. Since we live in this one, we will always feel the ache. Clearly, despite the barriers, you formed a tight bond with your son.

    • 7

      Yes in a perfect world, I would be able to stay home like June Cleaver and care for my son. Yet, as you said, God allowed us to grow a tight bond despite the barriers. 🙂

  4. 8

    I can tell you love your son so much. That’s a true mom’s heart and that is more important than staying at home with him.
    You did what you had to do. Am proud of you.
    God bless you& may He fulfill all desires of your heart.

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