Mom Guilt vs Teacher Guilt
Blog Posts,  Family

Mom Guilt vs Teacher Guilt

There are so many changes happening in my life right now… “Mom” choices I’ve needed to make… You know the kind; when your decision directly affects the life of your family in a way that goes beyond what the kids eat for breakfast. Its taken its toll on me, but I’ve had a few months to reflect on where I need want to be. Searching myself, figuring out what is important right now, and even confronting the sense of self-imposed guilt that comes with putting ‘self’ first.

Let me tell you the story…

We’ve been back in South Africa for just over a year and I haven’t been blogging that much. It’s been surprisingly difficult settling back into life here again. There has been so much going on, that I kind of stuck my head in the sand for a while.

So I decided to go back into teaching earlier this year. I wanted to dip my toes into the “water” to see if this is what I wanted to continue doing now that we’re back home. After 2 years at home with my kids, moving back from the States, and having a new baby, it was no easy feat.

I was lucky enough to locum at one of the most prestigious schools in South Africa. An incredible environment with the most amazing staff.

But, boy oh boy did I learn a few things about myself.

For one thing, I’m done teaching! (At least for the near future.) I’ve heard it said many times, by so many people. “Oh how lovely, you have a half day job”… All I am going to say on this topic is that, if you’ve never been in a classroom, you are CLUELESS! My blood boils when I hear that!

There are so many guilt feelings involved here, and I was inundated with them!


I would leave home and 6:00 am in the morning and sometimes only get home by 5:00 pm.  I was so exhausted from giving 100% of my time and energy to other people’s children that when I got home I had none left for my own. Spending my evenings marking and preparing lessons when I should be reading my children a bedtime story!


We all have our own work ethic. I literally work myself to the bone. Making sure all my deadlines are met and expectations exceeded. So much so, that my own children’s needs were falling by the wayside. I was forgetting about school functions, grocery shopping, and Dr’s appointments. All because WORK CAME FIRST. I’ve needed to sit back and re-evaluate what my priorities are.


This is seriously a bad word in my house. We have 5 kids. I have to work. There is no way around this, as most of you will be able to relate to. However, there are other ways to earn money and know that whilst your family is being provided for, they are also getting your time.


Is it really worth it? Enough said!


Teachers teach because they have a love for children. A passion to help them grow. Maybe not all teachers, unfortunately, but most are there to raise our future generation. However, I have gotten to the point in my life, where no amount of money and time is worth putting up with entitled and unkind parents. Now let me just add, that for the most part, I have had amazing parents in the classes that I have taught. But geesh. When people can be so irrational, rude and straightforward “grown-up” bullies. I’m done with it. I would rather spend my time cuddling and giving my own children what they need.

My children are my priority. Period! But I have also learned that we are never too old to try new things, step out of our comfort zone, and work this around for the betterment of ourselves and our children.

I am so excited about jumping into the deep end to do something new (bringing in money as well) and being able to be with my children.

I will miss being in the classroom, I won’t lie. I will miss all the hugs and happy children. I will miss educating the future.

But … right now, getting the chance to push my children on the swing in the afternoons, sitting at the dinner table as a family and discussing the day, and cuddling up and watching a movie with all these little bodies against me. This, this is where I am needed.

Who knows, maybe down the road, I won’t be able to resist picking up that red pen again.


  • Spirited Mama

    Never heard from a teacher’s perspective but I do think all jobs have there own pros and cons… A half day job is far from being glamourous. And you know I have the experience albeit not in teaching itself… Unfortunately, financial situations are not pro one income jobs in a family. Although, many people make this work for them.
    That being said, I made a huge career change 5 years ago and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to working full day in an office again. Salaries vs what I can give and have with my family now is priceless… Good on you for putting yourself and your family first. Sad that the world has “lost” a passionate teacher but that is an entirely different discussion…enjoy your family❤

  • Marishka

    My friend all we have to do is follow that voice but God never said it was going to be easy. I believe taking steps into the right direction is hard but eventually pays. I’m proud of you for doing what is right for you. You are an awesome mom!

  • Melissa Javan

    My dad started teaching in his late 40s and I hear him often being busy with marking at night. It sounds like a whole day long job, not half day. It’s hectic! All the best with your journey ahead.

  • MrsFF

    My mama was a teacher so I know it is a full time job!!! And I recall a friend also saying dealing with unkind parents and their entitled kids was the one thing she disliked most about teaching in a private school.

    Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions for the well-being of our family and what I know is that one way or another we make the finances work.

    Sad that the profession is losing a gem but your family needs you more

    Ps: we still have to meet up for tea/coffee

  • Sophie

    Oh I hear you! Anyone who hasn’t taught doesntcreally understand the pressure; especially in the school you describe. Paying parents expect blood don’t they?!? I am teaching full time again in sept and I’m not looking forward to it. Even though my own children are almost grown, it’s the commitment to other people’s children that is all encompassing. I hope you feel that one day you may go back to it. Xx

  • Tracey

    I started working as a teaching assistant when all my children were in primary school and it was perfect for me because I did literally start and finish at the same time as them but the teachers I worked with were in much earlier and later and always had so much work to take home with them. When I left to go to uni everyone assumed I was going into teaching but as much as I love working in a school it just seems too stressful! #globalblogging

    • One Messy Mama

      I agree, it sure is an all-encompassing profession! You either love it or hate! However, if you are working with children, if it’s not your passion one needs to think carefully if you are doing more harm that good! xx

  • Veronica Lee

    I come from a family of teachers: my dad, aunts, uncles and sisters. And from both sides of the family too!
    A teacher is a very noble profession. I personally feel teaching is a vocation, not just a job that puts food on the table.


  • Poe

    I feel you. I struggle every day at work. I love being able to help others in need, as I do, but I cannot stand being away from my son. I know he needs me to and it just feels like he is not priority when I work so much. This is one the key reasons I started blogging. I really want to be here more for my son and I feel like I am missing out on so many important things. Hopefully, it all pays off in the end, eh?

    Thanks for hosting! #globalblogging

  • Laurie

    I was a teacher for over 30 years. I can definitely sympathize with your comments about the long hours teachers work with very little recognition. When my children were young, it was very tough, but as they got older, my workdays were the kids’ school days, so that made life easier. I can distinctly remember getting to school by 6:45 a.m., leaving at 6:00 p.m., eating dinner, then grading papers until I fell asleep. And getting up the next day to do it all over again!

    Have fun with your children!

    • One Messy Mama

      Wow! It feels good to know that I am not alone and that many other teachers are experiencing the exact same thing. Thank you for your comment! I am enjoying every minute of being able to be with my children when they need me! x

  • ruth cartwright

    I went back to teaching full time after my first but soon realised I couldn’t cope with being a mum and a teacher. I’ve dropped to two days now and I am much happier. Yet school still expects you to do as much as the full time staff! #globalblogging

  • Clare

    Good luck with finding something else where you can use your skills and still have chance to enjoy quality time with your children – it certainly is a tough decision to make and a hard find a good balance. #KCACOLS

  • Becky @ Educating Roversi

    Ah i can identify with this so much! I resigned from my teaching role a few months ago while I’m on maternity leave. It’s definitely the right decision for me and us as a family and I feel a huge relief from it. I don’t think teaching is a family friendly job. #KCACOLS

  • Nick Holland

    My wife is a teacher, and we always get interesting stories around parent teacher interview time of year. Let’s just say kids normally take after their parents, especially the bad ones #globalblogging

  • Daydreams of a mum

    Huge decision!! So hard to get that balance right isn’t it ? Huge admiration for you though for realising you were getting too sucked in to the work side of life . Best of luck with what you do next!!! #globalblogging

  • Heather Keet

    I think making a decision now to stop teaching is perfect because it fits what you and your family need to feel happy. Like you said, you can go back to it in the future, nothing is permanent. I admire all the teachers in the world, like my previous daycare profession, there is so little appreciation for the very hard job we do. Even the most grateful parents can have difficulty comprehending the time and energy. #GlobalBlogging

  • Carol Cameleon

    Any kind of work can be tough as a working mum but teaching sounds like it’s a whole new level. I never once assume that teachers leave school and put their feet up. Big respect to you all and it does sound like it’s in your heart so maybe when your children grow up, you’ll return. Until then, enjoy your family. #kcacols

  • shan

    I’m an ex teacher too so I feel your pain with this post! Maybe, like me your heart will take you places with your writing you never ever imagined #KCACOLS

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