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March 11th, 2013
05:03 PM ET

Is guilt holding back working moms?

By Barbara Hall, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Feeling guilty is universal among working mothers says New Jersey therapist Karen Kleiman. She's the founder of The Postpartum Stress Center and counsels a lot of new mothers who are going back to work:

[1:13] "They feel guilty primarily leaving their baby or their child with somebody else to love them," she says.

That's just the beginning. Working mothers feel guilty about a whole host of things, from not cooking enough homemade dinners to missing milestones like their baby's first step. Parent guilt is apparently unique to women:

[2:25] "Women struggle a lot more with guilt than men," says Julie Hanks, a therapist in Salt Lake City.  Men, she says,  feel more responsible for providing and less responsible for household work and child rearing. Fathers just don't feel as guilty as mothers, she says. 

At times guilt can keep women from advancing in their careers, says Susan Wenner Jackson. She's the co-founder of the blog workingmomsagainstguilt.com:

[3:32]  "There's some important client happy hour and you know if you go that you have a potential to win a really big account, but you feel guilty that you won't be home for when your kids get home from school so you skip it, and you do things like that frequently, that could hurt you in the workplace," says Wenner Jackson.

There may not be a formula to get rid of this guilt, but therapists and scientists say mothers who work can take solace in the fact that, for the most part, the kids of working mothers turn out just fine.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. michael t

    People dying in Afghanistan, Syria and goodness knows where else
    And we have Working Moms Against Guilt
    Its self inflicted guilt

    Priceless !!1

    March 13, 2013 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. michael t

    Well, if you want children and a career you are making your own choice... If you feel guilty about the balance of your life, as I say, it,s your choice
    Move on, or stop walking the fence

    March 13, 2013 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Susan Wenner Jackson - Working Moms Against Guilt

    Thank you for bringing attention to this important issue. I was proud to contribute my opinions to your story!

    March 12, 2013 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |