October 4, 2023

Struggling with being working mom

I had my first child just two years after marriage.  I was not sure what I was thinking, but I wanted a baby.

Our family business was just getting off the ground and there was a lot of pressure and stress to survive in the corporate world.  I worked up until the day I had my precious baby girl Brooke.

I then went on to have my second child—a boy– just 22 months later. I can remember just trying to survive as I had no sleep and at the same time having to work at my highest level.  I was 28 years old, a wife and mother of two immersed in the corporate world.  We had just started the university a few years earlier and I was needed.  At that time, we were in survival mode which made it easier to grasp since I basically had to work or starve to death.  I was growing as a leader and helping the family to improve our business along with learning to balance all this while being a working mom.

As a mother, I was having those feelings that all mothers feel when they are faced with two choices.  Either I stay at home and barely survive or I can go to work and be a working mom to help the family have a few more luxuries.  I had so many friends who were moms that chose to stay at home, which made me feel worse when I decided to work.

These feelings created a war inside of me.  I cannot deny there were days when I could barely get out of the daycare before I just lost it.  Sometimes, the kids would cry and not let go of my leg.  A teacher would have to pry them off of me so I could make a quick getaway.  As soon as I got to my car, I would burst into tears.

Like many of you, I wanted to provide for my family, so it took two incomes.  I can remember getting the kids to school and rushing to work.  Then, I would rush to pick them up before I was charged the extra fee after 5:30.  It took almost all my paycheck to just pay for the daycare.  When they finally got in school, I then would have to only pay for the after-school care.

Eventually, I would calm down after about an hour at work.  There were other moms at the university as well who felt the same as I did.  We cried and supported each other.

As a wife, well, I had it pretty good.  Since I was in a family business, my husband also worked in the college, so I saw him every day.  You might say that could be good and bad.  Well, you learn to stay in your lane and keep your focus on moving your business forward.  It works well with my family. We learn to deal with issues, air them out and get back on the vision.  My husband felt my pain and was a huge support throughout these past 18 years.  Having that family support makes all the difference in your survival.

I lived for the day when they were older and in high school.  They would be busy with their lives in sports and extracurricular activities and would not mind me working. Slowly, that guilty feeling of not being home started to go away at that point.

As I look back, I wished I could have gotten better control of my emotions and how I felt leaving the children because there was so much good that came from the experience.  My children were very outgoing and engaging with others.  They were not so fearful and made friends very quickly as they got older.  I know that came from the interaction with other children and teachers in those younger years.  Today, we talk about those days and laugh.  They understand why I needed to work and so we move on.

So, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or working mom, please realize there is no right or wrong here. It is something you have to deal with personally.

Whatever you do, just remember to follow your heart.  Take care of your responsibilities when you are at work and do the same with your family. Being a mom and wife are the most rewarding and fulfilling times of my life.  When I learned to enjoy where I was at the moment — whether with the kids and/or husband or at work– I finally felt at peace and all guilt subsided.

Some tips:

  • Learn to be in the now.  You can be a wonderful leader at work and a great mom at home.
  • Get rid of the guilt.  It only brings on more stress for you to deal with.
  • Give your kids the attention they need.  When at home, be at home.
  • It is OK to dream
  • Be the best mom, wife and leader.  Wherever your life leads you, blow it out of the water.


  1. Jeetendra Dash

    Hi Chantell,

    Greatly enjoyed reading the post! Sometimes it is so hard to think and plan life beyond what would be considered routine. By taking the hard decision wisely, you played a significant role in enriching the human civilization : creating and maintaining things that are considered beautiful– the end goal of human civilization. Does not those few drops of endeavor into the ocean of human civilization make a big difference and empower countless???

    Thanks for the empowering post,

    Best Regards,

    Dash, Jeetendra

    1. Chantell Cooley Post author

      Thank you for your encouraging post. It would be a dull life if you didn’t somehow give back. Changing lives through education is extremely rewarding. Have a great day!


  2. Rakia

    Hi Chantell! I love CSU. I believe that you are a good mom. I am glad that you father founded this university and you and your brother Robert Jr. co-founded and work to run it and manage it. It would really help out working mothers if CSU would pursue regional accreditation because several mothers are struggling to get better jobs and quit their jobs/working less to do something better with their lives. They want to go back and get a degree/certification that will be recognized. Regional accreditation is the Gold standard of education and most employers will only take a regionally accredited degree. It would also be helpful if CSU would register as non-profit since for-profit schools are less recognized and respected than for-profit schools. I love CSU, and this would help students out even more.

    1. Chantell Cooley Post author


      Thank you for your support and comments. I will make sure to pass your comments on to leadership. Have a great CSU Day!


      1. Annette McEachin

        I am a struggling single mother who had the years of guilt with my son. I also had many days of no sleep because he was sick often and there was no one else to care for him but me. With all of the struggles, I’ve become a much stronger person…I know I can get through anything.

        I’m looking for an accredited DBA program and am considering CSU. My research thus far indicates that CSU is DETC and CHEA accredited, so I’m not clear on what Rakia means by the post above. Is CSU nationally accredited?

        Also, wondering if there are any scholarships available for moms who want to make a difference…because that’s me!

  3. Walker

    Hi Chantell, I feel how happiness you were when you were describing this article. I absolutely agreed that it is really difficult to make decision to stay-at-home mom or working mom on this condition. You are right; nothing is right or wrong for selection. It depended on your own and family condition. Nobody can give you full direction, only some ideas are possible to provide from others. Since you made decision, do it the best. Staying with joyful is key factor. To see your kid keep growing up and keep positive thinking for all things shall be the best to do.

    1. Chantell Cooley Post author


      Thank you for your post. I can tell you can somewhat relate. Thank you again!