Melissa McCarthy: I’m Plagued by Working-Mom Guilt

06/06/2013 at 07:00 PM ET

Melissa McCarthy Sandra Bullock Working-Mom Guilt
Courtesy PARADE

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock are not just costars, but friends who bonded over the anxieties of being moms with jobs outside the home.

“I don’t know if I feel like a bad mom, but at the end of the day I’m always plagued with: Did I do enough? Should I go in a different direction?” Bullock,Β mother of 3-year-old son Louis, tells Sunday’s Parade magazine. “But I also know that my entire life revolves around Louis.”

Adds McCarthy, who is mom to daughters Vivian, 6, and Georgette, 3: “It plagues me. I feel intensely guilty for working … You have to be able to provide for your kids. But I feel like it’s a weird modern phenomenon that you always feel guilty for it.”

Needless to say the two stars of the upcoming buddy comedy The Heat had plenty to talk about on set .

“Having kids connected us on a deeper level,” says Bullock. “And the things we’re obsessed with outside of being a mom are the same, too: construction and house renovation … We’re kindred spirits in that world. If we had a beer den, with Barcaloungers — but our version of that — it’d be great.”

“There’d be fabric swatches everywhere,” adds McCarthy. “And reclaimed wood.”

— Mike Fleeman

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Showing 68 comments

EmmaWasHere on

So candid and honest. Love those ladies!!

Anonymous on

Melissa has a comedic gift to share with the world. I adore her.

a on

I’m so excited to see this movie! I love Melissa and Sandra! Definitely two of the funniest women out there! πŸ™‚

lowakay on

I love these 2 genuine women. And yes, working mother’s guilt is the female plague of our time! but we can’t go back to domesticity now!

Leah on

I understand that guilty feeling but when it comes down to it, women can work and still spend plenty of quality time with their children. I’m not minimizing women who choose to stay home, but working is just as valid of a choice. Now that I’m in my 30s and enjoy working, I wish I could talk with my mother about it but it’s foreign to her as she never worked. I know she sacrificed a lot to stay home with us, but there’s a small part of me that wishes she would have worked at least part time.

Charli Mabriel on

Why Leah?

Guest with 3 Names on

I remember a quote long ago from Katy Sagal (Married with Children fame), “A good mom is a happy mom”. I was raised by a happy mom who went back to work full time when i was three. These two woman have nothing to feel guilty about.

Kate on

What I find a little out of touch about this was when Bullock said, ” . . . you have to provide for your kids.” She is worth about 8 million dollars. She does NOT have to work to provide for her child like other mothers and does so for fun and for her own self fulfillment, which is fine, but let’s not make it out to be more than that.

Susan on

Woah, what they say about having fat friends to make you look thin is soooo true. Holy cow, pun intended.

MR on

I want you as a friend Susan I would look sophisticated and extremely smart. Your comment was rude and uncalled for.

mferda on

What a hurtful awful comment Susan. Do you spend your whole life with this attitude or are you having a bad day? Hoping the latter.

Janet on

Go to hell Susan.

S on

I love these two women!!! Not only terrific actresses, but overall 100% class acts!

julia on

Being obese is her decision but why, of why does she have to dress like a fat slob. Why not dress to enhance her curves and beauty. Instead she looks like a slob.

Guest on

Well join the crowd, most working moms feel the guilt of working.

Laine on

Love these two!!

Michelle on

I love both of these actresses even more. I too feel this burden everyday, but Melissa said it the best, I have to provide for my family.

Lb on

Love both of them!

Jessica on

Wow the absolute ignorant comments about Melissa’s weight! You two are disgusting!!! These two ladies I think are amazing. Great actresses and I love how candid and honest they are. And I think they are both beautiful in their own ways.

Charli Mabriel on

My personal opinion is that the mom doesn’t have to be the one but one parent needs to stay home. I don’t understand the sacrifice argument.

To the moms that work: what do you feel like you’re giving up to stay home? (Of course I’m talking to the moms that choose to work, I understand some woman have to work).

Cynthia on

I’m a mother who doesn’t have to work, but I choose to work. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 18 months old because I wanted to be there to hear her first word, and watch her take her first steps. When I decided to go back to work, I felt guilty because I felt like I was sacrificing time I could be spending with her that i would never get back, but my daughter learned so much being in day care just by interacting and socializing with other children. She loved going and it made me feel better knowing she enjoyed it.

I chose to work because if something ever happened to my husband, how would I provide for my daughter? I have friends with degrees who cant even get a job because they havent worked in over five years. My mom was a working mother and seeing her work hard while growing up taught me how capable any working mom can be. Are there days that I feel guilty? Absolutely. I have good days and bad days like anybody else, but I choose to work because in the long run I believe this is the best decision for my family and my husband completely supports me.

I feel like stay at home moms criticize working moms for choosing to head back to the workforce just as much as working moms criticize mothers who choose to stay home with their children. All families are different and I feel like its time to stop criticizing one another and start supporting each other.

lex on

Wow, Susan.. you’re a bitch!

Ellie on

I agree. Susan is a bitch. Super nasty. I guess Melissa McCarthy is not as worthy as you!

kB on

Charli- I don’t think that one parent needs to be home for things to work- I do think that one parent has to have a flexible job though. I work because I need to , but even if I didn’t I would not be comfortable being completely out of the workforce , developing no skills, for 18+ years. What if your husband leaves you? What if he is disabled and can’t work? I work in HR/Hiring and its very very tough to get hired if you have been out of the workforce for 4 years, let alone a decade or two. My position is flexible, I have not and will not ever miss a school graduation, meeting, party, or anything that my children have. I also have the flex to be home with my kids by 4:15 every day. They are both so intelligent and well adjusted due to daycare, and have a great relationship with both parents. So please don’t judge parents who choose or need to work.

Gal Capone on

Being worth 8 million dollars doesn’t mean she never has to work again. She has to keep an income flow. Obviously.

The Kitchen Witch on

The thing about a beer den, but with fabric swatches and reclaimed wood made me laugh out loud. Thx, Melissa.

Charli Mabriel on

I wasn’t judging kB (I support all women & their choices). I was stating my personal opinion and asking other working moms that choose to work what they feel like they’re giving up. Since you need to work, you needn’t & didn’t answer my question.

Happyworkingmama on

As a working mother of two little kids, i feel the guilt of not being there from 8-5 every day so I can do my part to provide for our family. I agree with the other poster that kids who are in daycare ( especially quality daycares) are well adjusted and well rounded socially for having a world outside of home earlier. I treasure the time I have with my kids and I compartmentalize- work hard and leave it at work. What I get out of working is personal fulfillment, stimulation of interacting with adults and the satisfaction of a job well done and in my small part contributes something to society.

What??? on

Neither one has to work considering they make more in one movie then most of us will make working for years! They could easily downsize and be home with their kids if they wanted to. They choose not to, which is fine, but it’s still their choice. Most of us don’t have that luxury.

Lisa on

How did weight even come into this discussion?! These are 2 highly successful women struggling with a common feeling of every working mom today. Kudos to them for being honest about the guilt we all share from Main Street to Hollywood!

Sandy on

working mom guilt? yeah, but selfishly you continue to do so.

my believe is the you, as a mother or father, should give the first FIVE years to you child. Give up a little and be there for those most important years. Guess what- it goes by in a flash!! You will have many years to “work” for your career. Once those years are gone- you will never get them back!!!

Happyworkingmama on

5 years home to each kid Sandy? And what go back to the workforce in 10-15 years and be employable? Yeah right! I do “have” to work to keep our house and pay or bills but even if I didn’t doing something to contribute is important to me as is using my degrees. And I think being a working parent who juggles it all is a good example for my kids, especially my daughter.

Cheryl on

The world is an expensive place and many have no way of consolidating to one income, no matter how many coupons you clip, Sandy. If I had waited until we could save up enough to live off of one income for five years, I would have given birth in my late 30s. Does that make me selfish? Being a working mother of two, I have my good and bad days. At the end of the day, we’re able to provide a nice safe home for our children, good healthy food to eat, money in their college funds and our undivided attention when we’re together.

Marky on

This movie looks as if it going to be sooo funny. Can’t wait to see it! What a pairing–Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy?! The ads are hysterical. As far as working goes(?) they want to work, so they do, but neither is even middle-class, so to say “you have to support your child” then work all the time is sort of more than is needed to support their children. on the other hand, If they want to work, it’s their choice, and no one else’s to judge.

maryhelenc on

I hate that moms feel damned if you do and damned if you don’t. SAHM’s are considered lazy, and working moms don’t love their kids enough and there is always guilt. I think we all need to appreciate that every home and every mom is different and embrace that we’re doing what we can for our kids.

Lexi on

To those who are criticizing Melissa’s weight-

She has done interviews where she addresses her weight- she says she eats right, exercises, does all the right things, but for some reason stays the weight she is. She’s not a person who sits around all day eating potato chips- therefore, there’s no reason to be rude, it’s not her “decision.”

Her weight is as much her decision as being Arabic is mine. She can’t help it, even if she tried/wanted to.

liz on

If mom’s are financially able to stay home and take care of their children, then they should. If they HAVE to work, then I understand. I’m so sick of all these wealthy celebrities saying how “guilty” they feel about leaving their children while they work. Well, they SHOULD feel guilty. They gave birth to them, they should be raising them. Why women have children and then let “others” raise them, is beyond me. Sad actually.

Isabel on

Cynthia, I agree wholeheartedly.

I work because I thoroughly enjoy my career and get to help others in the process. It gives me a sense of personal fulfillment and makes me a happier person which, in turn, makes me a better mother to my children.

Regardless, each parent has to do what’s best for his or her family and while for some, that may mean staying at home, for others, it involves working. Either way, stay at home parents aren’t better ones than those that work outside of the home and vice versa.

Lauren on

Let me guess Sandy– you don’t have a career or anything that defines you outside of “being a mommy”? Your comment belies an ignorance that only a high school educated, no job skills having stay at home mom would be spouting to justify their life choices.

Please tell me I’m wrong, that you have an engineering degree from MIT and left the workforce for five years to be with your precious children.

Cari on

Does guilt come with doing the right thing? Maybe if you feel guilty it’s because deep down you know you need to be doing something else. I wonder why women choose to have kids and then have someone else watch them all day long for them. It’s such a weird concept to me. I couldn’t in a million years take my sweet little angels and drop them off at a daycare. I would be sick to my stomach. Those little munchkins were brought into this world for ME to raise. Not a babysitter. Not a nanny. Not a grandma.

MommytoanE on

Wow. So many negative Nancy’s out there. I hope none of you have kids. Poor things will be ridden with guilt and hatred for theirselves as negative as you are.
I adore these two ladies. I think they are funny, and honest. Being a mom is hard…being a working mom is hard, as is being a stay at home mom. But what others said about a happy mom being a good mom is soo true. Happiness is about balance. Guilt often comes with it no matter how balanced your life is. Life wasn’t ment to be easy, it was ment to have challenges and its ups and downs. Otherwise why would they call it life?

Lori on

Garrrr – Melissa. Just when I was thinking she was so cool and all. She comes up with this?

Hey hon – you are a elite one percenter. Not one of us. You don’t HAVE to work another day in your life IF staying at home and being there for your kids is so important to you and all.

Shutter it, Melissa. We little people are not “buying” any of your insincere angst. Take a few years off and be with your kids. What the heck – you got choices hon. YOU don’t have to work – at all.

verifiable on

she should feel guilty for leaving children in order to make execrable films such as that crap with Jason Bateman. When her daughters see that they will think it’s FUNNY for a woman to slug a many in the face. If a man does that, it’s battery and he is arrested and the woman is supposed to (hello Rihanna) leave him. Such hypocrisy, such a vile double standard. I cringe to see women slugging and punching and slapping (it’s always soooo funny, not) and it just doesn’t STOP. Why doesn’t anyone take a stand on this issue? It’s disgusting.

and yes, McCarthy is fat. Some people said it, and it’s true, and McCarthy knows it. Feel bad about it, Melissa, but feel worse about work that is humiliating and lowbrow. You are really really talented but man oh man. It would be lovely if you didn’t have to be funny based on humiliating yourself (Chris Farley and Jackie Gleason come to mind, as does Louie Anderson). Mike and Molly was supposed to be about people losing weight together: oops!

Marky on

Cynthia, you have made your choice, but you do need to realize that not every child is happy in daycare, and not every woman has a hard time resuming her career if she chooses to stay home for several years. My first child was “okay” in daycare, but because of chronic illness, I had to miss quite a bit of work, or my husband did. I was a nurse, so that wasn’t always easy to do. My husband’s work was critical at times, so he couldn’t always stay home, either, and we had no family in town. My sister’s son hated daycare, though his DC center was lovely, with really nice people working there. After 3 years of misery for him, she stopped working her high level accounting job, and stayed home until he was about 10, when she started an lower-level job, and when she felt it was appropriate for her child, she chose to move up to a high level accounting job again. She never regretted that time spent with her child, who is an amazing young adult, happily married and extremely well-adjusted and well-educated, and she’s had the dream job she has loved. There is another side to think about; some kids love daycare, or have grandparents nearby to spend the day with, but not all children love daycare, and not all grandparents want to spend their later years doing free babysitting instead of traveling or having fun with each other. As long as you are sensitive to your child’s needs, do what works for your family.

verifiable on

way too much makeup on both their faces. ick

hector on

I would be feeling guilty about my obesity, not working outside the home if I were Melissa M…she is setting a horrible example for her daughters.

AnnieGetYourGum on

Theirs seems like a genuine friendship between two authentic people. What’s not to celebrate about strong women who care about doing right by their children while pursuing careers they enjoy? Never a whisper of scandal about either one; they seem to live private, out-of-spotlight lives, and that’s admirable.

As for the idiocy, bigotry, and lack of intelligence shown by Susan and Julia, there will always be narrow-minded morons looking to mock others. Pesky flies.

Diane on

Sandra told People magazine back in 2004 that if she ever had children, not only would she never work again, you would never even see her on the cover of a magazine again!

Anonymous on

Sandy- Not everyone has that luxury. Plenty of parents would LOVE to stay home for the first five years of their child’s life, but they can’t because they HAVE to work in order to put food in their childrens’ bellies and clothes on their backs!

The last thing they need is for us to make them feel even guiltier than they probably already do!

don444 on

Heroes to vapid soccer moms everywhere. Not hating, whatever, good for them. Plagued by working-mom guilt, huh? Perhaps, but her internal organs are likely plagued by her obesity a whole lot more.

don444 on

Too chickenshit to post my comment? Not surprised.


Love them both πŸ™‚

Lis on

I can appreciate the sentiment behind this, but as a happy working mom of two happy kids, I am excited for this same idea to be talked about in different terms. We don’t ask dads this question. ANY parents (dad or mom) also doesn’t have to have guilt unless you are truly leading an imbalanced life and not spending enough time to connect with your family in the way it needs (everyone’s circumstances are different). I ADORE my children and understand the idea behind this, but this question feels more and more like an old school way of talking about this concept.

Charli Mabriel on

Cynthia, thank you. Your response makes a lot of sense & it’s nice to hear from a working mom who doesn’t judge SAHM’s. I like your point about providing if god forbid, something happened to your husband – I’m knocking on wood right now πŸ™‚ I also think that our own moms can shape us, as yours did you – my mom is a nurse and worked PT & my dad watched us, so for me, I always wanted that for my kids. I am very lucky I can stay home & appreciate my husband every day. I loved my pre-mom job (had my own home, good $) but I don’t miss it even a little bit now. I agree we need to be nicer to each other, you never hear men ripping each other apart. Being a mom is the best!

Terri on

Love both of these ladies and cannot wait to see “The Heat”

Sarah S. on

They’re so awesome and funny individually–it’s no wonder they bonded! πŸ™‚

SLA on

Melissa ‘is’ & ‘dresses like a fat slob’….really?! Those who said that are nasty. Like to see your slender & stylish figures. On second thought, scratch that.

Why always comment about women this way? If it were an overweight man, nobody would be saying that.

Tanya on

I love both of those ladies, Its good to know that even well off women have the same fears that normal ones do. I can’t wait to see the movie.

AmandaC on

As a mother you always feel you could do more, when you probably did more than was even needed. It’s just the nature of being a parent πŸ™‚

Sarah on

I can totally relate to the working mom guilt. I’m a single parent who has two work or two quit and expect the government to take care of my daughter and I. I opted for the first option. My daughter at the age of 5 1/2 understands that mummy has to work in order to provide for her. She’s taken care of by my parents while I’m working. I would love to be able to have the luxury of being a stay at home mom. Not putting them down as my mum choose to be a stay at home mom till we were old enough to take care of ourselves. Granted stay at home moms still have chores and errands to do but us working single parents who get zero help from the fathers have a tougher time and we sometimes miss out on our child or childs firsts. Grantes these two lovely ladies are able to give their child/children their hearts desires, they are still teaching them you have to work hard to make it in this world no matter,what your occupation may be.

Charli Mabriel on

Sarah, I’m teaching my children that we are all equal, no one is better or less than anyone else. I find it insulting that you have taken my job and reduced it to chores & errands. I can only imagine what you think of the “work” your parents (who I’m sure would rather be having fun than taking care of a little one while their oh-so overworked mom has the leisure time to give her opinion on this blog) are doing for YOUR child. Lastly, the fact that you even considered living off of gov’t speaks volumes.

Paula on

Wow, like they don’t have enough money to stay home with their children

Anonymous on

Lexi- Really? That makes the horrid comments people were saying about her weight even worse! Some people are just naturally large, and she sounds like one of those people.

Also, I wonder if she’s ever been checked for hypothyrodisim? It slows down your metabolism quite a bit, and therefore often leads to weight gain/retention if left untreated.

Anonymous on

Diane- People change their minds sometimes. Also, considering the fact that she was married to Jesse James at the time, I highly doubt she was anticipating being a single mother (and therefore the only provider for her child)!

Marky on

Charli, rather than being angry with Sarah, think for a minute about what she seems to actually be saying. She seems to be saying that as a single mom, whose ex is not supporting his child, she can work to support her child, or she can turn to the government to help support her child. That doesn’t mean she has seriously considered the option of gov’t help.

As a former DHS worker, let me say that depending on the state, she might receive a payment from AFDC which would equal what she might have to pay in rent, then the food stamps she may or may not qualify for, will not cover things like soap, laundry supplies, cleaning supplies,toilet paper, things that most of us consider to be essential to daily life. I’m not talking about soda and candy, I’m talking about soap! Depending on her education and the jobs available to her, she may need to depend on her child’s grandparents (if available), and yes, they might prefer to travel, spend time with each other doing all the things they planned to do when they retired. Grandparents often find themselves raising yet another generation of children who they love, but never thought would be their responsibility. They expected to have fun with their grandkids and to have a day each week or every other week, to go to the zoo, play games, teach them to cook, or all sorts of other things they dreamed of sharing; not all day every day responsibility from dawn to dusk, but it may be the only choice for some, including many teachers who often barely make enough to support a small family on one salary.

One option none of you have talked about having in the event of the death of a spouse is life insurance. I’ve known women whose husbands died when they were pregnant and in their early 20’s and the reason they could stay home with their children was that they had taken out life insurance adequate to support the family for years, as well as providing an opportunity for re-education or further education for the surviving parent. Please respect the fact that not everyone makes the same choices or even knows what those choices are…..

Holly on

Sandra does not need to work to provide for her son. She is wealthy as is.

Melissa please lose some weight. You should do it so you;ll be around to see your kids grow up.

She does look gigantic against Sandra.

Susan you are right.

mdd43 on

Sad to hear women making snarky comments here about other women’s choices (and weight)! . Each of us is unique and no one else can know what is right for our families. Why not support each other instead of tearing each other down?

Amy on

Wow, they photoshopped the H-E–Double Hockey Sticks out of Sandy! She looks like a 6 year old’s body on a 50 year old’s head! (although Sandy DOES NOT look 50, I might add!)