If there’s one thing that all moms have in common, it’s the mother’s guilt we all feel from time to time. We want to provide our children with the best life, be the best mom we can be and often lay in bed at night regretting the times we yelled or were impatient. Its part of the role we play in raising our children. We feel guilt on a variety of occasions, for things we should, would or could do if we had the choice. Perhaps one of the strongest scenarios for many women is “Working Mom Guilt.” For many years, the “ideal” image of a family is for the father to work and provide financially for the family and the mother to stay at home and provide emotionally. But these are different times we live in and women participate in the work force for a number of reasons. It’s no small decision to work outside the home for a mother, so why all the guilt when you’ve finally decided it’s what’s best for your family? Because you still want it all! If this sounds like you, then continue reading for some tips on overcoming your guilt and embracing your professional life.
1. Own It
You’ve made the difficult decision to work which inherently takes you away from spending time with your children, and I bet you decided it because you need the extra income, love your job, want to set a good example to your kids or just need to do something that gives you a break. Good.For.You. You are doing what is best for your family, which is a good thing! You may be a woman who feels it wasn’t your decision to go back to work and may feel resentment on top of your guilt. Its time to focus on the things your job will provide you, and not the things it is “taking away.” You can purchase the extra coat you daughter needs, save for college and contribute to your summer vacation trip. Yes, you may not spend every moment with your children, but as long as they know you love them enough to provide for them, doesn’t that make it a bit easier?
2. Set Realistic Expectations For Your Role As A Mom
Somewhere a long the road, being a “good parent” has evolved into the ultimate helicopter, I’m my kid’s best friend, I go to every award ceremony, game and activity and I look happy while doing it parent. It’s impossible to keep up, and you will probably spend your evenings contemplating all the things you should have done. Look, even a stay at home mom can’t/doesn’t want to go to every event, read bed time stories, cook every meal, get up in the morning. You are doing an amazing and brave thing by working, and you can’t physically do it all. Give yourself grace and allow for real life to happen.
3. Accept That Other Moms Will Be Critical
This is probably the hardest obstacle to overcome with working moms, because we still want to feel loved and accepted by our peer mothers. There will always be someone who is negative about your working, telling you it’s your job to be at home. Wasn’t that why you had kids? More often than not, those moms have just as much guilt as you do, but over different things and they are probably sharing their “right” opinion with you to disguise their own parenting doubts. Don’t give into the guilt someone else is trying to heap on you, but do what you already know is right for your family.
4. Make Time With Your Kids Count
At the end of the day, you get to spend time with your kids and it can be hard to completely debrief yourself from the hectic day if you’re coming straight from the office. Do your best to be present when you’re with your kids. Put off that return call to your boss, replying to emails or finishing up a project until they’ve gone to bed. The best part about getting off work is leaving it behind and doing what you love! Make the time with your kids the best part of your day, and do it unhindered by work.
5. Admit It- You’re Happy Working
All women love being parents to our children, even on the hard days. You may feel it’s almost wrong to admit that you also love working because your role as a mother is most important. But that may not be the case. Children are a huge focus of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that your life has to revolve around them! You can still admit you enjoy working- contributing to a large project, achieving personal goals and feeling good about your accomplishments. You can do all this and still be a great mom who loves her children just as much as a mother who spends every waking moment with their kids. In fact, you may be an even better mom than you would be if you were at home, if you’re cut out to work. We are all the best version of ourselves when we do what we were made to do, and for you that may be working and that’s ok!