4 ways to overcome working mom guilt
I believe that one of the biggest challenge every working mom has to overcome is dealing with working mom guilt. As mothers, we seem to be naturally predisposed to feelings of mom guilt no matter what choices we make. That’s too bad. Every mom I know is just trying to do her best navigating the uncharted waters of motherhood. Even experienced moms struggle with mom guilt. After all, each child is different so what works with one kid never seems to work with another.
According to the Department of Labor, 70% of women with children under the age of 18 participate in the labor force. According to Working Mother, more than half of women feel guilty every single day and 31% feel guilty at least once a week. I get it. Being a mom is hard. Starting your own business is hard. Both are time-consuming, emotional endeavors that can leave you exhausted and frustrated (and full of mommy guilt). I once messed up my calendar and arrived a half-hour late for my daughter’s preschool graduation. It was all I could do to not cry in front of the teacher, I was so mad at myself. Of course, she didn’t seem to mind at all and I’m sure she has no memory of the incident. But I sure do!
Now that my kids are a lot older, I have the opportunity to see that they’re turning out just fine, even though I’ve always been a working mom. Sometimes, especially when I owned a business, I was a really hard working mom! Here’s how I managed my working mom guilt. I hope these tips help you overcome your working mom guilt.
Realize you’re setting a good example for your kids. As a working mom, you are contributing to the financial well-being of your family. You’re helping the company you work for succeed. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re showing your children that with hard work, mom can achieve her dreams. You’re showing them the value of hard work and that you’re an important person in the grown-up world.
If you’re an entrepreneur, realize that you can take time for the kids during the day if it makes you feel better. That’s the beauty of working for yourself. Shortly after I became a business owner, I realized that if I didn’t answer the phone, the person on the other end had no idea where I was. Maybe I was in a meeting. Maybe I was working with another client. Or maybe, I was chaperoning a field trip. As long as I got my work done, it didn’t really matter.
If it ok for your children to realize that you have a life too. We teach our children to have respect for others. You want your children to grow up to become kind, empathetic people. So why do we as working moms feel that it’s ok for our children to treat us as though our lives revolve entirely around them? That’s not right. Of course, your children should grow up to feel loved and secure. They should feel like they are extremely important to you. But they should also know that you’re not some sort of robot they can command to do their bidding. Take a little time for yourself and tell yourself it’s ok. Wondering how? See three tips for small business owners to achieve work/life balance.
If you can find one, join a moms group. I joined Professional Dimensions (link), a women’s networking group, more than 10 years ago. One of the biggest benefits of the group has been a special interest group called ProMoms. The group meets about once a month for lunch. Sometimes, we have topic to discuss, such as love and logic parenting or a book we’re all trying to read. Other days, we just vent. No matter what, I leave each lunch knowing that my struggles are hardly unique and I’m not alone when I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing as a mom.
These three tips worked for me, but if they don’t work for you try this fact; according to Harvard Business School, women who work outside the home raise girls who are more successful in their careers than those stay at home moms. Working moms benefit boys too. The same study found that boys raised by working moms are more likely to contribute to household chores and care for family members. At the end of the day, as long as you’re the best mom you can be, you have nothing to feel guilty about.