I have been a working mama for both of my boys’ entire lives. I’ve worked for the same company since I graduated from college. I have held a few different positions, learned a lot of cool information, grown leaps and bounds as a person, and met some of the best friends I have today. In my current role I even have the opportunity to travel a few times a year. I love my job and what it provides for my family. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with an unhealthy dose of mom guilt on the side.
Ah, yes. That lovely thing we call mom guilt. No matter what your station in life, every mom feels it. It’s part of the job. Some days we feel it more than others. Take this week. I have to admit, it was a bit much for me. Work has been busy, I’ve had a few appointments with a new chiropractor, a last minute business trip came up for next week, Brent threw out his back, and my mom fell and broke her arm. Cue stress induced near-hysteria for me. I couldn’t be there for Brent on Friday because I had meetings and trip planning. We were counting on my mom to watch Ezra during the days I was away so Brent could work. It felt as if everything was caving in at once, right on top of me. Feeling like I was close to hyperventilating at 10 am on a Friday morning was not a place I wanted to be. I wasn’t going to be there when my family obviously needed me. Naturally it’s days like those that make me rethink the whole working mom gig.
Fortunately, weeks like those don’t happen all too often. But it is days where I feel like I am drowning and failing everyone in the process that I forget why we’re here, why it is so worth it. I forget that the decisions that got us to this place were made very carefully and purposefully. And I truly am glad for the life we’ve built.
I’ve had seven years to work on minimizing my mom guilt and here are some things that worked for me:
- Avoid people or things who purposely try to make you feel guilty about your decision to work.A I do not hang out with or even follow anyone on the internet who sends me negativity about my choice to work. I try and surround myself with supportive people who I can lean on when I am feeling overwhelmed.
- Take weekend field trips. If you can’t attend your child’s field trips during the work week, snag that quality time on another day! They will love the time with you no matter when it is.
- Cry it out. After the kids go to bed or on your drive home, let it out. No harm, no foul, unless you’re like me and get a crying hangover the next day.
- Try to step back and put whatever it is that is making you feel guilty into perspective. Will your kids be scarred five years from now because you didn’t attend the kindergarten class Halloween party? I highly doubt it.
- Make a list of all of the positive aspects of your working. They can be practical (health insurance) or not (pulling stupid pranks with coworkers). Refer to that list whenever in doubt.
- Take your kids on weeknight errands when you’re not in a time crunch. I find some of my favorite moments together happen when we go grocery shopping on a weeknight, just me and the boys. We stroll through the aisles giggling and enjoying each other’s company. It doesn’t always end pleasantly due to my lovely little toddler, but I still really do love that time together.
Those little things can go a long way, at least for me. I don’t expect the working mom guilt to ever go away, but I do hope that each tough day or week that passes I get a little bit better at not letting it get to me. Working mom guilt can suck it.
Do you have any more tips to help overcome the working mom guilt?