First, let me just put it out there. The title of this piece should not be How to Deal with Working Mom Guilt; it should read How to Live with Working Mom Guilt. After ten years, I have yet to master complete balance in my life. My mom guilt can cause temporary paralysis of the senses, cause me to stand in the middle of a street in tears, cause me to rethink my profession and overall feel at a loss for words when I feel I have disappointed my kids. And every year, we hear some statistic or quote from a powerful woman, and we know we are not alone in experiencing working mom guilt.
I can list what my shortcomings are as a busy mom, but why even go there? The crazy part is I am a good mother. I go beyond to make sure my kids have a childhood that will provide them with structure and love that provides the tools that will result (I hope!) in caring and mature adults.
Like any feeling, be it joy, sadness — guilt comes in ebb and flows. And as most moms can attest to, it is a work in progress not to let it take over and get the better of us. So I live with mom guilt, and I deal with it, and here are a few ways I do both.
Still getting adjusted to the kids being back at school? Check out Back to School Is on: Seven Tips to Keep You Mentally and Physically Happy (Really!).
Know Your Worth
Let’s go Zen Mama for a bit. Affirmations, self-care, reading an encouraging book or following people on Instagram that lift you — this all helps. Being firm in believing that you are doing your best will help when the mom guilt sets in. Like all negative vibes, you can dismiss them as quickly as they hit or if there is a lesson to learn there, check in with that feeling, learn then release.
Be Particular With Who You Follow on Social Media
Be realistic with yourself when it comes to how others live, primarily through social media. If following a particular person is making you feel you are not even close to having as good as life as this person then unfollow or mute them. There doesn’t have to be any deep thinking into this. It’s okay if following someone who posts beautiful images is aspirational for you. It is also okay if it is not. Social media should be fun, not make you feel less than, especially as a mother.
Set Boundaries in Your Life
Saying no or simply shutting down negative situations is a personal challenge. In the last year, I have become much better at choosing things and situations that work for me and my family unit. I only have myself to blame when I allow in a person or situation that is negative. Boundaries. It is essential to know what is going to tip you over. And it’s fine. Whatever your threshold is, is good, as you do not have to measure up to anyone else. You are magnificent, and doing a great job. Say this to yourself every day. Believe it.
Accept or Ask for Help
This is something of a work in progress for me. I have a hard time reaching out and asking for help. Lately, I have been so busy that the offers to pick up one child or stop by early to take another to school have been a tremendous support in my day to day. Time to not carry every burden. If you have the means to hire more help, hire away. If your mother in law would like to visit and the worst thing she does is fill your dishwasher wrong, who cares — she provides love and hugs, so a win-win for all. Ask away.
Reach Out to Friends. Know You’re Not Alone
When it comes to mom guilt, it is essential to remember that most of us experience this at some point in our lives. Many seasoned parents have told me that especially when kids are young, we experience it more. Go out and get your nails done. Sit and have a warm latte, even if it is only for 5 minutes. Reach out to friends, whether in person or through a mom group. Supporting each other and sharing our stories is how we all get through these rough moments and most importantly, we’re all in this together.