Working mum guilt is an unfortunate reality we have to face and deal with. We’re constantly questioning our decisions and wondering if we made the right choice and if what we’re doing is what’s best for our children. But the reality is, our kids don’t miss us as much as we think they do.
ALL mums feel guilt at some point during their motherhood journey, I know I did.
I felt guilt when I first had to leave my baby after maternity leave to start working and again when I had to hear about them doing something new from the grandparents or via recorded video. For some of you, the "Working Mum Guilt" could be triggered when another mum (a stay-at-home mum more likely) asks how you can handle being away from your infant all day.
Unfortunately, working mum guilt isn’t something that will instantly go away. But in most cases, these guilty feelings are just in our heads as no one else is thinking about them. A general rule; if your children are happy and are feeling loved, chances are you are nailing motherhood and everything will be just fine.
Here are a few ways you can overcome "Working Mum Guilt" and get back to living life.
1. Stop Following Other People's Rules
Instead, set your own expectations based on your circumstances, what your kids are like and your career goals. There is nothing wrong with taking advice from more experienced mums, but as each child and parenting needs are different, what might work for them, might not be the best method for you.
2. Set up Reminders
Find a way to set up reminders so things don’t slip through the cracks. Whether it is by using your phone or my personal favourite a planner. I know some mums who use a chart that can be posted on the refrigerator. Just make it a habit to check your schedule everyday.
3. Reserve Self-Judgment
Stop beating yourself up. Yes you will forget things, no one is perfect but you are a great mum and your kids love you.
4. Reframe Your Negative Self-Talk
You will make mistakes (you've probably made many already). The key is to learn as much as you can from them and then change your ways if needed.
5. Learn to Breathe Deeply
Working mom guilt will stress you out and can often trigger a fight or flight response. To help you break free and feel relaxed, use a deep breathing exercise. The trick is remembering to actually take a deep breath.
6. Make time
Carve out special time for walks, dinner and other bonding activities for you and your children.
7. Delegate if you have to
Accept you won’t be there for every event. Allow your partner and other family members to help in caring for your children. You can never have too many people love and support your child. It does take a village.
8. Talk about it
All mums experience some form of mum guilt but talking about it takes away its power. Confide in other mums and be prepared to sympathize when they discuss their own insecurities.
You're giving them space to grow
Remember that by working, you’re allowing your child to grow and become independent as well as re-introducing independence and structure outside of the household back into your life. Being a working mum is not something to feel guilty about and as much as worry of them missing you might overshadow your day, your kids don’t miss you as much as you think they do. Give them the space to grow, develop relationships, and think on their own.
These are some of my absolute favourite working mum guilt quotes that help me get through the day. I even have some on my whiteboard in my office for positive affirmation!
“Loving my job doesn’t make me any less of a mum.”
“I can love my children and love my job.”
“Guilt is something all mums feel, whether they work outside the home or not.”
“Being a working mum doesn’t mean my family isn’t my first priority.”
“I am there for my kids when they need me (and I won’t let anyone convince me otherwise).”