I keep hearing about this working mom guilt I’m supposed to feel because I work. Apparently I should beat myself up because I don’t get to see my toddler several hours in the day. That someone else is caring for him while I’m in the office or that I can’t seem to keep my home spotless.
Instead, I’m one of those moms who doesn’t feel guilty about working.
And it’s not because I’m a workaholic—I don’t work crazy hours or check my work email while on vacation.
Sure, I enjoy what I do in the office, work hard, excel in my field and get along well with my coworkers.
But if I won a gazillion dollars, I’d be out of there in a second (okay, maybe in two weeks). So while having a career is important for many moms, getting paid isn’t at the top of my fulfillment list.
Why then do I not bother with working mom guilt?
Because I’m doing the best I can. When I’m with my son, I have my parenting cap on (most of the time). I encourage him to learn and thrive, whether it’s through reading or exploring outdoors.
And I make sure he knows he’s loved and cared for, both when it’s easy and when more patience is called for. I read parenting books, blog about parenting, or talk to my husband about how we can improve as parents. Almost everything I do caters to the well-being of my son.
In short, I think I’m a darn good mom.
You may have your own ways of wearing your parenting cap that’s different from mine. But if you’re like most moms I know, we all bust our butts doing what’s best for our kids.
Sometimes we confuse working mom guilt with desire. It’s okay that I want to be home with my toddler instead of sitting in an office. As difficult as it felt to return to work after maternity leave, there was still no reason to feel guilty.
The desire to spend more time with my baby shouldn’t make me feel guilty because I can’t. Some families have the option for one parent to stay at home; others don’t. I wish I could see my toddler more often, but that would mean a significant pay decrease we can’t afford right now.
Some moms feel guilty when they come home and still have to unload the dishwasher and pay the bills. When the house was spotless before kids, adjusting could take some getting used to.
But we have kids. Maybe even a bunch of them. My home is hardly going to look anything like how it used to look, and even less than what I see in magazines or catalogs.
I can now pull out the “we have a kid” card when I haven’t watered the plants or that there are crayon marks on the table. Those are the marks of a family blessed with a kid, not of an incompetent mom.
Which brings me to my last point: we can’t do it all.
We’re quite the conundrum. We become stay-at-home moms so our kids can spend time with us. But we’re also working moms so they know women kick butt in the workforce too.
We can’t miss out on any of our baby’s “firsts,” but we have to be the top performer in our department. We have to tend to our crying baby or fussy toddler even though the project is due in two hours.
Too many expectations rest on our shoulders and we can’t bear every single one of them.
We’re moms—complete with flaws, ambitions, and the choices we make. So when working mom guilt creeps in, pull out your “we have a kid” card and remind yourself you’re doing your best.
Read more about being a working mom:
- The “How Do You Do It” Working Moms Guide
- Being a Working Mom Isn’t Always a Second Choice
- Do You Feel Guilty for Not Breastfeeding? Don’t.
- Being a Working Mom Doesn’t Suck
- Mom Guilt: 5 Reasons Moms Shouldn’t Blame Themselves for Everything
Do you have working mom guilt? How do you handle and appease this guilt? Is there anything you can change about your situation to alleviate the guilt?
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