Do you feel guilty for working and struggle with balancing work and home? Here is your working mom pep talk to get you through the day.
You don’t usually feel this guilty for going to work, but this morning, your little girl was sick. It seemed like you only had five minutes to cuddle with her before you had to leave. You felt guilty for handing her off to the nanny, especially when it seems like you know how to comfort her best.
Granted, this isn’t always your norm—your child was sick, after all. Still, it didn’t make the guilt any less painful.
Or perhaps you’re working from home, juggling childcare and office duties all at once. You wish you could give her your full attention instead of writing a report while she plays nearby.
What do you tell yourself to keep going during times like these? How do you brush aside the working mom guilt?
Your working mom pep talk
However overwhelmed you might be, know that it’s normal to feel this way. You might second-guess your decisions, from going to work when your child was sick, to being a working mom at all.
Whenever you feel down on yourself for working, tell yourself a few important reminders to change your point of view:
1. Your child is with a trusted adult
Feeling confident about working starts with trusting your childcare provider. Whether your child is with a nanny, at a daycare, or with your mom, she’s with a trusted adult who knows how to care for her.
On the flip side, if you don’t feel confident about your childcare situation, perhaps that might be the reason you feel guilty. Dig deep and ask yourself if you like your childcare situation, as well as whether you need to pull back and learn to trust them a bit more.
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2. Your child will get over it in a few minutes
Leaving your child as she’s crying is never a good feeling for any working mom. You assume she’s miserable all day, or that your childcare provider has no idea how to handle her tears. And it’s easy to think she was miserable all day when the last thing you saw and heard was her crying for you.
But more than likely? She was fine within minutes. Ask your childcare provider how she did the rest of the day, and you’ll probably hear that she stopped crying soon after.
Still worried about how she’s doing? Call the nanny or daycare when you’re at work. See if there’s anything she needs that you can buy during lunch or on your way home. And follow up during the day so you don’t feel detached or out of the loop.
3. Your child will be fine
Take a step back and imagine the long-term consequences of you going to work. Let’s face it: being at work is not going to scar your child forever. She’ll be fine, whether you’re at work instead of at home with her.
It’s easy to assume the worst when you hear her cry for you, but she won’t grow up feeling neglected because you work.
The guilt is especially strong when she’s sick at home while you’re at work. You feel pressured into thinking that you’re the only one who can cure her of feeling sick.
But you being home with her isn’t going to make her feel any less sick than if you were at work. She’ll still likely feel sick regardless of whether you were home or not. And remember, she’s still with a trusted adult who loves her, too. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t be there to help him feel better.
Think about it this way: You don’t have to be there 100% of the time. And if you’ve ever doubted this, think about dads and whether they feel guilty for not being home. Dads don’t that pressure on themselves as much as moms, and neither should you.
4. Focus on your child when you’re together
When you are together, make the times you’re with your child count even more. Know that it isn’t always about how many hours you have, but what you do with them. Let her know she’s been on your mind all day, and that you’re so glad to be with her at this moment.
If you work from home, it’s easy to feel guilty no matter what you’re doing. You feel guilty for not playing with her when you’re on your laptop. But you also feel guilty for not answering emails while you’re eating lunch together.
Instead, focus 100% on the task at hand, knowing that you’ve set aside time for the other. That way, the times you are with your child can be spent guilt-free.
5. Remember the benefits of being a working mom
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Is the guilt still there? Take a deep breath, mama. Think of all the other positive days and the benefits of being a working mom. Remind yourself why you’re working, both financially, for your community, and for your own joy.
The benefits for being a working mom extend to our kids, too. As Francesca Gino, professor and author of Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and In Life says:
“The daughters of working mothers grow up to benefit from their mothers’ choices in their own careers, despite the old attitude that women who stay home to take care of their children are better, more devoted mothers than those who work. Women raised by working mothers are more likely to hold managerial roles than women whose mothers stay home full time, research shows. They also earn more money. In the United States, for example, the earnings of daughters of working mothers were 23 percent higher than those of daughters of stay-at-home moms. As for the sons of working mothers, their mothers’ choice of work had no effect on their employment, but, as adults, they were more likely than sons of stay-at-home mothers to share in the chores and child care.”
On the flip side, let’s say the overwhelming feeling isn’t a one-off. Maybe you feel this way almost all the time and wish you could be home with your child more often. At that point, it’s time to reconsider your situation and the options you have.
As much as I enjoy working from home, I’d be lying if I said I never needed a pep talk.
If you’ve felt guilty for working, remind yourself of the benefits of being a working mom. Look for alternative solutions and options, and be proactive and present when you’re with your child. And remember, she probably stopped crying a few minutes after you parted.
You’ve got enough weight on your shoulders, mama. Adding on guilt won’t make either you or your child feel better. Instead, acknowledge the emotions you feel and let the mom guilt go.
Get more tips:
- What You Need to Consider when Hiring an Au Pair
- The “How Do You Do It” Working Moms Guide
- Nanny Interview Questions You Should Be Asking
- Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty for Pumping at Work
- 8 Tips to Save for Maternity Leave
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