As a working mom, it is very likely that you have felt working mom guilt. It’s the feeling you get when something happens that makes you feel guilty about being a working mom. Working mom guilt hits when you leave your kid, crying at daycare or you forget to do something for your family because you were focused on work. And when you try to balance family and work equally, you feel like you’re doing each half-heartedly. Sometimes when your schedule is so tight, you feel compelled to “work” all the time, scared of the consequences if you aren’t constantly productive.
The fact of the matter is that working mom guilt causes far more harm than good. Nobody needs to “do it all” all the time. Doing it all produces an unhealthy and destructive kind of stress. Actually, 38% working moms said they don’t spend enough time with their children. At the same time, however, 18% of part-time working moms and 11% of stay-at-home moms said the same according to a survey done by Pew Research Center. It is hard and unattainable to be everything to everybody, so take steps to abandon the working mom guilt.
Financial security is sometimes more important. According to a University of Maryland study, for children ages 2 – 11, it makes no difference in the number of hours a mother spends with her child regarding her kid’s academic or psychological progress. This doesn’t mean don’t spend time with your kids at all; it just means some days it is ok if you just don’t have the time or the energy to spend quality time for a few extra hours. Focusing time on making more money can help a child way more in the long run, especially when he or she is applying to college.
Don’t feel pressured to do something productive every time you have some free time. If your kid takes a nap, turn that time into “you” time. Taking time to relax, read, or do whatever you want to do that makes you happy. Turn off the nagging voice in your mind that keeps reminding you of your large to-do list. Taking time for yourself helps you de-stress and be a better mom for your family
Kids fare well even when moms work. According to a Harvard Business School study, daughters of working mothers earned higher salaries and were more likely to be employed than daughters raised by stay-at-home moms. The best thing you can do for your children is allow them to learn from your hard-working spirit and determination. In the long run, this will help to prepare them for the real world. Also, when mothers work, “the pay gap narrows, and the labor gap inside the home narrows,” said McGinn, Harvard Business School professor.
Reserve your self-judgment. Unfortunately, you are your toughest critic. When you forget that it is pajama day at school, it can be disappointing for you and your kid. However, you need to stop beating yourself up. Yes, your child will be sad, but they won’t be sad forever. They won’t do horribly in school because they aren’t in their pajamas, and they won’t remember this one bad experience years from now. Remember that you are human and no one is perfect.
Working mom guilt will happen, and it can be really tough. But you have to remember that you are doing the best thing you can for your children. Hopefully, with these reminders, you’ll be able to overcome the guilt to be the best working mom you can be.