AAAAAYYYYYYY blog friends. It’s been a hot sec… but I went and did something crazy. I got a job. Like a legit 9-5. Well… let’s be real it’s 8-5. Because 21st century. BUT STILL. I’ve mentioned ’round these parts for a good while that I never wanted to be a stay at home mom forever. I finished my bachelors and I definitely want to use it. I’ll have to work my way up from the bottom, but I’m okay with it. I want to. But working full time as a mom comes with its fair share of baggage. Most of us call it “mom guilt.”
I felt guilt when I stayed home – Moms feel guilty about pretty much anything sometimes. But it’s not quite the same kind of guilt that I feel now that I’m at work 40 hours a week. Plus drive time. I love that I know that I’m helping support my children in a new way now… but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss certain parts of staying home.
According to the US Department of Labor 70% of women with children work. And according to my own experience most of us feel guilty about it at one point or another. That’s a lot of working moms… and that’s a lot of feeling and about it. But there’s about a million ways to beat the mom guilt.
1.) Remember That Your Work is Valuable
In our society, it is expected that men find meaningful work outside of their families. For women… that’s not always exactly the case. History and tradition are powerful forces and something still tells us that family is our priority and that therefore, work can’t be.
I have three children. But I’ve never ever not had career goals too. We can create and contribute to purpose outside of our homes as well as inside. We can have value beyond our children… and it’s okay.
2.) Your Kids are the Center of Your World, But You’re Not Necessarily the Center of Theirs
I think this is a hard truth that every mother knows deep down. Children love their mothers… but nothing NOTHING! like mothers love them. So while I know that my kids miss me, I don’t think they’re as bent out of shape about it as I am.
Jace and Zoey had never really been to daycare until I started working. And they both love it. Jace calls it “camp” and half the time he’s bummed when it’s time to go home. Because he’s 7 and he’d rather hang out with his friends than come home. Tear.
Seriously though. The guilt factor usually comes from assuming that your career places unnecessary hardship on your children. It’s probably harder on you than it is on your children. They will be okay.
3.) Let Your Husband Help You
I am a huge advocate for eliminating the fathers as secondary parents stigma. Fathers are 100% parents; just like moms. I know that even I, despite having these beliefs, fall victim to the stereotype that the kids are mostly my responsibility. I want to pack the lunches (and of course add cute, lovey, handwritten notes,) do the pickups and drop offs, help with homework, make it to the parent-teacher conferences, and and and and… the list never ends.
We cannot do it all. Seriously. Just stop. One person cannot do everything. Husbands are just as responsible when it comes to getting ALL THE THINGS DONE. And I know that my husband, actually appreciates when I stop being a crazy-psycho-control-freak-person and let him do things too. Yours probably will probably feel the same. 😉
4.) Accept the Tradeoffs
It’s no secret that despite all of a mom’s super powers… we cannot be in 2 places at once. You cannot spend 40 hours a week at the office, and still witness every minute of your child’s life. For me, this is one of the hardest truths to swallow as Grey is 16 months old and my last baby. But there’s got to be a tradeoff.
I know that there are certain things that we’ll be able to do just because I am working again. Colorado is expensive and while staying home for his first year was nice… we didn’t have the funds for many extra things. I know that my income will provide some opportunities for me and them.
5.) “Guilt is to the spirit what pain is to the body.”
Feeling guilty solves nothing. It changes nothing. It makes you less present at your job and emotionally exhausted for your children. It is truly a waste of your energy. I don’t like pointing out problems that lack solutions. The truth here is that only you can solve this problem for yourself.
Do not punish yourself by dwelling on your guilt. Focus on the positive that comes from your career. Also, many many studies show that children benefit from having working mothers. I enjoy the fact that my children get to see their mother work outside of the home. I enjoy that they also got to experience me as a SAHM/student/working-mom hybrid. I’m proud to have demonstrated to them that women can be anything.
At the end of the day – being a mom is hard no matter what. And we’re all so hard on ourselves (and don’t even get me started on how hard society is on mothers.) Seriously. Don’t. But the truth is… we don’t have to be. Maybe you have to work, because you can’t afford not to. Maybe you want to work, because staying home makes you crazy. Either way. It’s fine. There’s a million ways to do this parenting thing. Being a working mom does not sabotage your ability to also be a great one.