(Guest Post by Trisha Rawlings)
Whether you work full time or part time, in the home or outside of the home, chances are you have felt mommy guilt at one time or another related to your working status. It’s completely normal to feel this way, but the fact of the matter is, you don’t have to! All it takes it some organization and self-reflection and you can stop feeling mommy guilt just because you work.
So what exactly is mommy guilt?
Mommy guilt is that nagging feeling that no matter what you do for your children, it’s just not quite right. It fills you with self-doubt and makes you question every decision you make. In relation to work in particular, it means that you feel guilty for going to work or carving out time to check emails or return phone calls.
As I said before, it’s totally normal to experience mommy guilt because let’s face it, we love our kids! We want to be there for them as much as we can and be involved in their lives. Unfortunately for most of us, we have to work in order to provide our kids with the best opportunities. So how can we possibly be expected to work, sometimes long hours, without feeling guilty for being away from our kids? It’s not always easy to get rid of the guilty feeling, but it can be done. Before I share with you HOW you can get rid of the mommy guilt, I want to share with you WHY you shouldn’t feel guilty.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T FEEL MOMMY GUILT JUST BECAUSE YOU WORK
You’re setting a good example:
Being a mom and holding down a job is admirable! In fact, it’s something that you want your kids to admire. You should be proud to be setting a good example for your children and showing them what a good work ethic looks like. You’re teaching them how to work hard for something they want, and you’re teaching them about sacrifice, goal-setting, time management, organization, teamwork – all the things we want our children to learn! You may think they see you as not being there that much, but in actuality, what they’re seeing is a great role model that is teaching them all of life’s valuable lessons.
You’re providing for your family:
Let’s get real for a minute – kids are expensive. Diapers, after-school activities, college. No matter what age your kids are, they cost a lot. By you working, you’re helping to ensure that your kids have the opportunity to participate in activities, go on trips, and basically enjoy being a kid! I know what you’re probably thinking – but I still don’t make enough to give them everything they want (or that I want them to have). Again – your perspective is different than theirs. They may whine because they didn’t get the latest iPad or a new car, or even that sparkly toy in the Target dollar spot, but I promise you, Mama, when they become an adult and think back to those times that you couldn’t give them what they wanted – they won’t remember that. They’ll remember what you DID.
Case in point – my mom. When I was little, she and my dad divorced. At one point in time, she worked one full-time job, two part-time jobs, and went back to nursing school to provide for me. I don’t remember all the tantrums I threw because I didn’t get the latest and greatest toy I wanted so desperately (trust me, those tantrums definitely happened), but instead I remember how hard she worked at that point in her life and can now appreciate everything she sacrificed to give me a better life.
You’re improving your self-worth:
Being a mom is great! In fact, becoming a mom has been the best thing that has happened in my life. However, being a mom is not the only thing that defines me. And it shouldn’t be! We were all individuals before having children, so now just because our name is all Mom doesn’t mean that we don’t have any other purpose than to serve our children.
We still have our own passions and goals and need to stay focused on that in order to set a good example and provide for our children. Working allows us to continue our mission to achieve goals that we set for ourselves and by doing so, we’re improving our self-worth. This is so important in the development of ourselves and our children because our kids need to see that not only do we have a good work ethic and we can provide for them, but we know our value and feel good about what we’re doing.
HOW YOU CAN STOP FEELING MOMMY GUILT
So now that we’ve covered why you shouldn’t feel mommy guilt, let’s dive into the HOW.
When you’re at work, be at work. When you’re at home, be at home:
During the hours that you’re at work, focus on your work. Keep your social time to a minimum and stick to a schedule. At the end of the day, when it’s time to go home, focus on your family. Do your best to not answer your work phone or respond to emails when you get home. And if you have to, wait until your kids have gone to bed.
Schedule family activities for the weekends:
It’s not always easy to fit in a movie, mini-golf, baseball game, or other fun activity for the evenings on days that you work, so schedule family activities for the weekend. This will give the whole family something to look forward to while also keeping the weekday evenings limited to quality family time around the dinner table.
Celebrate each family member’s successes:
You have to recognize that you can’t be there for every single amazing thing that happens in your child’s life, so when spending quality time together, take a few moments to celebrate each family member’s success. Did your little one just learn how to tie his shoe or your middle-schooler get an A on her science test? Maybe Dad got a promotion or you rocked the presentation you just gave to a big client. Whatever it is – celebrate it! Show your kids that even as adults, hard work pays off and it’s all worth celebrating.
Don’t sweat the small stuff:
Broken lamp, spilled kool-aid, crayon on the wall….you’ll be mad about all of these when they happen, but don’t dwell on them. Life is short and accidents happen, so don’t hold on to things. As they sing in Frozen – LET IT GO!
It will take some time to put these into practice in order to lessen the feelings of mommy guilt while you’re working. Until those feelings start to subside, just remember all the reasons why you’re doing what you do and what great people your kids will grow up to be because of it. You got this Mama!
Trisha blogs over at Rosewood and Grace and is dedicated to helping others create an affordable, stylish, happy life.
She is married to the first boy she ever had a crush on and is Mama to an amazing, outgoing, happy little girl.
Professionally, she has a background in Psychology, Public Health, and Business and works full-time as a Product Developer.
Personally, she loves to travel, cook, create and spend time with her family.
Feel free to stop by and pay her a visit at www.RosewoodandGrace.com
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