How can I overcome working mom guilt?
This year has been a very trying year for my sanity. I went back to work 11 weeks after Jaxon was born. Here I am, almost 9 months later, and I do not feel like the old Brittany. To be fair, I probably will never feel like the old Brittany again, simply because that’s how life works. We experience things, we go through things, and those things change us. Before graduation, I gave myself a goal to find a job before I graduated. I actually met that goal. The only difference was that I met that goal with a little nugget in tow. At the time, I did not think that little nugget would change my entire outlook on how I viewed the future of my career. Yet, it has. Once my maternity leave came to an end, I flew out of the house and burnt rubber down the interstate to work. I was desperate to be back in an environment that was not all about the baby. About a month or so after I started this new journey as a working mother, I began to feel anxious, sad, and guilty. That is when I knew I was dealing with working mom guilt.
Working Mom Guilt
For me, working mom guilt means that I feel extremely guilty for leaving my infant at home, for the sake of a career.
I have received a lot of advice from other women since returning to work. The advice has been about how they had the opportunity to be stay-at-home moms or work-from-home moms at some point in their career. The difference between me and them? They have been in their profession for years, and they had the opportunities to set up an office in their home or to not work at all. The same does not go for me. I have been a working adult for almost 15 months, while I’ve been a working mom for 9 months. That has not been enough time to establish a relationship with my company to where I can work from home on some days. And not working at all? Not an option. I actually like working, and I need to keep a check rolling in.
Therefore, I need to find ways to battle working mom guilt. It is at a point now where I am extremely sad because I need to be with my baby. He is growing every second, and I cannot tell you how quickly this past year has flown by. I actually have already taken the day of Jaxon’s birthday off from work, because I know if I’m not with him, I will be miserable. When I’m sad or miserable at work, my productivity is shot to hell. It’s hard to stay focused, keep a good train of thought, or accomplish anything. I feel tired at work, I feel tired at home. I need to work, but I also need to be at home with the baby. What is a girl to do?
I know I’m not alone.
5 Ways to Battle Working Mom Guilt
For all of you, new mothers or not. Millennial moms or not, here are 5 ways to battle working mom guilt.
Establish a Support System
For me, having a solid support system both inside the workplace and outside of the workplace are important. I am able to express the not-so-pretty feelings that I have, and not feel like I am being judged. It also helps that my superiors are also women. I feel like women are able to resonate with how I feel more, which makes me more likely to voice my concerns. My family is supportive because they offer words of encouragement to get me through the day. And they also send me super cute videos and pictures of Jaxon.
Stop comparing yourself to others
I am extremely jealous of moms who have the luxury of being with their children all day. However, I have to remind myself that although I’ve never experienced being a stay-at-home mom, I know that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Find value in working
Being a working mom means that my child has excellent healthcare. It also means that I have the financial means to support him. Going to work every day gives me something to look forward to at the end of the day. I get to go home and be with my baby. Not only that but the career that I worked so hard to establish in college? I get to honor that hard work every day. I’m learning new things that are creating valuable skill sets for the future so that I CAN one day work from home. I am learning how to be on time, how to prioritize, how to delegate and elevate, and also how to relax.
Understand it won’t always be this way
There are plenty of successful women who work, take a break from working to raise a family, and then jump back into the working role. With proper preparation, it is possible and achievable. That is definitely a goal that I have set for myself. How long it takes to achieve that goal is up to me. I plan to read “Work PAUSE Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career” whenever I have free time.
Realize the kids are better because of it.
According to a study done by Harvard Business School, women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time. Men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for family members. Children of working moms also tend to be more independent, understand how money works, and are good planners.
I wish that I could say I am at a point where I am over feeling guilty. I wish that I could that I feel empowered and proud to be a working mom. But, I am not there yet. As a new working mom, I am on a journey to be the best working mom that I can be, until the time comes where I can be home more. Until then, I will take these lessons for myself, and overcome the battle of working mom guilt.