How many of you FaVe Moms out there experience working mom guilt on a regular basis? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s no fun at all. On one hand we work to provide opportunities for them and things that they wouldn’t be able to have in a one working parent household. On the other hand we don’t have the luxury of spending as much time with them.
I’m smart enough to realize that my child will be fine despite the many hours I spend working and away from him. The problem is more the feeling of of working mom guilt that I’m not doing enough, giving enough, providing enough, or attentive enough to my son. I won’t even start the bucket list of how I don’t feel that I’m giving enough to my husband either, but since he’s deployed I’m obviously giving as much as I can, when I can.
I’m Catholic, working mom guilt shouldn’t affect me. Let’s be completely honest. I was raised on guilt and fear. :) As Catholics, we know all to well what guilt is and where it comes from and henceforth, I should ignore it. What’s sad is that it has bothered me from the beginning. I went right back to work after having my son. There was very little time spent doting on him, spoiling him, loving him and so I feel that I missed a lot of really important milestones. Working mom guilt led to feelings of inadequacies in all aspects of life. I had became a working mom who was plagued by guilt and the never-ending feeling of not measuring up to all of the women that are stay at home moms. Well, I’m not ok with that and therefore I’m going to accept certain things and move forward. That’s what I did about a year ago.
Choosing to work was a choice that I made to afford my children opportunities that other children don’t have and with that comes compromise and sacrifice. I have a list of reasons that I choose to work and anytime I’m feeling guilty I pull those out. I work for money, independence and personal satisfaction of knowing that I’m good at something. Compromise and sacrifice is inevitable so, let us all embrace the suck and drive on. :)
Don’t ever second guess yourself. There are plenty of people that pawn their kids off on others so that it doesn’t interfere with their social lives. You’re not doing that. Plenty of kids end up fine with parents that never attend practices, recitals, or games. If you miss a bedtime story it is not the end of the world. Should of, could of, would of is always pointless and trivial. So don’t do it!
Bottom line is that my son doesn’t doubt that he’s well loved. He knows that he is wanted, loved and appreciated. My son will grow into a well-rounded and respectable young man regardless of whether I am Betty Crocker, Jackie Kennedy or Jodie Foster. Working mom guilt is absolutely pointless. Instead of saying should I do this, how about saying I could do this. For example, your son or daughter has a game every Friday for a month. You’re normally working. You could attend ONE of the games so that both parties are satisfied.
Are you perfect? NO! Am I perfect? NO! Let’s stop trying to be perfect. Be the perfect working mom, working wife, working daughter, working friend, working whatever and start being the imperfect person that we are that everyone loves and adores. Why do you put yourself on a pedestal, where you’re so high off the ground, you can’t see the ground beneath your feet, and then expect yourself to stay there and not fall crashing to the ground? If you want to live a top a pedestal go for it. I’ll happily plant my two feet on the ground and be perfectly imperfect thank you very much. If I’m never on the cover of Redbook, I’ll be just fine and so will my children. My son loves me for my wicked sick sense of humor, my happy nature, my caring ways and my giving heart. That’s not going to change because I’m a working mother. I’m not a perfect parent, but I’m an awesome parent. That’s what matters.
Those moms that like to talk about how wrong it is for you to work, you know exactly which ones I’m talking about too. The one’s who drop statements like, well if she spent more time with her child, he’d be better at a, b, c, or d. If she wasn’t working all the time, her child would feel loved. Those moms? My philosophy is why throw stones at a glass house? I can critique them and their children, but as a good working mom with no guilt, I have no need to ridicule other moms. I’m too busy doing the best job that I can as a working mom to worry about other moms and their parenting styles. Ignore self-righteous people, they’re not worth your time. Choose the option that works best for you and your children because at the end of the day whether or not I choose all organic food or overly processed foods, my child is still healthy, happy and well-rounded. I want to encourage and lift people up, the way Jesus Christ would want me to. I don’t need to criticize or demean people. We’re all doing the best job that we can of being a good parent.
Last but not least, when you are with your children, be fully present. As I learned at the Disney SM Moms Conference earlier this year in Berkeley, CA, look at the whites of their eyes. Turn off work and any other distractions and focus completely on them. Take them out, play games with them, go for a bike ride or hiking. IGNORE YOUR CELL PHONE, iPAD and LAPTOP!!! Focus entirely on them.
What any working mom or stay-at-home mom is doing is none of my business or yours for that matter. Working mom guilt is more useless than crying over spilled milk. It’s pointless, tiring and downright mad. Stop trying to keep up with “The Joneses” and live your life fully and navigate the role of parenting with your children. Let’s help them grow up into the loving, well-rounded, and respectable adults that they have the full potential of being with a little bit of guidance from you.