11 Tips to Overcome Working Mom Guilt I WISH I Knew Sooner
working mom guilt depression
Are you struggling with working mom guilt?
I was too. BIG time.
I will never forget each of my two maternity leaves coming to an end, and the tears that flooded, knowing work was around the corner. The thought of leaving my children was heart wrenching.
Knowing that someone else was going to be watching my kids, spending more time with them than their own mother was, killed me.
What if I miss a milestone? What if they forget I’m their mom? What if they love their caretaker more than me? What if the caretaker has more of an influence on how they develop than me? What if something bad happens?
Silly thoughts, I know now. But, I had them. LOUD. In my head. All the time.
Then there was the guilt that comes with being in the office.
I felt guilty for stepping away to breast pump, so I would work through my lunch breaks.
I felt guilty for not focusing as well as I normally do because I was tired from being up throughout the night feeding my babies.
Then with coming home at the end of the day, I felt bad about being exhausted and not being present with my little ones.
I felt bad for not easily maintaining household chores now that I’m both a mom (which is a full time job in itself) and a working mom on top of it.
Feeling like I couldn’t find time for my husband and I to connect, too, also added to the guilt and stress.
The working mom guilt can feel like an endless circle. Fast forward to almost 5 years into motherhood, and I still carry working mom guilt.
But, it is quieter now–A LOT quieter–thanks to the below tips people have shared with me along the way.
The Benefits of Being a Working Mom & How to Conquer the Guilt
Working mom guilt can feel HEAVY on your mind. There is guilt with feeling like time is running out to achieve your career aspirations while your children are also growing up so fast. Remembering the below has helped me overcome my many forms of working mom guilt; I hope it does the same for you, too.
1. It is healthy to have your child see you come and go.
Having your child see you leave for work and then return helps foster trust and strengthens bonding.
Your little one learns to trust someone else in addition to Mom. Time spent with the caretaker is healthy, as it helps your baby recognize there is more than one way to do things and that having multiple relationships is a good thing.
The bonding you get to do with your baby in between work feels that much more special because you really squeeze the most out of it.
2. Working helps you plan for your future and gives you a sense of security.
Paying for childcare so that I could go to work seemed silly at first because my salary and the cost of care practically canceled each other out.
But, while income may be tight, childcare costs are only temporary. And, your paycheck usually contributes to your retirement funds, which is great.
Keeping your skillsets current through maintaining your job is a plus, too.
Most importantly, God forbid something were to happen to your husband, you would still be able to provide for your child(ren) because you wouldn’t be out of work.
3. Working boosts your self-esteem.
Becoming a mom is a hormonal roller coaster, no doubt. I went through a period where I felt like I lost myself in my children and my husband.
Having a work space to go to helped me gain my independence back and my sense of self back.
Contributing to the workforce can boost your self-esteem and confidence while also helping you have a sense of community outside of your home.
Professional success can positively impact your overall well-being, helping you be a better parent.
4. Work is wonderful role modeling for your children.
Working moms can serve as positive role models for their children, demonstrating the value of hard work, dedication, and the pursuit of one’s passions.
It helps both you and your children see the value in time management, priorities, and the importance of work-life balance.
5. It’s about quality time, not quantity.
Being a working mom can make you feel like you’re not “there” enough. But, being away from home forces you to create more meaningful activities and bonding moments with your child when you are home.
Children benefit more from quality time spent with their parents versus parents just always being there in the background.
6. Every mom has some form of guilt, and no one really “does it all”.
Everyone carries guilt, and everyone drops the ball sometimes–even stay at home moms. And that’s OKAY!
It is normal. We are not perfect. No one is.
7. Be kind to yourself.
Give yourself grace and know that you are rocking it as a mom!
We are our own worst critic. Quiet your negative thoughts. Celebrate the small achievements, as they ARE there!
8. Focus on the positive.
Have you ever noticed how when someone says or does something that really gets under your skin, you dwell on it–even if your day was going great?
We do the same thing when we let our working mom guilt creep in…Much easier said than done, but don’t do that to yourself!
Anytime you catch yourself going into a negative guilt spiral, force yourself to say 5 positive things in your head.
As the saying goes, “Attention goes where energy flows,” so put your energy into good thoughts. Your thoughts are contagious.
9. Focus on YOU during the work day.
The work day allows you to have a break from being at home. I love being at home!! But it’s not the healthiest to be in one spot 24/7.
Going to work forces you to get out, so squeeze in as much time for yourself as possible.
If you love reading, listen to an Audible as you drive into the office. Take a walk on your lunch break. Or, work through your lunch break to leave a little early to squeeze in a happy hour with a girlfriend.
Capitalize on the time you have away. Read these 7 Organization Tips for Moms That Saved My LIFE to help you accomplish this.
10. Make sleep a priority.
Mom guilt feels worse when you are tired. All moods feel worse when you are tired.
Everything feels so much more compounded with exhaustion, which is hard to escape when you have a baby at home.
But do make sleep a priority. Sleep is the best medicine.
You, your family, and your work will all be better off when you are well rested, and so will your long term health, too.
Sleep is the most important of the 8 Best Self-Care Tips for Moms.
11. Connect with other moms.
Once I became a mom, I felt like I entered a brand new world that had been in front of me my whole life that I never realized existed. It is amazing to me how you really don’t know what things are like until you are in it yourself.
Being able to connect with women who are in your same boat makes a huge difference. Find at least one mom you can connect with to have a strong support network. It will make experiencing the joys and challenges of being a parent even more special and less stressful.
That is one of the main reasons why I started this blog! I wanted to have a community of like-minded moms together in one spot! I received my inspiration from the amazing Whitney Bonds over at Tried and True Mom Jobs.
Through local mom groups, online forums, and parenting classes, there are several ways to connect with other moms.
Final Thoughts on Working Mom Guilt
Overcoming working mom guilt is hard, but it CAN be done! Know that you are not alone in feeling this way, as it is natural to experience when answering the demands of career and family life.
The further along I get into motherhood, the more I realize working mom guilt ebbs and flows. As our children (and us parents) evolve, so does our guilt.
The guilt can be used as a means to check in with ourselves to make sure we remember our WHY.
What are your strategies in overcoming working mom guilt? I’d love to hear! Share in the comments section below.