11 Tips to Get Over Working Mom Guilt

Pregnancy & Postpartum

Working Mom Guilt


Do you feel guilty when you drop your child off at daycare and head into the office? Do you hate that you have to miss your daughter's recital because you have a business trip? Or perhaps you cringe when you get the T-ball schedule, knowing you'll have to miss three games next month because you need to work late to prep for a presentation.

Please stop beating yourself up about your work/life balance. It's not worth the negative energy. Keep these 11 tips in mind, and squash your working mommy guilt.

Know you're letting your child grow. Kids act differently around mom. Maybe they're clingier or perhaps they act out. When you're not there, your child can form her own thoughts and feelings, without looking to you for affirmation.

Know you're making someone happy. Though you may be the mom, it's OK for others to go to your child's events. See if your partner can attend. Or, invite a grandparent, godparent, aunt, uncle, favorite babysitter or best friend to fill your shoes. These people will love being part of your child's special times and your child will likely be happy, too. Ask your stand-in to take plenty of pictures and videos so you and your child can relive the event together later on.

Know you made the right choice. If you feel anxious leaving your child with a caregiver, remember it's normal. You chose your childcare provider because she is capable, so don't doubt your decision. Be confident and trust that you made the choice that's right for you and your family.

Know it's OK to let things go. Let some things slide so that you can spend time with your family. Maybe you hire a cleaning person to keep your house spic and span. Or perhaps you order takeout because you're just too tired to cook. And it's OK to decline a birthday party invite so you can spend some one-on-one time with your child or squeeze in some extra family time.

Know you can't let the pressure get to you. You feel pressure to work more hours. You feel pressure to volunteer more at school. You feel pressure to make more play dates, more homemade meals. You can't do it all. Don't let the guilt get to you. Know that you're doing the best you can.

Know it's OK to enjoy being a working woman. Sipping your coffee on the way to work. Chatting with colleagues about Scandal around the water cooler. It's fine to enjoy these simple pleasures that working life gives you.

Know some people will always make you feel guilty. Maybe your mother-in-law rubs it in that she takes your toddler to library story time every Thursday morning. Or your next-door neighbor continually asks how you can let your daughter stay at daycare until 6 o'clock every night. Avoid such negativity as best you can. Wave at your neighbor the next time you see her instead of engaging in conversation. You can't avoid family, but leave the room or quickly end your phone call.

Know you're lucky. It may not seem like it at times, but you're lucky to have a family. Many people would love the gift that you have. Take a step back and appreciate the fact that you can experience this gift.

Know you can pick your battles. Stay at daycare 10 minutes longer in the morning and work 10 minutes longer at night if your daughter is having a crying fit at Monday morning drop-off. But if you're asked to attend a class party on the day that new clients are coming to the office, see if you can help out with another soiree in a few months.

Know you can spend more time with the kids. Is the guilt eating away at you? Pull your son out of daycare for the day, put in for a vacation day and spend the day together. Be sure to put your phone down so you can enjoy one another's company. If you can't sneak in a day off, see if you can head out early to enjoy a few hours at the park together. And the next time your child is home sick or school is canceled for snow, try to really relish spending time together.

Know it's OK to be sad. It's fine to shed a tear that you have to miss your child's concert. By acknowledging your feelings, hopefully you'll also appreciate what you're gaining by working.

See all parenting content on HealthyWomen.org.

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