Working moms face a number of unique challenges, and in many ways, they’re held to impossible standards. If you’re a working mom, you’ve probably felt some form of guilt, shame, or doubt over your choice to return to work after having a baby. Maintaining your career while being a mother is an incredible achievement, but it’s normal to wonder if you made the right choice. You might feel the pang of working mom guilt when you drop your child off at daycare or when you have to take a work-related phone call while you’re with your children.
If you’re struggling with working mom guilt, you’re not alone. Plenty of moms feel guilty for returning to work, and this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the wrong choice. You’re the only person who can make these tough decisions, and you should trust yourself to do what’s best for your family.
No one should feel guilty for being a full-time working mom. For the sake of your own well-being, you should recognize why you feel guilty and what you can do to cope with working mom guilt.
Why Do We Feel Working Mom Guilt?
Sometimes, working mom guilt comes from your internal thoughts and feelings. You’re so happy to be a mom, and you want to spend every possible minute with your child. You’re scared of missing a major milestone or not being there when your child needs you. You wonder if you being at work is the best thing for your family right now.
Women may also feel working mom guilt because of judgment or criticism from others. Unfortunately, many people like to judge or shame moms regardless of their choices. If you choose to stay home with your child, someone may criticize you for giving up your career. If you decide to go back to work, others may tell you you’re making a mistake. While you realize you shouldn’t let others dictate how you feel, it’s still disheartening to hear your friends, family, or neighbors question your decisions.
Guilt isn’t an easy emotion to control. You can’t help how you feel, and even if you realize that your working mom guilt is unnecessary and unhelpful, it’s not easy to let it go. Taking a step back and exploring why you feel guilty can help you start to overcome it, though.
The Importance of Accepting Help
Working moms face immense responsibility every single day. They’re expected to be completely devoted to their career, but at the same time, they’re expected to raise their children all on their own as if they don’t have another job.
No one can do everything by themselves, and that’s okay. One of the biggest sources of working mom guilt is not being able to juggle every little task every single day. It’s very common for moms to feel like a failure if they forget something or let their mind wander to another task on their list. Sometimes, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for you to accomplish everything by yourself. The first step toward overcoming your working mom guilt is realizing your limits, accepting that you might need help, and reaching out for assistance when it’s time.
For most parents, the perfect balance between family and career doesn’t exist unless you allow people to help you. If you try to manage everything on your own, you’ll quickly feel burned out, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Not only should you accept help, but you should welcome it. This will allow you to stay energized so that you can make the most of your time at work and at home.
5 Tips for Overcoming Working Mom Guilt
Here are five steps you can take to learn to cope with working mom guilt:
1. Practice Self-care
As a mom, your tendency is probably to take care of everyone else before yourself. If you deplete your energy, though, you’ll start to struggle with your day-to-day tasks. Spending a little time on self-care every day will make a big difference in your stress levels, and it will make managing the responsibilities of being a mom and a full-time employee feel much easier.
Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate, expensive, or time-consuming. You could take a long shower to decompress at the end of a stressful day, or you could listen to your favorite music while you get ready in the morning. What’s most important is that you make regular gestures of kindness to yourself.
2. Don’t Let Others Make Your Rules for You
Every family and every individual is different, and it’s not fair to yourself to let someone else dictate your life. Remind yourself that other moms don’t make your rules, and you don’t make theirs. By freeing yourself of being held to others’ standards, you’ll get rid of a major source of working mom guilt.
3. Be Careful with Social Media
It’s easy to compare your life to the posts you see from peers on Facebook or Instagram. Remember that most people put their best selves on social media, but they don’t tell the full story. They show the beautiful family photos and share the heartwarming moments, but they don’t show the stress, the sleepless nights, or the self-doubt that all parents experience at times. When you compare the complete picture of your life to the filtered version that others display on social media, you’re not being fair to yourself.
If you find that you feel worse about yourself after scrolling through social media, it might be time to take a break. If you notice that there are certain people whose social media presence is a source of stress for you, you could unfollow or mute them for a few months.
4. Remember Why You Do What You Do
Working mom guilt causes you to overlook all of your strengths and accomplishments and instead focus only on what you feel you’re missing. Make it a point to remind yourself every day that you are providing for your family. Remember that you’re working so that you can create a great life for your children and that you’re doing all you can to support them. And don’t forget that the one of the greatest assets you can have is your own personal identity, which often comes from your achievements including, but also beyond, motherhood.
5. Work with a Therapist
Stress and guilt are common experiences for parents, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with them on your own. If you feel like stress or anxiety is taking over your life, you should reach out for professional help.
Therapy for moms provides a valuable space where you can focus solely on yourself. Instead of putting everyone else ahead of you and worrying about all your responsibilities, you can take a moment to check in with yourself and reflect on your mental health. Therapy is a chance to explore how you feel and why, and it’s an opportunity to learn important coping skills for difficult emotions and experiences.
The Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers counseling for moms struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. Contact us today to learn more about our services.