Coping with Working Mom Guilt

For some mothers, leaving their children to go to work ranks right up there with facing a firing squad; the sad looks on their little faces and the nagging feeling that you are going to miss some spectacular moment in their development that you will never be able to regain are only a couple of the agonizing things that make life miserable. Mom guilt is nothing new; it has been around since the first mothers went to work centuries ago. However, that does not mean there is nothing you can do to cope with it.

Redefine Your Perspective

While you may feel like your situation is unique, you are not the only mother who has ever had to leave her children to go to work. There are countless other women who share your pain; in fact, you probably work with a few of them.

Your Career Does Not Hurt Your Children

There is an outdated theory that women who work are emotionally scarring their children. This is false and unfounded. Not only are you teaching your children the value of hard work, but you are showing them how to be independent. So be proud that you are a good role model.

Spend Quality Time Whenever You Can

How you spend time with your kids matters more than how much time you spend: a thirty minute trip to the park will be more memorable than four hours of running errands and going to appointments. Whenever you have time to spend, make it memorable.

Be Involved

No one is saying you have to quit your job to coach your kid’s soccer team, but try to show an interest. Even when you cannot attend his big game, ask him to give you the play-by-play and share his enthusiasm.

Stay Connected

With text messaging, instant messaging, email, video chatting, social media, and all of the other gifts technology has given us, there is simply no reason to be disconnected from your kids. Throughout the day, whenever you have downtime, take a minute to say, “Hi.” Kids who have parents who check-in regularly are less likely to fall in with the wrong crowd.

Choose the Best Caregiver

If you cannot be there, choose someone you can trust, who shares your values. If you know your children are in good hands, you will not feel so guilty about leaving them.

Remember Why You Work

Whether it is for the love of your job, the benefits, or simply because your family needs the money, remind yourself why you go. In addition, remind yourself what you and your family gain from your job.

Do the Math

Of course mothers of infants and toddlers want to be there to witness all of the magical things that take place during the first years. But parents of older children may find solace in time calculations. Between school, extracurricular activities, sports, and friends, parents might be surprised to know that the amount of time they are actually missing is comparatively insignificant.


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