Mom guilt is a real struggle that many women go through. It is no doubt that working mothers face a lot of pressure, both in their job and at home. But with statistics showing that 1 in 4 mothers raising their kids alone, working is, in most cases, a necessity rather than a preference.

That first time you return to work after bonding with your baby for several weeks is the hardest. Mom's guilt may creep in even if you are not new to juggling work and raising kids.

With some practice and a bit of time, you can overcome working mom guilt. Let’s get started on what mother’s guilt is and how you can beat it.

What Is Mom Guilt?

The majority of employed mothers experience working mom guilt at a point. You may have felt it that first day you returned to work after maternity leave. Or that time you ran into a mom friend at the store, and they asked you how you are handling leaving your baby for most of the day. Maybe you felt some guilt when you got home and found that you missed your baby’s first step.

Mom guilt is a constant feeling that you are not spending adequate time with your kids. It does not happen to employed mothers only. It also happens to stay-at-home moms and even mothers who run their own businesses. Questioning yourself on whether you are giving your children enough attention is quite common.

So, should you feel guilty for holding a job when you have children? As a mom, you shouldn’t feel any guilt, apologize, or beat yourself up for having a career.

7 Ways to Get Over Your Guilt for Being a Working Mom

Is mom's guilt pulling you down? Let’s get down to the steps you can take to overcome it and feel better.

Make the Most of the Time You Actually Have with Your Children

There is no point in feeling guilty for going to work every day if you cannot or don’t want to change. Instead of spending energy on these thoughts, think about the times you get to spend with your baby and try to make the most of it. If you like to read stories with your child and tuck them in during bedtime, or you always eat together in the morning before you leave, focus on those times. You will start to look forward to them and feel a lot less guilty.

Delegate Some Tasks to Your Loved Ones

Women are 8 times more likely to manage their kids’ schedules and look after them when they are sick, which in turn takes time off their workday. To get your career going and still make sure your child receives the best care, bring your partner, family, or close friends on board. It would help to know that your kid is getting support and love even when you are not there.

Don’t be afraid to share responsibilities, such as house chores, so that you have more time with your baby. If you are a solo mom, you can always connect with other mothers to share babysitting tasks and get emotional support.

Think About the Long-Term Effects on Your Career

While you would prefer to stay home and care for your child fulltime, think about the long-term impact on your career and self. The years you will be spending with your toddler will move pretty quickly, and soon, they will start to go to school fulltime. Then, you will begin to think about the career ambitions to put on hold. An extended break from work can cost a woman 43% on earning potential. Not to mention how difficult it is to get a good job after being out of work for so long.

Keep Supportive People in Your Circle and Avoid the Rest

In many instances, working mom guilt stems from other people’s comments. A 2018 survey about gender discrimination in the workplace that examined data from 51632 respondents across 18 countries found that motherhood myths are used as justification for discrimination against women at work. These myths portray working mothers as neglectful of their duty of caring for children and a threat to mother-child bonding. Set boundaries with people that make such remarks. If you can’t completely avoid them (maybe they are close family members), change the topic when they try to bring it up or excuse yourself. Eventually, they will get it and stop nagging you.

Recognize That You Will Miss Out on Some Things

You won’t be there for every event or milestone that your child makes. When you come to terms with that, the easier it will be for you to adjust to caring for a baby and holding a job at the same time. Instead of focusing on guilt for not being there, look for ways you can check in on your child during the day. For example, through an app.

Take a Day Off to Spend Time with Your Kids

Another way to fight overwhelming mother guilt is to give yourself a break from your job. If you’ve been working continuously for some time now, it will help to take a paid day off. Spend this time bonding and catching up with what your child is doing. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, paid vacation days were available to 76% of workers in the private sector and 60% of employees in state and local government. You can expect between 10 to 13 days after one year of service and more as tenure increases.

Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried these tips and working mother guilt keeps plaguing you, it might be time to look for professional assistance. Talk to a trusted therapist or psychologist. If you don’t know one, talk it over with your primary healthcare provider to get a recommendation.
That’s it for now. Remember, making a proactive effort to fight mom guilt will make you a happy person, and this joy will trickle down to your children as well. But do it for yourself first. In those days you feel particularly low, remind yourself that the situation isn’t permanent.

Author's Bio: 

Alice Berg is a blogger and career advisor at ResumeEdge, who helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people to prepare for their careers. You can find Alice on Medium.