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Coping With ‘Working Mom’ Guilt

Career and Finance

Coping With ‘Working Mom’ Guilt

Working mom’s guilt is the biggest downside to working away from the home. As a working mom, you get lots of benefits, from feeling a sense of contribution, to retaining your identity, to supporting your family. But a feeling of guilt is inevitable, especially if your kids are very young. Here are some tips for helping you work through the rough patches:

1. Do whatever it takes to feel confident that you are making the choice that’s right for you.
In recent years, there has been a bit of media frenzy over working mothers. Although some sources would have you believe that working mothers and their children are depressed, anxious and stressed, recent studies have shown otherwise. In fact, there are numerous studies on both sides of the issue, both for and against mothers working outside the home. Read research and commentary on both sides of the issue and make the choice that’s right for you and your family. No one else is just like you, and no one else can make the choice for you. You know yourself, your family dynamic and your kids.

It’s also important to be open to re-evaluating your choices as your professional and family roles continue to grow and evolve. With so many parents in the work force, this time in history holds unprecedented opportunities to craft a working arrangement that can work for you and for your kids. If your working mommy guilt has become too much to bear, it might be time to take another look at all the various possibilities.

2. Make a list of all the reasons that you choose to work outside the home.
If you take note of your motivations for working, it can be easier to get through those days when you may feel like you may have made the wrong choice. Your reasons will be very personal. Some mothers work out of financial need. Others feel they wouldn’t make good stay at home moms. Still others want to set a good example of an independent working woman. Keep your list handy and pull it out anytime you feel that working mommy guilt creeping up.

3. Don’t engage in a debate with people who have made other choices.
Whether it’s your mother-in-law, a stay-at-home friend, or an online message board, make the choice to avoid arguments with people who want to make you feel guilty about your personal choices. Know in your heart that your decision was based on what is best for you and what is best for your family. If someone presses you, just say that you are doing what works for you and leave it at that. At the same time, try not to be judgmental of moms who stay home. We are all in this world together and each of us has a different path to walk. Being open to other people’s choices may help you feel less defensive about your own.

4. Make the time with your child special.
One of the best parts of being a working mom is that the time you spend together during the weekend and evenings can be extra special. Plan special activities and really be in the moment with your child. Sometimes this time together is all that you need to refresh your outlook and take pride in your choice.

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