Working Mom Guilt and How to Tackle it!
Working mom guilt is REAL! But being able to manage it is key. Because whether you're an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, or you work in the corporate world, you have two huge roles—and you want to thrive in both of them!
But let’s get real for a minute—busy careers can bring a lot of pressure. Yet they can feel more fulfilling to us women than parenting, especially when our kids are really little.
I know it’s not popular to say, but it’s the truth!
Because at work you get validation. You get appreciation. You know what you have to do to succeed. There are steps. Rules.
Oftentimes at home—especially when you have really little kids, or a child with special needs—there is none of that.
Know that if you’re feeling disconnected from your family right now, it’s okay. There is no shame in that. And there’s no shame in saying that you need help navigating working mom guilt. Mom-ing is the one job that women do with no training with no practice and no instruction manuals. So it’s darn difficult!
But today, I’m going to share with you working moms the tips I’ve learned to help shed the guilt and make your time at home with your family more meaningful. And if you like what you read here today, please don’t forget to pick up a copy of my award-winning book, The Yelling Cure!
Reduce stress at home
Children as young as one can feel your stress, working moms. So it’s important to be aware of how we’re feeling when we step away from work to be with our family.
Perhaps more importantly is knowing that our children watch us—better than they’ll ever listen to us! They see how we act, how we respond, and how we handle situations. And then they model our behavior.
Consider that when you operate from a place of stress, it can cause you to act unstable. This is natural! After all, you’re acting out of your, “fight versus flight” response which is purely biological.
But it also means you might be saying “yes” to something your kids ask one minute, then you’re taking it away as a punishment for bad behavior the next. Xbox, anyone?
That’s why reducing the stress you carry into time with your family is critical. And knowing begins with taking a minute to be quiet and be still with yourself. Check in with your body and ask it—are you stressed? If so, why?
It may feel a bit silly the first few times you do it, but checking in with yourself and being honest is key to reducing your stress levels.
Stress can be the root cause of a lot of negative behaviors we display—and this is true in our kids, too! So if when you check in with yourself it’s important to notice changes in your daily behavior that may point to carrying stress.
Examples include if you’re suffering from sleep loss, changed appetite, emotional outbursts, or even difficulty learning or committing something to memory—it could all be stress related!
Tackle Stress at the Roots
Okay, so you realize you’re stressed. Great! Now what?
First, give yourself some grace—especially if your stress ties back to working mom guilt. You are only human. Self-compassion for the human condition is so important when you’re a working mom. I talk about this more in my award-winning book, The Yelling Cure.
Next, realize that your brain is more tilted toward the negative experiences in your life. This is called the negativity bias. And to counteract it, it’s important to shift your perspective to the more positive aspects of your day. This is especially important when you’re feeling stressed!
If you’re having trouble doing either of these things, I would encourage you to STEP AWAY from whatever you’re doing. Working. Parenting. Doesn’t matter. You need to tackle your stress before you can do good work or be a good mom—and that’s a fact.
Can you go for a brief walk outside? Maybe even go sit on your patio for a minute if you can’t totally leave the house. Being outside will do wonders for your perspective.
Another important tip working moms need to consider is the idea of work time versus parent time—especially if you’re working from home!
Oftentimes, our work day feels like it slips away from us. And this can send us into a stress tailspin when we have to transition over to being a mom—because all we can think about is the work we didn’t get done!
So when looking to better manage your time, I encourage you to consider Parkinson's Law which states that the amount of work required to complete something will adjust fit the time allotted.
What does this mean?
Say you want to complete your work by five o'clock. If you go by Parkinson's Law and you set your intention to be done working at five o’clock, you’ll finish your tasks at or before that time. In a nutshell, this law helps to increase your productivity.
Ultimately this will give you more time to relax and recharge, which is essential to your long-term well being and your long-term productivity.
On the other hand, when you work longer, studies show you’re much less productive! Crazy, right? So setting a stop time and being disciplined about it is critical to managing our time and managing our stress—even though it feels like the opposite should be true.
When you work in corporate, this “end time” is often made easier to adhere to by the commute home. But when you work from home, you have to give yourself space to transition.
So tomorrow, at the time you set, I encourage you to step away from your work—maybe go for a short walk or head to your bedroom for a brief meditation. Make it something you’re able to do daily to help your body learn to recognize the transition from working mom into simply mom.
No matter what your daily transition is, the next step is to use that time to tap into what you’re feeling after your work day. Put a name to it. Because when you name it, you can tame it.
Are you feeling accomplished? Frazzled? Angry? Discombobulated? Content?
After you’ve named what you’re feeling, and really allowed yourself to feel that no matter how uncomfortable it is to do so, you need to set your intentions for the remainder of the day.
Maybe you set an intention to leave work behind and be present with your family—even if you’re stressed about something you didn’t get done. Perhaps you set an intention to be the silliest parent you can be. Or you set an intention to be a good listener when your kids are talking to you.
When you do this enough, it will become autopilot—and will allow you to respond intentionally to a variety of things at work and as a mom as opposed to reacting.
Teach your children this, too. Because they often can’t put a name to what they’re feeling. So you have to be there for them and realize that their actions may be taking place due to underlying stress. So change their environment. Go for a walk. Demonstrate the behavior you wish for them to take on. Remember, they’re watching you!
Keep in mind, intention setting doesn’t only need to happen as you step away from work and into your role as parent. Setting intentions can be helpful throughout your day! Maybe you feel like your child is misbehaving. Walk away and take a moment to breathe. Set an intention to have patience. Or your boss calls you with more work. Stop to breathe. Set an intention to commit only to what you can—and to not stress about the remainder.
Learn to Say No
This is another important lesson to help you reduce your stress.
And I know, it’s easier said than done. Especially for us people pleasers! But tonight I want you to take a good, hard look at what you can remove from your plate, working moms. Step away from trying to do everything yourself all of the time!
Ask your husband to help with the dishes or folding the laundry. Ask your kids to help put things away. Hire someone to do the grocery shopping or the cleaning or the organizing. Search for ways to get some of your life back! Because doing so will help you feel more balanced—and less stressed.
Consider that if you invest a little bit of time here on yourself—with your stress, with giving yourself grace and understanding and going easy on yourself, with putting back into yourself—little bits here and there will build up to a lot.
And this investment of time is going to pay for itself exponentially with your well being as well as with your family's well being!
Isn’t that worth it?
The bottom line to helping yourself, working moms? Is that you actually NEED to help yourself. There is simply no other way to state it. This is something I discuss more in my award-winning book, The Yelling Cure!
Taking care of yourself, loving yourself, even forgiving yourself is number one to filling your own cup and reducing your stress—enabling you to fill the cups and reduce the stress of others.
But know this: You are not in this battle alone! So many people care about you and want you to be happy and succeed. Including me.
About the Author
Robbin is a global parenting expert. In her work as a Certified Parent Coach, she’s helped thousands of families all over the world, find more joy and connection with their kids so they can have the cooperation and relationship they always wanted.
Robbin’s award winning book, The Yelling Cure, is Mompreneur approved, and has sold over 300,000 copies all over the globe. Robbin hosts the podcast, Parenting our Future, where she helps parents navigate the complicated world of raising kids so they thrive! She has brilliant guests who share their expertise in areas such as, Co-Parenting, sleep solutions, raising boys, managing screen time, keeping your family safe, mental health and so much more.
To find out more about Robbin and her work, visit her here: www.parentingforconnection.com