Working mom’s guilt is practically an epidemic. Most of the working moms I know feel guilty for leaving their child alone (at home or in kindergarten), so Welcome to the Club of WMFG (Working Moms Feeling Guilty), and yes you’re not alone. Trust me there’s no single mother out there who doesn’t feel guilty in one way or another, the only difference are varying degrees and varying amounts on various days.
I started to work 4 weeks after I gave birth to my loving daughter Bora (I gave birth with C-section surgery). She was only 7 weeks old when I had to travel abroad for 3 nights, and you can only image how painful was for me working for 8 hours a day and knowing that my baby girl is crying out-loud, or to travel miles away from her and not being able to see her for 3 days at all. Trust me you don’t want to live that. I was neither a good mom, nor a good employee (or at least as I wanted to be), I was suffering from double guilt because while at home I was concerned about my job while at home, whereas while at work I couldn’t stop myself thinking about my baby girl. I felt like I’m forever coming up short when it comes to doing enough, giving enough and being enough for my child. The more time was passing the more depressed and guilty I was feeling
Sometimes guilt can be a warning signal that you need to make a change in your life. I saw that my work was consuming me and my time (not only during working hours but my time at home too), so I decided to change my job. This is one of the hardest and the best decision I did in my last years (carrier vise). So if you’re a working mother feeling guilty ask yourself “Can I do something about it?” If you see a red flag, fix it. Even if you can’t correct it right away, resolving to do so can dispel the guilt.
The second very import suggestion from my side to you is to create a list of the reasons you work (money, satisfaction, sanity). This will help you as a reminder of your personal principles and wishes. Many times this helped me realize that because of my work I can afford to make some of her wishes come true (sending her to holidays, send her to better educational kindergarten, etc.). When you choose to combine motherhood and career there will always be trade-offs and we have to deal with it, we should be aware that we need to make compromises and sacrifices in this regard.
The weight on what it takes to be a ‘good parent’ every day is moving up, and today it is so ridiculously high and fake that it has started to be discussing. I enjoy being involved in my daughter’s activities but I’m also aware that I can’t and don’t have to be for every little milestone. I feel guilty when I am tired after work and my daughter is full of energy and is expecting me to play with her; I feel guilty also that every single day I am doing laundry or dishes instead of playing with her – but instead of feeding my brain with this kind of negative thoughts I instead think how happy I’m to have a work that make sense, and be part of a team where my work is appreciated; I am proud that my daughter has a family dinner every night of the week and has free and loving time every night before sleeping time to share both with me and my husband; and last but not least I’m so proud for her to be raised in a happy family where love and respect are pillar of the house. Doing so takes the judgment out, and allows me give myself permission to do what actually works best for me and my family – minus the should-inflicted guilt.
And my last recommendation in this article for you is to stay away from people that make you feel guilty. Don’t compare yourself with other and don’t let other judge you. . The vast majority of working mothers I encounter work incredibly hard to be the best parent they can, and that deserves encouragement, not criticism. What other mothers are doing is none of your business. Doing what works for you, for your children and your family to stay happy, is all that matters. The reality is that you do not have to be a perfect parent to be a great parent.