Tips for Working Moms: How to Ditch the Guilt
By: Amanda Winstead
There are far too many tropes and stereotypes about the role of women in society. Some still believe a woman shouldn’t have to work. Others want to shatter the glass ceiling and see more female CEOs.
You don’t have to be at one end of these extremes. You can be a working mom and still take care of your family. But, it’s not uncommon for guilt to set in, especially if you have kids at home.
Most full-time jobs require you to be away from home most of the day. You might not be able to pick your kids up from school or get dinner on the table at a decent hour. As a result, you might rely on your partner, a family member, or even a babysitter to care for your kids most days.
If you’re feeling the pressure to push through that glass ceiling but you’re also feeling guilty for not being home, what can you do? The good news is you’re not alone. There are plenty of moms in your situation. The better news? There are a few things you can do every day to ditch that guilt, work hard for the money, and feel good about the time you spend with your family.
Rethink Your Values
Ditching your guilt is all about finding a healthy work-life balance. If you’re able to do that, you’ll be confident that you’re spending enough time with your family and in the office. Unfortunately, 48% of Americans consider themselves to be “workaholics,” so striking that balance will require some effort and dedication.
To commit yourself to find a better balance, revisit your values. Think about the things that are most important to you and compile a list. This comes more naturally to younger generations. For example, Millennial parents are already changing the workplace environment. They are demanding certain things from their places of business that allow them to find a balance and avoid getting burnt out. Some of those “demands” include:
- Childcare as a requirement
- Developed talent
- Expanded parental leave
If your family is your top priority, is your job supporting you or hindering you? If you’re working 50+ hours a week and ignoring your top priority, you’re going to feel guilty, stressed, and even anxious or depressed. In those cases, it may be time to look for another job where flexibility is part of the plan.
Manage Your Time
When you’re trying to balance work and your home life, it can feel like you barely have time to breathe. Some mothers are even going back to school to get new degrees for their jobs. That requires a balancing act between studying, working, and being a mom.
Being able to manage your time is crucial in those situations. Does that sound easier said than done? It doesn’t have to be. Time management is a commitment. It might not always go perfectly, but getting back on track as soon as possible will make things much easier for you. You might find that you have more time during the day than you realized, especially if you cut out the time you tend to “waste.”
How can you effectively manage your time when you’re working and trying to take care of your family? Try some of these helpful ideas:
- Set goals for yourself
- Prioritize your tasks
- Set time limits for each task
- Plan ahead
- Take breaks
- Stay organized
When you set goals and accomplish them, it’s an instant motivation booster. You’ll start to see exactly what you can accomplish, pushing you toward the next project. By making sure your goals are small and attainable, you can use them as stepping stones to whatever your grand prize might be.
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
While the term “self-care” gets thrown around a lot lately, it’s something you should take seriously. It’s important for moms and those with full-time jobs. As a working mom, you’ve got a double whammy of stress to deal with. You can’t give your best at the office or home if you’re burnt out, exhausted, or sick.
Making your mental and physical health priorities will help you to be more present and active in your work life and home life. You’ll feel better, have more energy, and be more engaged in every area of your life.
Self-care looks different for everyone. You don’t need to “treat yourself” to some expensive item experience. Instead, think of things you can do every day to make your well-being a priority, like:
- Cooking your favorite foods
- Catching up with an old friend
By taking a bit of time for yourself each day, you’ll feel less overwhelmed at work and less guilty at home. Your cup will be running over when you’re with your family because you’ll have more energy and less stress. So, you can give them your full attention without falling asleep on the couch after dinner.
Mom guilt is a real thing for working mothers. But, it doesn’t have to be. Keep these tips in mind to strike a better balance, focus on your priorities, and let go of the guilt that often comes from working full-time.