Truth be told, at some point if you are a working mum you will suffer with the guilt of leaving your child in daycare whilst racing off to work for another 8 or even 12 hour shift. To be honest I never knew the term “Mum Guilt” existed until a few years back, I just thought it was called life.
We will always (well sometimes!) miss our children whilst we are at work, of course we absolutely adore them and all their little craziness but it doesn’t just stop there though does it?
It’s true that as a new or even a mum of middle-aged children you feel pressure to have everything just pristine. From the perfect house, the 4WD car, the figure, and the baby etc. I’m sure many of you will agree this is totally unrealistic and honestly do we really want this?
My house isn’t arranged beautifully like a show-home. It does not have immaculate white furniture and carpets, or vases full of flowers and pictures of every milestone of our children’s lives. Far from it, and overtime I have realised it really does not matter. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and quite frankly what is perfect?
Am I bothered by the mess? Honestly? Yes slightly, it does annoy me but I’ve had to lower my expectations of ‘tidy’ with now teenage children, being a working mum and a business owner. If someone wants to come in to my home and judge the way my house looks then perhaps they’ve visited the wrong house and the wrong person.
In all honesty I did think once the kids started full time school this so called saying as “Mum Guilt” would disappear….but nope it still dragged on, with missed schools events, assemblies, award evenings and after school sporting activities. But what I failed to recognise was that my children actually felt inspired by having a working mum. They understand in today’s society having a mother and a father working to provide for the family’s need is necessary and deep down they have a great deal of respect that their Mum is successful in her business. Yes its true!!!
I remember the time our daughter was graduating form Year 6 and all the children had to stand on a podium at the graduation assembly and declare what they wanted to do when they left school. Our daughter being a determined little cherub (she might just take after her Mother!!) took her place on the podium and for the first time ever I had no idea what she was going to say. There were lots of school teachers, hair dressers, a few doctors and lawyers but our daughter stood up with a great deal of pride and courage and said…. I was waiting for the hairdresser or maybe an actress!!! But she blurted out “Entrepreneur”. I was in complete shock but also complete awe of what this little girl had just said. Yes I have worked for most of her schooling years and yes I have missed out on a few special moments but the fact my daughter wants to follow in my footsteps means the world to me! I had so much built up guilt for not being at every special event, thinking she would be dishearten by my work but in fact she was motivated to pursue this career path for herself.
Beating yourself up with Working Mum Guilt – is honestly not worth the energy or stress you place on your body. Trust me, I did it for years and looking back it was a complete waste of time and energy. So here are my 6 top tips to avoid the guilt and embrace the work life balance with the people who matter the most in my life:
1. You’re an Awesome Mum
It doesn’t matter if you’re working or a stay at home mum – you’re AWESOME! Just because you go out to work does not mean you are doing a worse job as a mother compared to mums who stay at home with their children. Remember whatever you do, your child will still love you.
2. Trade Offs Are Inevitable
At some point there will have to be a trade off with either your child or your work. There will be times you won’t be able to make it to an event because you will be busy at work – it’s not easy or practical to walk away from a deadline or a meeting for each school event.
It’s just how it is. It’s not ideal but it’s easier to accept it for what it is rather than worry yourself to death about it. The times you do make it to one of your children’s events will be extra special for you and them as you’ll both know and understand the trade-off you’ve had to make to be there.
3. You ‘re Doing A Great Job
Yes REALLY! I know everything probably isn’t always perfect and you don’t get as much housework done as you’d like. In years to come your little one won’t moan at you for having an ironing pile however, they will remember you doing the best you could for them. If there’s one thing children need more than anything it’s to be loved. By being a working mum this does not mean you don’t love them any less than a SAHM - so give yourself a break!
4. Good Enough Is Perfect Enough
As a working mum you can’t be at every school event, or have the cleanliest house on the street or always manage to cook a freshly prepared meal. Does this really matter? Not at all. Why? Because nobody is perfect it’s impossible.
If you manage to attend a few school events, occasionally show the house the duster or get that occasional take away meal – well done! I think you’re doing pretty amazing to pull all that off and a provide for your family.
5. Your Choice for Your Family is Right
Never doubt yourself – you made the right decision that’s best for you and your family by being a working mum. Every family’s situation is different and no-one has the right to judge you. You’re doing the best you can for your family’s needs.
6. Mums are entitled to Ambitions
Yes! you heard me right. Although it took me several years to work this out, you my friend don’t need to wait to fulfil a dream or pursue a goal. The stereo-type ways of waiting until the children are off your hands are gone. With combined responsibilities whilst running the household and commitment between you and your partner you can ensure you are the most amazing caretaker to your family. No one needs to give you permission – you’ve got this!