Dealing with Mom Guilt – Part I
Working Mom’s Guilt
Becoming a mother is one of the most beautiful, amazing, rewarding….and guilt-inducing things you will ever go through. The one thing most mothers has in common is this horrible feeling of inadequacy and guilt in not being a “good” mother. We face this no matter what kind of mom you are. Over the next few entries, we will discuss ways to alleviate those pesky little negative voices in your head.
The Working Mom’s Worry:
“I don’t spend enough time with my kids. I am missing out on EVERYTHING!”
This is a worry that I myself have experienced, and honestly am still experiencing it, being that I am a working mom. The feeling is often brought on when I am told about something my son has done while I am at work. No matter who you are, or how much you love your job, no working mother wants to feel that they are failing at the job of being a mother, even if they are succeeding at their chosen career.
Tennis pro, mega athlete, and all-around Superwoman Serena Williams recently posted on her social media that she missed her daughter Olympia’s first steps because she was away training.
Many mothers chimed in to stand in support of Williams and admit that they too experienced similar feelings over missing major milestones or accomplishments. If you are worried that these missed moments are a sign that you are a “bad” mother – STOP THAT! You are not!
Even if you sat in a room with your child all day and stared at them nonstop, the moment you went to the bathroom would probably be when she stands, walks, and gives a full monologue. You cannot predict when these things will happen, and the truth is when you are a working mother there is a greater chance that you may miss some moments. Though this may be a painful truth, it does not have to mean that you will miss out on every joyous moment.
Here are some tips from one mom to another that I found helpful to me to deal with Mommy FOMO.
1. Schedule ‘Mom & Me’ Time
We know that for most moms our life is a non-stop hamster wheel of things to do, so perhaps this may seem like a daunting task, but it may be worth the head space to try. Can there be a routine or activity that you have with your little one that is just for the two of you? Something that can ease that guilt of not being with them all day? Perhaps bedtime can be ‘Mommy-time’? Can you spend some time when you come home to snuggle, play with or read to your little one?
For me and my son this involved getting down on all fours and chasing him back and forth in our apartment as soon as I walked through the door. He is two now and will still immediately drop to the floor and scurry away laughing when I come home, this is our “thing” and he loves it! For him it is the joy of chasing me and being chased, and for me it is the joy of hearing his laughter as soon as I come home. For that wonderful sound, every other chore can wait!
2. Have a ‘Mommy Date’
I can still vividly remember the joyous feeling as a child when my mother would tell me that we were going to have a “date” together. It made me feel so excited and special, because I knew that my mom was going to spend time with just me. This was time for us to do something together and for me to have her undivided attention. These things are important to kids.
The “date” doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive, it doesn’t even need to mean going out. You could have a date at home that involves playing their favorite games, having them teach you a new dance move, or even cooking their favorite dish together. It is simply time carved out for individual attention and interaction with your child.
Also, the “date” doesn’t always have to be pre-planned, surprise your child with a day off together, perhaps before school is letting out for the summer, and spend the day hanging out. Your child will think you are the coolest mom ever and you can still use the day to get some errands done if you’d like but remember to include and focus on doing things that your kid will enjoy.
3. Include your child in your activities
Sometimes as mothers one of the hardest things to do is to allow others to help us with the laundry list of tasks that we have to do. Therein lies a problem; we have so many things to do, we don’t want to have any assistance in finishing tasks, we complain about having so much to do and no help to do it. Could you perhaps have some household chore or errand that becomes something that you and your kid can do together? They could become your ‘gardening assistant’, your ‘sous chef’, your ‘laundry buddy’, etc.
Even if they don’t do the task as well as you would or as neatly as you’d like, try to resist taking over the task. Doing these things together will not only allow you to have one-on-one time with them but will also help them to learn a new skill as well. Be sure to give them plenty of praise and commendation for their help as well.
4. Be Kind to Yourself
This may sound like such a simple concept, but it can be one of the hardest things for a mom. We as women can be so critical of ourselves and especially so as moms. When we look at other moms we feel that they can achieve some level of motherhood that we are not able to achieve no matter how hard we try. DON’T DO THIS!
Every mother is struggling, every mother is trying her best, and for that reason every mom is awesome! A better measurement of your job well done is to look at the light in your child’s eyes when you walk in the door, the width of the smile on their face when they get to spend time with you and the volume of their laughter when you are having fun together. Even when you think you are a terrible mother to your child you are amazing. Remember that!
So to all my working Mom-friends out there; you’re doing great honey! Keep it up!
Do you have any tips for how you deal with your Mommy-guilt? Let me know in the comments below.