“There will be times you feel like you’ve failed. But in the eyes, heart, and mind of your child, you are SUPER MOM!” – Stephanie Precourt
I give all praises to stay at home moms. I know it’s not easy, at all. I’m a stay at home mom on Saturday and Sunday. It’s more work than being in the office 8+ hours a day and kids yell at me while I try to drink coffee and not spill it all over my pj’s as I’m being tugged on.
I do realize that a stay at home mom also feels guilt, but since I’m a working mom, and it’s all I know, then I want to share with you my letter to the working mom. I wish that all moms could live guilt free and use the energy that is currently occupied with guilt to being more present in their everyday lives.
Before you read my letter… I want you to read what I’ve collected from several local moms to find out what triggers their guilt the most, how they have overcome guilt, OR how they were able to avoid the guilt. Talk about getting REAL, I love all my friends and family for sharing.
• If i was a stay at home mom, I would like to believe I would have the house in order, laundry done, etc. This way, I could spend even more quality time with the girls.
• The thought of my daughter being with someone else more than she was with me, because I was working, was hard. I saw the consequences once I quit my job to stay home. I had guilt from missing events or special occasions at daycare or school because I had to give a briefing, or go to training, or meetings. I felt like I was supporting my daughter mostly financially and not emotionally, like I wanted.
• Time and task management are some of my biggest struggles of being a working mom. Being a single mother who works full time and goes to school, I struggle with keeping up with my home and chores. It sometimes makes the weekends tough because everything is so compiled & I hate to take time away from my son.
• It seems like every time I have a training class, or something mandatory put on the books at work, a kid gets sick. Guilt? It’s immediately plastered all over my heart when I get the call that my daughter needs picked up from daycare, and I can’t go get her because I’m in training. Having an amazing husband in this journey does make life easier, because at least my kids get to be with one of us, but it doesn’t erase the tremendous amount of guilt I feel.
• I never really felt guilty. I always felt that working was mentally healthy for me. I was able to take off for events or when kids were sick. My husband and I coached the kid’s sports and spent all of our free time with them. It’s just hard to feel guilty when I know I helped contribute to a better life for my kids.
• I’ve learned, over time, that guilt cannot rule me. I put my husband and kids first in everything I do, and let all feelings of uncertainty or guilt fall to the waste side. I can tell you that once you figure this out, life is far more enjoyable.
Below is my letter to you; the working mom.
Dear working mom,
First, I want you to know how amazing you are. Though you might not feel it, I want you to know that you are enough. You are doing a great job, and despite working all day five days a week, your kids will turn out fine.
Being a working mom isn’t easy. I understand what it feels like to be burning from both ends; juggling work, home, kids, family, friends, and extracurricular activities. (Just to name a few!) No one warned me about momma’s guilt when I was pregnant, and I really wish they had. What I really wish is that someone would have given me advice on how to avoid momma’s guilt and embrace being a working and family woman.
I’m fortunate enough to have an amazing husband who does just as much as I do with the kids. I know we don’t all have that extra support, and it may add to the guilt or stress of being a mom… Just remember through your motherhood journey that you had kids to enrich your life.
Mom’s guilt hit immediately after I went back to work after having my first child; being away from her all day really tugged at my heart. Part of me wished I could stay home with her and the other part was thankful for a great job to come to each day and how I could help provide for her. The more and more I started feeling this guilt, the more and more I knew I needed to do something about it; quitting my job was not an option, but slowing down and prioritizing was.
It’s time to refocus our energy
One simple word, but it means so much. I go to work each day for various reasons, some of which are: paycheck, sanity, and adult interaction. When I leave work at 4pm each day, I do just that. I LEAVE WORK. I do not take work home with me, and you shouldn’t either. Work is over, and now it’s time to go home and love on the littles.
I may work, but my babies know I love them; they feel how strong my love is and they know they don’t get the short end of the stick. They don’t need a scrap book page for each month out of the year to feel my love; they need ice cream dates and snuggles on the couch. They will be OK if I forget to take pictures at their first birthday party, because they will know I was there and I was present with them. My life outside of work revolves around my family, and I love to spend all the time I can with my kids, because it feels like I really only get to see them on the weekends. DON’T take that time for granted. Cherish it.
We look at social media and see our acquaintances reading 50 bed time stories to their kids “because it’s good for them” (to be perfectly honest, my kids are lucky if they get half of a story before bed), we read news articles about what it means to be the perfect parent, or we find out the neighbors nine month old can read.
What is it these days? Everyone compares their child to the one sitting next to them, or judges others for how they choose to parent their kids. So, put a stop to that, if you do it. I’ve never compared my children to others – how unfair is that to your child? Now, the parent who gives their kid coke with breakfast… OK, OK, I’ll work on NOT judging. Apparently it works for them?
• Stop paying attention to social media; we all know everything is fluffed up on Facebook anyway. People only want you to see the perfect moments.
• Don’t fall into the trap of what society claims make the best parents
• Who cares if your neighbors nine month old can read? Maybe that kid will solve all of these GMO problems. Kudos.
Sometimes, as a working mom, we have to make sacrifices, both at work and at home. The best advice I can give you here is to always put your kids and family first. I have a boss who understands the struggles of a working mom, so if I need to leave with a 5 minute notice, I can. I know that we don’t all have a boss like that; you have to do what you have to do as a working mother.
We are all different, our views are all different, so our parenting will be different… you know what’s right for your kids, no one else does. Don’t let “expectations” rule your parenting.
3. Rid your life of distractions
Be present for your kids (I’m still working on this one…I gave up Facebook for lent). Let go of your phone, or tablet, or TV and be truly present with your kids.
• Leave your work at work.
• Facebook will be OK if you aren’t stalking every 5 minutes, and stop trying to multitask anyway, it doesn’t work.
• The dishes can wait and the laundry can sit in the basket for a little while.
Why? Because your babies need you. Your family needs you. Try to step back, take a deep breath, and turn away from distractions.
I think of it as a journey… My journey to becoming an unapologetic, present, and confident working mom. I feel like I’m getting there, but it’s not something that happens overnight. Being a working mom and balancing life as it comes, really makes me feel like a super hero. And for those moments when I think I want to be a stay at home mom, I remember that this life actually works for us and everyone is happy and we are all OK.
I hope that you can let go of guilt and allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect.
A working mom