One of the things I have felt really passionate about and wanted to dive deeper in is MOM GUILT. But we’re going to do this in a way that’s a little more fun/spin on things as I share these tips. The truth of the matter is I struggle with mom guilt on a regular basis and it is something that we discuss VERY OFTEN in the group calls within The Systemize Your Life Academy. We’re really open and honest, especially over on the Facebook group where we share in our struggles with mom guilt and balancing working from the house.
I know if I struggle with mom guilt then it is most definitely something you struggle with too. But, I am going to share this in a really upbeat kind of way because I know that mom guilt is something that is a really heavy topic of discussion for so many of us. While it is a hard topic, I believe that as long as we are bringing the FUN into things, that we are able to GROW and pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and push forward that much easier and that much quicker! So let’s dive right on in to how I battle mom guilt as a working mom and throw in some hacks that you can start using in your own life too!
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
HOW I BATTLE MOM GUILT AS A WORKING MOM
I have mentioned before how we have a really open and honest group of women over inside The Systemize Your Life Academy, we recently had a new person join the community and observe from the very beginning how warm this community is and while I felt so incredibly honored to have someone feel that from the community, my hope is that you also feel that while you are here on the blog. I want this to be a place where you feel seen and understood, as well as a place where you feel like you can REALLY learn something and start working TODAY on it.
MY HISTORY WITH MOM GUILT
For those who don’t already know, I worked outside of the home when my first daughter was little. And as a single mom, I had to work A LOT to support her and to support us. And it was HARD! I had an established interpreting career I loved and I didn’t want to give that up by any means, and I never thought I’d be a mom. In fact, I was very focused on doing that side of life for a long time before I even thought of myself with kids. Truthfully, I didn’t even know that you could have children AND be a working woman at the same time. And truth be told that right there is my very passion for this blog, the podcast, THIS ENTIRE COMMUNITY is all about being able to have children, being there for your children, and have a business/career at the same time!
Quitting the corporate world
When I went into work when my first daughter was very little, and I was pumping, and being gone for nine hours of my daughter’s day, I couldn’t handle it. I made the decision to stop working in the corporate world and instead take on independent contract work as an interpreter instead, which did pay me a little more with more freedom, however it did require me to be a little more on demand. During that entire time, I experienced ALL kinds of mom guilt. At the time, what I was experiencing, while mom guilt, was more of a feeling that I knew I needed to work to be able to provide for me and my daughter and it was necessary completely at that time.
Then, when Blaine and I got married, I was working the event-based business that my mom and I started together, building our business completely from scratch, all while working my interpreting gig at the same time. And with Blaine also working and us experiencing a little more freedom of not needing my complete income to depend on, I began to slowly transition out of this position of where I was working full time. At this point, I had my second daughter and really wanted to be able to spend more time with her. And a whole new cycle of mom guilt presented itself.
ME TODAY WITH MOM GUILT
Fast forward to NOW, this experience of feeling like I am supposed to be acting as a stay-at-home mom, all while running my business from my home at the same time as a work-from-home mom. There is this veil between me and my kids and them understanding what it is mom does from the home. When I asked my youngest daughter what mommy does, she responded with “You do meetings.” All she ever knows is I work in my room and “do meetings.” This is hard for me to explain to my youngest daughter, because I do work from home. So when I say I have to work and my daughters are on the other side of the wall wanting me to play Barbies with them and I can’t because I actually have to WORK, there is SO MUCH guilt centered around it.
There is this concept of “Mom doesn’t have to actually work,” “Mom can do it later,” “Mom can do it while they are sleeping,” “Mom can wake up early for it.” This conversation that has been had by every single voice out there and that unspoken expectation – these are things I usually put on myself with my own voice in my own head.
WHY I POUR MY HEART INTO SYSTEMIZE YOUR LIFE
I deal with this guilt on a regular basis of how to set these boundaries and how to know what it is that I am supposed to be doing minute-by-minute. This is why I started time-blocking, this is why I created the fundamental needs workbook. This is why I started the entire concept of Systemize Your Life so I can understand how to BE INTENTIONAL with MY TIME and REDUCE the GUILT. Even if I were to pour into my kids 100% of the time, which there have been times where I have been completely wrecked by my mom guilt, so wrecked in fact that I have just threatened to throw it all away and just be a stay-at-home-mom. Those moments of complete break-down, are usually where I am on the verge of learning something.
The Working Mom
Fortunately, in those moments, my husband has brought it to my attention that I can’t just do that, because then what are the feelings I am going to have, the massive void I am going to feel when you realize all the years later that not only did you give up on yourself, but you stopped showing your children what you really wanted to show them! I am so fortunate and grateful that my husband has listened to me communicate this to him enough that he KNOWS how important it is FOR ME to be a working mom.
I am dealing with CENTURIES of culture and even current culture that says that in order to be good at something you need to be only good at one thing and that moms, specifically moms need to give ALL of their attention to their homes and their kids in order to be GOOD at it. This is MY conversation and MY experience with mom guilt and I do believe you have most likely had similar thoughts and conversations with yourself at some point.
WHAT I DO WHEN I START TO FEEL MOM GUILT CREEP IN
Before I dive in deep with my hacks for dealing with mom guilt, the number one way to deal with your guilt is to never blame anyone but yourself. You must always take responsibility for your own situation and your own position every single time. Now, I don’t do this perfectly. I have blamed Blaine multiple times when it was completely undeserving. But without fail there is always something that you can do different, that you can improve upon to help you in that moment when you are experiencing mom guilt.
It is so important for YOU to take ownership and responsibility of the feelings that you have. Because YOU are the one that decides what YOU do every single day. Yes, there are pressures. Pressures from small children, pressures from big children, from husbands who may or may not support you and what you are doing. But still, at the end of the day, you are the one who makes your decisions. This is the most important thing!
Now, I am going to take this up a notch and make this a little more lighter, and little more fun and share with you the things that I do when I start to feel the mom guilt. These are the strategies that I have learned to use over the past ten years to minimize and cope with the mom guilt of being a working mom.
“And truth be told that right there is my very passion for this blog, the podcast, THIS ENTIRE COMMUNITY is all about being able to have children, being there for your children, and have a business/career at the same time!“
HACKS FOR BATTLING MOM GUILT
MOM GUILT HACK #1: TALK TO YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER
Number one go-to for overcoming mom guilt is to have a chat with my husband. I sit down and tell him I need to talk to him. I share with him how I am feeling a certain way and I let him know that this isn’t his fault, and that there isn’t anything he can do to fix it. Instead, I am just looking for a conversation about it and maybe we can brainstorm ideas, but there may not be any way to fix it. And I am not looking for that, I am just looking to talk about it. And many times I just need that conversation with him.
MOM GUILT HACK #2: JOURNALING
Hack number two for battling mom guilt is journaling. I journal to cope and process the thoughts I am feeling. Specifically, I journal the pros and cons of being a working mom. I write them all down and look at them. Sometimes they cancel each other out. If there are more pros than cons, or maybe more cons than pros, are you willing to make a change about it? What are you willing to do to fix it? How can you change this up? Just seeing it written out in front of you is always super, super helpful!
MOM GUILT HACK #3: BOUNDARIES WITH WORK
Hack number three for tackling mom guilt is setting boundaries with work. This has been a point of discussion with many women in the Academy. We talked about how this guilt comes from this need and desire that a lot of women have when you get sucked into your work and you are gaining momentum and then something happens and your children need you and you struggle with wanting to provide for them.
Meaning, we do want to provide for them, but it’s this thought of just wanting to finish this thing. This thing that we have been working on. This can happen during your work block or during a longer period of time where you have been working on a bigger project that you are just wanting to complete. To reach your goal, to complete the task, but then you turn around and realize you are carrying ALL of this mom guilt.
The breaking point
For me, when I get to this place, usually a place of burn out, I stop. I shut things down. I take a break off of social media, I delete my apps. You can read more about how to ditch your phone and have a more productive workday here! I clear everything out of my workflow except for the things that I really have to do. I tell my team I am taking a few days and if they really need me to send a siren emoji. Not only is this break good for my team, but it is also good for ME and for my BUSINESS. And it helps. It works. It fixes it every time.
If that is the problem for you. If you have been dealing with the mom guilt because you have been swallowed by your work – then just stop. Your work will be there when you return. Momentum will be there again, you may just need to pump the breaks for a minute.
MOM GUILT HACK #4: I READ MY JANUARY LETTER
Tip number four in overcoming your mom guilt – I love reading my January letter. If you don’t know what a January letter is, come on over to The Systemize Your Life Academy, where we have you write a January letter as part of Tier One. And if you are in the Academy and you haven’t yet written your January letter, NOW is a great time to do it. It doesn’t have to be the month of January to write your January letter, you can write it any time of the year.
A January letter is a letter that you write to yourself in a year from now as if you were actually there. And every time you read it, it reminds you of what you want to be doing with your life and where you hope to be in a year from now. It serves as a great reminder of what it is that you want to be doing. It helps remove the thoughts that creep in your head that aren’t the truth and reminds you of the things that matter and are true. Of the things that you really want to do. This is a great exercise that only takes a few minutes, yet is incredibly effective.
MOM GUILT HACK #5: I ASK MYSELF A VERY SPECIFIC QUESTION
Mom guilt hack number five is a very specific question that I ask myself, or you can journal it out. The question is “What am I teaching them?” When I am having REAL guilt and am feeling REALLY torn about being a working mom, I sit down and think what am I really teaching them? What am I teaching them if I don’t work? What would our days look like? How would I feel during the day? And then I play the scenario as if I do work? What would I be teaching them? What would are days look like? I play out both scenarios. And ask myself what I would be teaching them in each of the examples. For me, that answer always provides the clarity that I need in the hardest moments.
MOM GUILT HACK #6: GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA
The second to last mom guilt hack is to get off social media. This is the simplest and quickest of hacks, it takes only thirty seconds. Just hold your finger on the app and delete the apps and move on. This will immediately change the rest of your night, you won’t feel mom guilt anymore. Done, move on!
MOM GUILT HACK #7: PLAY
The final hack for tackling mom guilt is to play. Go play with your kids. If they’re older – go play with them. Go strike up conversation with them. Play sports with them. What are you older kids doing? Are they gone out of the house and you are feeling guilty because every second they are home you are working? Text them, ask them to come home for dinner or meet them at their favorite restaurant. What can you do to engage with your kids that is special and meaningful to them? For me right now, this looks like hardcore play with my kids. Barbies and dress up. All the play.
These are all the seven different ways to deal with mom guilt. I had the most incredible time preparing for this and writing all of these down. This was incredibly helpful for me to see these in a list and I am going to come back to this list the next time I am feeling big feelings about mom guilt and I hope you do as well!
Frequently Asked Questions
Any more resources on how to handle motherhood in general?
Of course! To give my listeners a sneak peek into the Systemize Your Life Academy, I spoke with real moms with real struggles who wanted to maintain productivity in their homes and businesses. I go through four questions and provide you with in-depth answers (and maybe a little homework!) as I would in the Academy. And if you’re up for a real-life example of a Motherhood Productivity Session, you’ll want to check out this post sharing Melanie’s struggles and takeaways from the session that just may provide a bit of clarity for you! If you need a little more support from other work from home moms, my free Facebook community group is so ready for you to join us as well. Stay strong mama, we’re all rooting for you!