Before becoming a mother, I was a holistic health coach for women. I loved what I did, and I was starting to get into a good groove and then I got pregnant. I had to pause my health coaching practice as I was a new mom in a foreign country, and I was learning to cope with a baby without family support. So I tried to do the minimal work, writing a blog post here and there, but it wasn't regular because I was exhausted.
Two years later, my second baby came, and I allowed myself more time to adjust to being a mother of a toddler and baby. But, as much as I love being a mother, I admit that being a SAHM was not my cup of tea. I was sometimes resentful towards my husband that he got to pursue his career, and if I'm honest, I was envious of friends who could afford to send their kids to daycare and go to work.
I yearned to go back to health coaching and help others achieve their health goals. And I also missed using a different part of my brain. So after my daughter turned two and a half, I decided to go back to holistic health coaching focusing on mothers. It was the best decision for me! I'm so happy that I chose my happiness to do what I love. Even though some mom guilt sneaks in from time to time, I can honestly say that I would not change a damn thing.
Now, if you are a working mom and feel the mom's guilt, I like you to take a moment to read what I have to say.
Here are five tips to overcome working mom guilt:
1. You are not alone in this
Millions of moms have rejoined the workforce after having their babies and raising their kids. Of course, every working mother in the world can relate to feeling mom guilt, but that does not stop them from pursuing a career or furthering their education. I know some mothers do not feel guilty at all. Instead, they trust the support system they build around them to raise their children. It takes a village to raise a child, not just parents. Sure, it takes time to adjust and juggle things around, but eventually, you will find a rhythm that works for you and your family.
2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I can completely agree with that when it comes to my kids. Whenever I pick my daughter up from daycare, I genuinely miss her. The moment they hug you after not seeing you for hours is the thing I look forward to the most that day. It's also healthy for them to take a break from you and get used to being with other people. Plus, they get to miss you and appreciate your presence more.
3. Remember that you are allowed to have dreams
Being a mother does not mean you need to give up on your dreams and aspirations. You don't have to drop everything you want to do to be a good mother. But, here's the thing, the perfect mother does not exist. But a happy mother does. Going back to work and doing something that fulfils you will make you a more satisfied mother, then do it without guilt. Also, there is no shame to admit that being a mother is not the only fulfilment in life. Dream big, mama! Because you can. We need more working mothers back in the workforce and women-owned businesses contributing to the economy.
4. Ask yourself these four questions
Byron Katie is an American speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as "The Work of Byron Katie" or simply as "The Work". She teaches people to use these four questions to investigate their thoughts. For example, if you have mom guilt about going back to work and you think you are a bad mother. You can ask yourself the questions below to better clarify whether your thought is valid, and perhaps through this exercise, you can feel less mom guilt.
Is this true?
Can you absolutely know the truth?
How do you react? What happens when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without that thought?
5. Stop comparing yourself
One of the most challenging things mothers face is comparing themselves with other mothers. I've gone through that experience as well, where you think you need to do everything perfectly. It is especially tough for working mothers who receive judgements from other people- from returning to work when their kids are young, not making homecooked meals or being the last to pick up their kids from school.
The truth is the judgements will always be there. You cannot stop others from making judgements, but you can choose how you react. You don't need to take them personally. You need to understand that what you decide to do for you and your family is your choice. Nobody can make you feel guilty. Besides, maybe the person who judges you wishes to go back to work and pursue their dreams and career.