Let’s face it ladies, we aren’t in the 1950’s anymore. In those days, being a mom was a hands-on full time job, and cooking dinner for the family was the main stress factor of the day. Unfortunately, this era has come and gone and most of us missed it.
Many working moms feel guilt about putting so much time into their careers. I know I do, I have to work hard to succeed and provide for my household, with three different jobs. In doing so I am missing key moments, or so it seems as my stepson who lives with me and is going thru growing pains and learning curves.
So how does one get over “Working Mom Guilt?”
First all moms must understand the times are-a-changing. What you are doing in your career is providing for your children and stepchildren with opportunities to help them in the long run. Without your job, there would not be food on the table and the bills won’t pay themselves. There is no harm in hard word. What you must focus on, however, is making the best of time. In this case, it’s QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.
This concept is simple. Focus on spending quality time with your kids rather than quantity time.
Take for instance my mother, she was around all the time, but did she really spend quality time with me? No–I remember her being always around but can’t remember us really doing things together as she was busy with housework, my baby brother, etc. To this day I can’t cook a lick (which really stinks for my husband and stepson, when I come home from work and give them a rotten dinner-oh how they love their carry out.) I would have rather she been around less, but during those times we spent quality time together.
Kids must realize mom is a busy worker, but this doesn’t mean the door of communication isn’t always open. Here are a few tips to help you:
a) Chalkboard or Dry Erase Board on the fridge – Communicate with notes openly day to day on the board. We use a calendar on our fridge and write notes to each other which consist of daily chores or to do list. Getting things done in a busy environment helps us all.
b) Once a week mandatory quality time. My stepson and I used to go to BINGO once per week until his schedule changed. No matter what was going on, I dropped everything as this was our fun evening together. It encouraged communication, talk time, and togetherness. We have now shifted BINGO night to MOVIE DAY where we take one day and watch a movie on TV and talk during the breaks. As crazy as it sounds, this schedule really helps us communicate and I find he looks forward to opening up on things that have been bothering him from the current week.
c) The Notebook – I can’t stress this one enough. A notebook is always open on the counter, where we can write “Gripes, Complaints, or Comments”. After I get home late at night and everyone is sleeping, I read the notebook. It may range from “We are out of Peanut Butter” to “Jessica dumped me”. I am thereby able to write a response which my husband or son will read the next day. Often you can put a lot in a letter, and it really makes their day. Especially when you say you are going to pick up the Peanut Butter on the way home special just for them.
d) Encourage Participation in TAKE A KID TO WORK DAY, or take them in with you on weekends when you go in to do extra work. Often children may feel “jealous” that your job is getting more attention than they are. This is only because they don’t understand just what your job entails. Get them involved and let them see what you do all day and how crazy it really is. Some companies participate in these type days, others have their own. If you work at home, no worries, get your children to help you do your work one day a month, and encourage them early on to understand just what it is you are doing and how they too, can run their own business someday.
Whatever you do, remember you have to maintain composure. Feeling guilty doesn’t make things any easier, or better. It will only use up your energy quicker and make you lose track of what’s really important. You being a super mom is what’s important. You can do it! If I can, so can you!