That’s a trick question, isn’t it? As with everything else, being a busy working parent also has its ups and downs. Sometimes you hate yourself for not being able to spend enough time with your kids.
But you also love your job and the freedom, sense of fulfillment that comes with me.
Regardless, work-mom guilt is a thing and needs to be acknowledged. Sometimes, the feeling of overwhelming exhaustion, guilt, and the inability to strike a perfect work-life balance can lead to burnout.
Take a pause. Sit down and relax. Pour yourself a glass or cup of whatever drink you fancy and unwind. You are doing enough, you are enough and your busy work schedule doesn’t make you any less of a mother.
No, your kids won’t resent you for not missing a couple of soccer practice sessions. My mother was a working woman too.
When my father passed away at the age of 36, she did two jobs. We never saw much of her, even on weekends. Her job demanded her to be busy during the holidays too.
Sometimes, she would regret that our babysitter knew more about me and my brother than she did. It wasn’t easy for us to be completely okay with her constant absence but we came around.
You know why? Because even though she wasn’t always there for us making pancakes or helping with homework, she was doing everything she could to give us a better life.
She was a selfless mother. But I wasn’t. I need to be productive because it makes me feel good.
Not because I have to. I remember my mind being a melting pot of excitement, confusion, anxiety, and a heaping amount of guilt when I came back to work after my maternity leave. It wasn’t easy watching my son crying while I left him with the nanny and left for work.
There were times when I was buried so buried in work, I forgot to pick him up from school. I was working even while breast pumping (thank you pumping bras for existing and making hands-free pumping a breeze!).
I wasn’t there to witness him saying his first words. I was missing out on a lot of things and it was slowly driving me mad. During the same time, I got a long-awaited promotion and my responsibilities were shooting through the roof.
In the office, I felt I wasn’t doing enough as a mother. And when at home, my mind was circling back to my office desk. Scrolling through my Insta feed, watching my friends and colleagues sharing the snippets of their bonding moments further pushed me down the guilt spiral.
Sounds horrific, doesn’t it? But tell you what, it got better with time.
Eventually, I learned to accept that this is my life now and I am doing the best I can to be a good mom, a good manager, and a decent human being. Acceptance brought me peace.
Of course, I didn’t figure this shit out overnight. It was a process. Along this journey, I picked up a few hacks that could help you stave off the guilt and feel good about yourself for being able to balance work and motherhood so beautifully.
Here’s what to do (and not to do) if you are on the same boat as I was once-
Enjoy What You Have
Motherhood isn’t a chore. Sure it feels like one when the kids are young. But can you just pause and take a look at the precious gift you have? The endless blowouts, loud cries, dirty diapers, vaccine shots, missed parent-teachers meeting are a part of the deal, you know?
So instead of stressing out, make every moment count. Your kids will grow up sooner than you expect and then you will miss the stress. Yes, you will.
Stop Beating Yourself Up
We, women, are expected to just magically figure out how to champion motherhood. It’s the societal pressure that’s triggering your guilt, stressing you out, making you feel like you are not doing enough.
We all fail. It’s okay if you had to let the nanny take care of your sick kid that one day. It happens. Mothers aren’t superhumans. Forgive yourself for having to make those inevitable trade-offs.
Haters Will Hate
And potatoes will potate- that’s how God meant them to be. We all are surrounded by guilt mongers, self-certified parenting critics who thrive on questioning other people’s parenting choices.
Their opinions don’t matter because they don’t really care. It’s just their own twisted way of justifying their choices and actions. Being a working parent is a big part of who you are and nobody gets to judge you for being just yourself.
In Conclusion- You Can’t Have It All
But you can still be happy. Being a working mom is equal parts challenging and rewarding. Whenever the guilt hits you in the gut, remind yourself that you are only human.
Remember that we are often our toughest critics. I read somewhere that as women, we are expected to raise kids like we have no work and work like we have no kids.
I say screw expectations. You and I are doing the best we can. And being ambitious or engrossed in work doesn’t make our kids any less of a priority.