Article: Working mum guilt: What it is and how to let it go

Life @ Work

Working mum guilt: What it is and how to let it go

For women who are raising a family while climbing the corporate ladder, working mum guilt is a real struggle. Learn how it starts and how to overcome it.
Working mum guilt: What it is and how to let it go

By Ermelina Agapito

Working mum guilt is a common and normal feeling that many parents experience, but it can also be harmful if it becomes excessive or chronic. It can affect your well-being, your relationships, and your parenting. That’s why it’s important to understand what it is, why it happens, and how to let it go.

  • What is working mum guilt and how does it affect you?

  • What are some common reasons for this guilt and how can you identify them?

  • How can you cope with working mum guilt and overcome it?

What is ‘working mum guilt’ and how does it affect you?

Working mum guilt is that feeling that you are not good enough as a parent because:

  1. You feel you are not spending time or making the right decisions for your kids 

  2. You are doing other things such as working

What are some common reasons for working mum guilt?

  • Comparing yourself to others

  • Receiving criticism from family, friends and people on social media

  • Not spending enough quality time with your kids

As they say, some criticisms may be constructive and others destructive. Learn to identify quickly which ones trigger a negative response from you and learn to work out what these signals mean. Ignore the negative, learn from the positive.

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If you feel you are not spending enough time with your kids, then take a step back and recall which activities take up most of your day. Be intentional about how you manage and allocate your time. Remember: when it comes to raising a family, it is from the quality – not quantity – of time spent that kids will develop fond memories in life.

For example: working parents can use dinner time or bedtime to bond with their kids if everyone’s daytime schedules get hectic. If you have older kids, sit with them while they are doing their homework. Use that time to ask questions about school, friends and their day. The point is to connect with them and make them feel that you are present.

How can you cope with working mum guilt?

Don’t be sorry for being a working mum. Yes, people make sacrifices for the things they care about, but happiness in life is also a matter of aligning one’s values inside the home and beyond. Being a working mum is just one example.

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Working mums need not take on everything by themselves. They can delegate responsibilities either to their partner or even their kids if the kids are big enough to handle tasks. Other family members can help out too. There’s truth in the saying: it takes a village to raise a child.

Have your ‘me’ time. Think of a quiet time where you can spend some moments alone doing what you love, such as reading a book, listening to music, exercising, meeting friends outside, among other things. It is very important that you take care of yourself, too. Self-care is vital to succeeding both at home and in your career.

After all, how can you juggle work and all those mummy duties if you are not healthy and happy?

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Topics: Life @ Work

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