Sometimes mom life can be a kick in the guts. I like to pretend that I have everything under control and can easily handle working full time whilst looking after my 2-year-old son and studying uni part-time but that is not always the case.
Last night I face timed my little man during a break at university while he was laying in bed with his father reading his favourite bear book. Everything was going perfectly fine until he said he was sad I was at school and not reading with him. I had not seen him since I gave him a kiss goodbye as he headed out the door for childcare that morning at 7am.
A full 12 hours had passed without me holding my baby and I knew I would not get to spend any further awake time with him that evening as he would be fast asleep when I arrived home.
It broke my heart, I had to struggle not to burst into tears right then and there. A voice inside my head started to let me know that I was a horrible parent, that I choose my career over my child and am now stupidly bringing another beautiful soul into the world only to be raised by people other than me.
I know it’s not true and I am fully aware that the sacrifices I make today will only serve to benefit my family in the long run but sometimes it is hard to quieten that inner critic, that inner mum shammer that goes out of her way to criticise every decision I make.
I am sure I am not the only mother that suffers from working mum guilt, I have a feeling that each and every mother is at some point or another doubting her abilities whether she is a stay at home mother or a working mother but it is important that we don’t let this negativity seep into our parenting. When having a particularly tough day there are a few tips to keep in mind:
Plan and prioritise your time
We have all had one of those mornings where it seems everything is just going wrong, the type of a morning that throws your whole day off, you know the one…..
Trying to leave the house for childcare drop off before work and struggling just to get out the front door, as you shove a spare change of clothes into your toddlers bag, search for their Thomas the tank engine water bottle because your toddler won’t drink out of anything else, the water bottle you swear was left on the table last night but is now nowhere to be found, all whilst your little one screams that they want to wear their green sandals, not the blue ones you put them in.
Once you have lived through one of those mornings it becomes apparent that no longer can things be spontaneous, no longer can you just play it by ear! Get organised, pack the childcare bag before bed, lay out the clothes your little one wants to wear the next day and let them choose their shoes. Set your alarm clock early so you have time in the morning for mini breakdowns. Plan your days, weeks and even months out in advance, invest in a family calendar so everything is listed and you are aware of every possible event that needs to be prepared for.
Outsource tasks if possible
If you are lucky enough to be in the financial position to afford it, outsource all your unnecessary jobs. Hire a cleaner to come in once a fortnight and scrub your house, purchase a robot vacuum that will clean the floor automatically while you are at work, sign up for meal delivery services. If there is any way that you can remove any extra jobs that stress you out and limit the quality time with your family then, by all means, outsource them and don’t feel guilty. Let’s be honest who wouldn’t love having someone else cook them dinner after they arrived home from work.
Be fully there for your children when you can
When it is time for family time, ensure that they have your full attention. Turn off the television, put the iPhone down, remove anything that may distract you from your children and stay in the moment. Pull out toys that don’t require power, sit down at the table and draw pictures together, think about your favourite family memories as a child and try to recreate them with your own children.
However occasionally our work commitments may mean that we are not in the same place as our family, if this is the case then facetime your children whilst they are doing something you can join in on, buy 2 of the same book and read the book over the phone while your child lays in bed following along with their version. Don’t be afraid to show your children just how much you miss them if you are away and how excited you are to come home as soon as possible.
Use your support team as much as possible
There is nothing more special than the bond between grandparents and their grandbabies. Use this relationship to your advantage, I am sure if you asked your parents or your parents in law if they could look after your children every so often they would jump at the chance. Don’t forget to rely on friends when you need them, just be sure to return the favour when they need to lean on you.
Look after yourself
Make sure you spend time looking after yourself, you can’t be your best as a mother or at work if you are not okay. Evenings, after the little ones have gone to bed, is a great time to schedule in a bit of self-care, take some time to meditate, read a good book, do some yoga or find something relaxing that you really enjoy.
Do you suffer from working mum guilt?
What are some of the ways you combat this feeling?