Working moms, no guilt

How to be Free of “Guilty Working Mom” Syndrome

Working moms, no guiltAs a working mom for nigh on 17 years now I have had my fair share of self-torment when it comes to feeling guilty about not being the perfect mom.  I sent my children to day care and after-school care for the majority of this time.  Wow, it’s a tough job being a mom and working full time!

I worked for 15 years in Body Corporate management.  This job entails looking after residential, commercial or industrial buildings which are set up to have units or sections that are owned by multiple owners in a corporation.  It is usually governed by a piece of legislation.  Working as a Body Corporate manager meant that I had to attend meetings of committee members, usually in the evenings.  Evening meetings were held because most committee members had their own full time day jobs, so attending meetings relating to their property could only happen at night.

The concept is sound, but the affect on Body Corporate Managers and their families is horrible. I spent a lot of my personal time finding baby-sitters to watch my kids while I went to meetings.  I do not remember the second year of my middle child’s life because it was spent predominantly at work.  This is when I realized that I needed to make a change.  

The blessing of my third and final baby helped make this happen.

Two Steps

While on maternity leave with baby number 3, I managed to find myself again.  I realized how much ridiculous pressure I was putting on myself.  In addition, I realized how much pressure I was allowing others to put on me.

  1. I made a decision to stop berating myself for being a bad mom and stopped comparing myself to other mothers.
  2. I made another decision, even more important.  I decided to put boundaries in place for my employer.

These two decisions helped me to be better at managing my time at work and at home.  When I returned to work I explained to my employer that I would not be prepared to take on the level of work I had previously.  In addition, I was not prepared to take a reduction in salary based on reduced work levels.  I could do that for two reasons:

  1. Body Corporate Managers are as scarce as hens teeth.
  2. I had not received additional money for the extra work that had been loaded on in the first place.

The most awesome thing happened.  I was only given the work I was prepared to take on board, and was also offered a small increase!  I was so grateful for their understanding and support.

Having some hindsight now of my own situation, and history, I can give some thoughts and guidance to other moms out there who are possibly experiencing feelings of guilt:

Do not accept the guilt

Did you know that we are capable of controlling our thoughts?  We are able to make conscious decisions to turn negative thoughts away.  There’s a scripture very much along those lines – 2 Corinthians 10:5.  Interesting how even then it was Paul’s guidance to the Corinthians to control their thoughts.

My encouragement to you is to work on re-focusing your thoughts.  It’s a process and it takes time.  When you know you are doing the best you can do for your family, don’t beat yourself up for things you have no control over.

You will be wiser to rather use all that energy on being creative with the time you do have with your kids.  Don’t waste it on a guilty thought/feeling you can do nothing with.  That negative thought will only harm you.  Shake it off.  I say this with much love and compassion, because I understand.

Be Grateful<img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-366" src="×212.png" alt="Gratitude" width="300" height="212" srcset="×212.png 300w, http://yournewlifeonline my×543.png 768w,×724.png 1024w, 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />

Gratitude is massive. It’s quite the buzz word in the self-improvement arena.  I have to say, they have a point.  Without apology I direct you to another scripture which comes to mind – 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  In all things give thanks.  Okay, so does that mean I need to be grateful for all the bad stuff too?  Yes, sorry, but yes.  I’ll give you some examples:

Example 1

My job was stressful, and many times I hated it, but when I look back I realize how much I learned. As a result I have the skills to step out into the unknown and start a business with nothing.  Was I grateful at the time? No way!  Like I said, it’s a journey.  I’m learning still too.

Example 2

I worked in a job for 15 years that basically made me feel like everyone owned me, and I could never put it to rest at night or on weekends.  I was good at it, and excelled in my industry, but I longed for something that would allow me time with my kids and flexibility.  Now I look back and see that this job gave me the option to immigrate to a new country for my family which gave us all new and amazing opportunities.  Did I see that before?  No!  But, I am so grateful for those years of trial, because I now have more opportunity than ever before.

Don’t be a Victim

What I mean by that, although it may sound harsh, is that you need to have the mentality of a winner, and not allow your situation to make you a victim.  Having a “winner” and “over comer” mentality allows you the opportunity to reduce the noise in your head about how hard things are – refer above about your thoughts.

Did anyone see the facebook post about the awesome dad who gives his little girl a pep-talk in front of the mirror every day before they all go out for the day?  This dad is doing what we should all be doing as adults for ourselves.  Tell yourself everyday that you are an amazing mom and that you are a winner! Trust the Lord for an opportunity to present itself to you and your family so that you are able to have more time for your kids.  The answer may not be immediate.  My answer took 15 years!  That’s hard to hear, I know – but I want to be completely honest with you.

So, hang in there and you will see that through faith, perseverance and commitment the Lord will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

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