For working moms, the unique struggle about leaving the care of your children to others creates another layer of strain on your psyche.
This “mommy guilt” is something I know well and feel nearly almost everyday- it is always there underlying everyday and sometimes is does not seem to affect me or my actions at all and other times can contribute to me overreacting or overcompensating to a situation because of it.
Blessedly, I have amazing parents, after school providers and family sitters who, still continue to help. I read a recent article about how First Lady Michelle Obama describes how one of her “worst days” was when her long time nanny told her she had to “move on” and left the family.
My heart dropped as if that was happening to me -though I have never had a nanny, I have had other part time caregivers that my husband and I have relied on for years. That “village” of people it takes to replace one precious hard working stay at home mom (my heroes by the way). I often joke that it takes at least 3 people to replace me and what I do as a mom.
Were it not for my mother or mentor colleagues at work who supported me, I would have probably crippled myself with the guilt of leaving my kids, but with their help and encouragement we have found a healthy balance and routine that works (for the most part) for both full-time working parents and 10 year old twins.
Here are some facts of wisdom that help me to this day not to cripple myself with mommy guilt:
1. The kids don’t remember at all who gave them their bottles or changed their diapers.
It’s a privilege and duty as a parent to provide this care but honestly, it make no difference to them as long as someone caring is doing it.
Just make sure to get in daily bonding time (bath time, reading, tummy tickle time etc)
2. Showing your kids that a good mommy may also work outside the home is healthy
3. There may be less time in Quantity, but the Quality tends to be high
4. The energy for that GUILT can be channeled into positive paths by remembering that if your work outside the home gives you a sense of accomplishment then the kids sense this and model it as well.
5. When old enough, bring them to work (if possible) and widen their perspective on how the wider world works and how parenting occurs outside the home as well-starting from knowing where the funding for their lives comes from.