We all feel mom guilt from time to time. It seems silly, especially as mom’s we should already know that life is precious and we need to make the most of every day possible. We want our children to be happy and enjoy their lives just as a mom would for a daughter or son. Yet mom still has these feelings sometimes.
It may fall under one of two categories: stay-at-home mom vs working mom. There are pluses and minuses on both sides so let’s take a look at some tips on how to cope with mom guilt, either side you find yourself on.
What is a Mom Guilt?
Mom guilt is a feeling of guilt that mothers may experience when they make decisions about how to care for their children. This guilt can be caused by factors such as whether or not the mother is working, the amount of time she spends with her child or the type of childcare she chooses.
What are Examples of Mom Guilt?
Some mothers feel guilty about the fact that they work. They may feel like they are neglecting their children or not spending enough time with them. Additionally, some mothers may feel bad for choosing to stay at home rather than working outside the home. Some mothers will also often experience mom guilt when it comes to the type of childcare they use. Are they using daycare or a nanny? Are they putting their child in preschool? These are questions that mothers may experience mom guilt for choosing to pursue.
Stay-at-Home Mom vs Working Mom
There seems to be a never-ending debate on whether or not it’s better to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. Both have their pros and cons, but in the end, it really comes down to what works best for each individual family.
For me, I found that I was much happier when I was working outside the home. I loved being able to come home and have some “me time”, and I also loved being able to contribute financially to my family. My kids were also older, so they were able to stay with my husband or a babysitter while I was at work.
On the other hand, there are many stay-at-home moms who love the flexibility that comes with staying at home. They enjoy watching their children grow and develop, and they love the bond that’s built between mother and child.
My Experience as a Stay at Home Mom
Being a Working Mom
I have always been a working mom. During college, I would fantasize about the business suits I would wear to meetings. Would imagine me in a shiny red sportscar after I got my first paycheck. Of course, it doesn’t work like that but naivete gave me the motivation to keep up my GPA. After college and then marriage, still plugged along, thinking this is what I always wanted and nothing would make me feel differently. That is until I had my son. The love that you feel when you have a child is indescribable. No one can prepare you for the rush of emotions that comes with the title, “mom.” All of a sudden, everything that was so important before my son, Jack, seemed secondary.
I guess that is when I really noticed the difference; when I became a mom. Of course, had friends that stayed home with their children but as time went on, it seemed we were doing different things. They had new stay-at-home mom friends who met in the park on Wednesday mornings while I was sitting in a windowless conference room. They had happy hours together, starting at 5 pm and although I was often invited, I was in the middle of my rush hour commute home rationalizing whether I could order pizza one more time that week. The divide seemed to become clearer in my head and I found myself starting to gravitate towards other working moms…and asking for more vacation time (but that is another story.)
Making a Move
We moved across the country the summer before my son started first grade. New house, new school, and new friends for my family and me. My husband wasn’t worried about making friends, he said that it would happen naturally. As far as myself and Jack were concerned, I wasn’t sure who was more nervous. Kept thinking, what if all of the other moms stay home? What will I have in common with them? Will I secretly resent their Facebook posts of their smiling children at the beach day after day come summertime? And was consumed with worrying about friendships, that is until I met my new neighbors.
Luckily for us when we moved, there were two families with children around the same age as Jack nearby. Right away, I became friends with the moms. These moms were both stay-at-home moms, but all of a sudden, the divide didn’t seem so great. These moms had careers pre-children and although they were able to stay home with their kids, they had struggles just like I did. We talked about the balance of being a mom and how hard it is to get a few seconds to yourself. How sometimes, you stay in the shower extra long because it is the only time you’re alone during the day. Did we talk about how our kids always need to be entertained and wonder where the games of tag and hide and seek disappeared to? They confided that they sometimes wish they could go to work, put on lipstick and a pencil skirt versus the yoga pants that make up their wardrobe. We talked about their past careers and how eventually they wanted to go back to them, as well as the fear of re-entering the workplace.
- Would someone hire them after their parental hiatus?
- Are things would have evolved so much that they would feel out of place?
- Would they have to be the low man on the totem pole because they decided to stay at home and raise their family?
All of these were valid concerns.
Seeing Things Differently
All of a sudden I took a step back and realized that stay-at-home moms have struggles too. The image that I had of parenting utopia was false. The truth of the matter is, we all struggle as moms. It is the hardest, most rewarding, and amazing job that you will ever have. We may put on a brave face, but we can all identify with the struggles of being a mom. Want our children to be happy and fulfilled, to be surrounded by healthy friendships, and to do well in school. We all attempt to have a vegetable at each meal and when we fall short, beat ourselves up internally. We all struggle with mom guilt. It comes in different forms. Whether we crave a night out with our girlfriends, but when we get there, all we do is talk about our children, or when we decide to take a weekend away with our husband and we frantically call to check in on our kids three times a day. It is there; mom guilt rears its ugly head to all moms, working or not. What I wish for all of us, is that we can somehow find a way to forgive ourselves and realize that we are all doing the best that we can.
Tips How to deal with mom’s guilt?
There are a few things that you can do to help deal with mom’s guilt. Here are a few tips:
- Talk to other moms. Talking to other moms can help you feel less alone and more supported.
- Give yourself a break. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect – allow yourself to take some time for yourself, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day.
- Set realistic goals. Don’t try to do too much at once – start small and gradually add more tasks as you feel more comfortable.
- Take time for yourself. Make sure you schedule some time for yourself each week, whether it’s going for a walk, reading a book to get over the guilt, or taking a bubble bath.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating well and getting plenty of sleep each night.
- Focus on the positives. Don’t focus all of your attention on what you’re not able to do; instead, take some time daily to recognize the things that you are doing well or accomplishing successfully.
What to do if you’re struggling with the decision?
If you’re struggling with the decision of whether or not to stay at home or work, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Do what’s best for your family.
- Consider your own needs and desires, as well as those of your partner and children.
- Talk to other parents and get their perspectives.
- Look at your budget and see what kind of financial situation you would be in if you stayed at home or worked.
- weigh the pros and cons of both options.
No matter which side of the stay-at-home mom vs working mom debate you find yourself on, it’s important to remember that mom guilt is not productive. It can be damaging to both our mental and physical health, so it’s crucial to find ways to deal with it head-on. For stay-at-home moms, carving out time for yourself – even if it’s just a few hours each week – is essential. Make sure you’re using that time to do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading, going for a walk, or catching up on your favorite TV show. Working moms should try to schedule regular check-ins with their partner or spouse so they can share updates about how things are going at home. This will help mom feel more confident that she’s not neglecting her children or family while making mom a happier mom.
Sara is our super author here at famous parenting and is an absolute wealth of knowledge. Sara has studied many topics including creative writing and journalism and loves to study how famous parents and entrepreneurs raise their kids. Her biggest passion lies in raising her 5 children. Between working from home, homeschooling her youngest 2 children and navigating the world of teenagers she really is a parenting guru.