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How Working Moms Can Shake Off Mommy Guilt

Lightbridge Academy President and COO Gigi Schweikert shares tips to help working moms alleviate feelings of guilt.

By Gigi Schweikert
SPONSORED 1:13PM 10/30/19

Mommy guilt is not the best feeling in the world, but it’s a thing, and it’s quite pervasive among working mothers. The thought that maybe you’re not spending enough time with your children is a terrible one—but fortunately, there are creative ways in which working moms can alleviate this problem and feel better about themselves and their role as a parent. 

First off, though, why is mommy guilt so pervasive? The truth is that, while society has made progress when it comes to work-life balance and integration, there is still a great deal of uneasiness around parenting roles. Historically, whoever played the primary caregiver role—usually the mother—would be the one to stay home. In today’s world, that is no longer always the case. Many mothers have to work. What’s more, with the education and opportunities and skill sets that women have, many of them actually want to work. 

There is nothing wrong with that. 

As we look to the next generation, work will be more purpose-driven than money-driven. Many people in the workforce wonder what they can do to make the world a better place, and it’s phenomenal that so many women want to be part of that positive change and put their skills to use. 

Unfortunately, today’s moms receive a great deal of judgment regarding their decision to work. This judgment can come from peers and even family members, leading to feelings of never-ending guilt that take a toll on one’s emotions and mental health. 

Mommy guilt can also be self-imposed. As parents, and especially as mothers, we juggle quite a bit, and we put a lot of unnecessary expectations on ourselves that we have to be perfect at everything. We feel guilty about going to work and leaving our children with caregivers, and we feel even worse if we enjoy our jobs. If you have really good child care that is nurturing and loving and safe, though, you should be comfortable knowing that your child is going to be fine, and you should not feel sorry for enjoying your job and finding fulfillment outside of the home. 

On that note, one major way in which working mothers can shake off feelings of mommy guilt is by creating rituals with their children. These are things you can do on a regular basis with your children that will further strengthen your bond. Rituals can range from getting bagels on Saturday mornings or watching TV together on Tuesday nights. Maybe you can make pancakes one particular day of the week. You can even have seasonal rituals, like getting hot chocolate on Sundays when it’s cold outside or going for family walks and bike rides in the summer. Whatever you decide to do—and it doesn’t have to be something that costs money—the activity should be something your family can always look forward to.

Another way to alleviate mommy guilt is through scheduling. Use your calendar to schedule time with your children. This may sound a bit too work-related, but it’s a surprisingly effective way to make sure you stick to your plans. Whether your plan is to play board games or have a picnic, if you put something on a calendar, you will be more likely to do it. Schedule a visit to the museum or a short trip or a long walk. Of course, scheduling can become harder as your kids get older because everyone is going to be busy with activities, so you’ll need to be intent on making that quality time happen. 

Not only will rituals and scheduling help you and your children build memories, they will also help alleviate guilt you might feel in the week. If it’s Wednesday, for example, and you know you have quality time with your children blocked off for the upcoming Saturday, that can help banish any incoming feelings of mommy guilt. You’ll feel less guilty because you know you have that time coming up. 

When that scheduled time or ritual does arrive, make sure you maximize those moments. Put your phone and computer away. Be present. Stash away electronic devices and look your child in the eye and have sincere interactions with them. There is nothing more insincere than telling someone you’re happy to spend time with them when your actions indicate otherwise. 

As working mothers, we are raising the next generation while also putting our skills and education to good use. There is room in our lives for both. We can engage ourselves in something that is fundamentally rewarding in a financial and also purposeful way while also nurturing our children. By focusing on spending quality time with children and making sure rituals and scheduled activities are adhered to, working mothers can leave mommy guilt in the dust. 

To get you started on banishing mommy guilt, here are some resources for working mothers that include everything from sleep tips to job-searching advice to parenting jokes and more: Bizzie Mommy, Reddit - Working Moms, Working Mother and Women Working