Working moms have it tough. Especially when dealing with newborns. Most of them feel as if they are not doing enough; that they could be doing more. And that is working mom guilt.
For example, you may feel guilty leaving your baby with a relative, especially when she has a mild temperature, or because you forgot to tell the babysitter something. At times like these, being cooped up in your office can affect your peace of mind.
Working mom’s guilt can stop you from giving your best to your baby and your job. When you are working and tending to a newborn baby, there are times when your energy is sapped. The guilt may be justified at times, but not always. Moms should know that they are superheroes for taking care of a fragile human being and a full-time job.
Taking care of one’s baby is seen more as a woman’s job than something that a partner is also responsible for. The patriarchal mindset adds to the anxiety of the new mother.
The current pandemic situation of having to work from home when you are boxed in with your little one can be taxing. It adds to the guilt. Maintaining a balance between personal and professional life with children around is difficult. So, how can you overcome working mom’s guilt?
Don’t try to meet the expectations of the world
You have seen many mothers in your life and have built an expectation of how a good mother should be. If you don’t meet these expectations, you will start feeling guilty. Forget these expectations. Your circumstances are different from everyone else. Set your expectations based on your unique circumstances - what you do, your family set-up, career goals, etc.
Ask for help
Many moms feel guilty to ask for help. If your toddler needs to be picked at 5 pm from the day care and an important meeting comes up, here’s what you can do. Ask a colleague to cover for you or get someone close to pick up your child. Do not berate yourself for not being able to do everything. Ask for help when you need it instead of pretending that everything is hunky dory. Most of your friends will be ready to give a helping hand.
Take time for yourself
Do you think your gym sesh eats up your time with your baby? Fret not. It is important that you take care of yourself. If going to the spa for a massage looks like time that could be best spent with the baby, think again. You are pushing yourself at work and have a baby to take care of…you can and should have some “me time”. You cannot take care of your baby properly if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Take one day at a time
When you have your little darling and a day job to manage together, it is going to be overwhelming. You are a superstar for doing it every day. But remember to take things one day at a time. Stop imagining that it will be a tall order managing both effectively. When you can afford to take rest, do so. Stop expecting everything to be perfect for the whole experience can be frustrating and rewarding at the same time.
Be willing to be flexible
The key to staying sane when juggling between a job and a child is to acknowledge the fact that most of your plans might not work out properly. If something doesn’t work out the way you want it to be, don’t lose your spirit. Take things in your stride. Go with the flow, see how your day is going, and plan accordingly. When a plan meets a roadblock, be willing to work around it.
Even phrases like “mom knows best” and making jokes about how useless dads are will stop us from achieving equality. Apart from breastfeeding, the father can do everything else. If men equally participate in looking after the kids, women will stop pushing themselves so hard and the “working mom guilt” will be a thing of the past.
(Edited by Teja)