10 Tips to Overcome Working Mom Guilt

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Feelings of guilt and motherhood go hand-in-hand.

For some reason, us moms are always made to feel guilty about our choices. Some of that guilt is internal and some external.

Regardless of where it originates, we need to find ways to overcome it. Guilt doesn’t have to be a given.

10 Tips to Overcome Working Mom Guilt

I have read countless articles about how to manage my guilt as a working mom.

They all pretty much say the same thing.

They tend to focus on self-care, setting boundaries at work and acknowledging that working mom guilt is normal.

While those aren’t terrible suggestions, they also aren’t terribly helpful.

Following are the ten tips that will actually get you through the stress and guilt of being a working mom.

Tip 1: Take a Cue From the Dads

Do working dads feel guilt? If they do, they hide it well. Dads have their own struggles but this isn’t one of them.

They understand that their jobs are important. They are providing necessities for their families while also finding self-worth and fulfillment in a career.

Our society tells moms, not dads, that we are failing our children if we don’t devote every second of our lives to their wellbeing.

Therefore, any mom who is career-focused feels guilt for not putting that effort into her children.

A mom who has to skip a Little League game because she has work to do feels shame.

Dads may feel that shame as well but it doesn’t manifest as guilt. Maybe it’s time for us moms to look at the dads and embrace this mindset.

Even if society isn’t ready to tell us that it’s okay to be a mom and be career-driven, we can tell ourselves.

Tip 2: Communicate Your Feelings

My hope for you is that you have a partner who listens and loves.

Tell your partner how you are feeling. Share your guilt. Sometimes, just talking about it helps.

Many times, your partner will realize that they have an important role to play in alleviating the guilt that you feel.

Likewise, communicate your feelings with your kids.

Tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you. In addition, tell them how much your job means to you and why.

Remind them that when they grow up they will also have careers and they will find the same kind of fulfillment as you.

When your kids understand your choices, your guilt fades.

Tip 3: Look for Quality, Not Quantity

One of my dear friends decided to become a stay-at-home mom so she could have more time with her daughter.

About two minutes later, she realized that was not going to work for her. The lesson she taught me was quality over quantity.

She could spend 14 hours arguing with her child and feeling resentment over a lost career or she could spend four hours playing and laughing and loving.

She opted for the latter and, three children later, they are all happy and thriving.

My friend is the primary earner in her family now because she was able to put aside her feelings of guilt and focus on her career.

Tip 4: Hire a Housekeeper

You might think your budget won’t allow you to hire a housekeeper.

That might not be true. Housekeeping services can cost as little as $40 per hour.

A dedicated housekeeper who isn’t regularly interrupted by kids and work will probably be able to clean your entire, average-sized house in about three hours.

You can hire a maid to visit once a week, bi-weekly or once a month and the cost will be worthwhile.

You can then devote your downtime to being with your kids instead of cleaning your house.

Tip 5: Don’t Listen to Toxic People

When I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, there were people who judged me.

They let me know that they thought I was throwing my life away, that I was setting a poor example for my kids and that I was hurting my family.

When I decided to work, there were people who judged me.

They told me that my family doesn’t need the extra money, that I’m only adding stress to my kids’ lives and that I will miss out on milestones because I have to work.

The lesson? Some people are toxic and they don’t deserve your energy.

They will find any reason at all to try to make you feel bad about yourself. Try your hardest to ignore their unkind words.

Remind yourself that they are unhappy, which is why they are trying to make you unhappy. They don’t know what’s best for you or your family.

Tip 6: Plan a Vacation

My favorite way to let go of stress is not to go on vacation but to plan one.

I love imagining my upcoming travels and finding unique ways to make the vacation stand out.

My kids and I spend hours learning about the next destination we are going to uncover.

Not only is vacation planning a stress-buster, but it can also help remind you why you are working to begin with.

Of course, you have to pay the bills. That’s a given. But saving for vacation puts your time away from the kids in perspective.

They will be grateful that you worked enough to give them an experience and so will you.

Fun fact: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a stellar vacation. One of the favorite places my family has visited was a YMCA lodge.

Tip 7: Love Your Work

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Mark Twain had a lot of great quotes, but this one is my favorite.

It is easy to feel guilt about going to work when you don’t particularly like your job.

Seek something that allows you to pursue your passion. It’s not easy, but it is possible.

You may need to return to school to get a degree or certificate in a specific field. You might have to take a pay cut or lose some benefits.

If your family budget can handle it, I recommend it. In fact, I am living it.

When I recently began looking for a job away from home, I was offered a position in an area I don’t enjoy but would pay three times what I’m making now.

I thought about it but ultimately realized I would be miserable. I’m okay with making less money when I’m doing something that makes me happy.

Tip 8: Understand Why You Work

Here is a test. If you won the lottery today, would you go back to work tomorrow?

For most people, the answer is a series of laughs followed by a strong and steady, “Are you kidding?”

Most of us work not because we choose to but because we have to. Hopefully, you’re able to make money while also doing something you find worthwhile.

Regardless, you need to pay for things like food, shelter, clothing and college tuition.

No one else is going to earn this money for you. Why should you feel guilt over providing for your family?

Tip 9: Ask Yourself Why You Feel Guilt

I have mentioned before how much I love the word “why.”

I think it is one of the most, if not the most, important questions we can ask. When you are overwhelmed with guilt, ask yourself why that is.

What is it that makes you feel guilty as a working parent?

Once you answer that question, if you are able, ask another question:


What can you do to address that thing that is making you feel guilt? If there is no answer, there is no reason.

You might not be able to immediately let the guilt go, but at least you will understand where it’s coming from.

Tip 10: Stop Trying to Be Perfect All the Time

One of the most important things you can remember as a mom is that you will never be perfect.

Your children, your spouse and your job will also never be perfect.

Feeling guilt because you’re not the perfect mom, wife and employee is a waste of emotion as there is no way to become perfect.

Repeat after me: Pobody’s nerfect. It’s true.

Key Takeaways

Working moms should be cheered and championed, not made to feel guilt.

Use these tips to overcome your guilt as a working mom and your entire life will improve.

Do you have your own tips that aren’t listed here? Share in the comments!

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