Hey Workin’ Mamas! Don’t be Guilty! Be Proud!

My daughter walked in and handed me a “present.” She had wrapped one of her toys with a picture she drew. When I unfolded the picture, I noticed the family drawn was of a father, a daughter, and a son so I asked “Is this Daddy? And Preston? And you? Where is Mommy?”

She replied, “You are at work.”

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I had been left out of the picture because I was at work. Ugh! Take that for a punch in the gut. And just like that, the guilt set in. Punches from your children can sometimes hurt far more than any punch from an olympic boxer, especially when they come from your 3 foot sweet little bundle of joy.

Mom guilt is hard. It can be complete emotional torment in the worst kind. It is hard to be away from your children for whatever reason it may be, knowing there is a chance you could miss their first step, their first word, their first home run, or any of the other firsts we dream about when we have children. In my case, I am away from my children to go to work. I truly love my job in healthcare, but the schedule is demanding and the hours long. I am privileged in that I am awarded the opportunity to truly help people become healthier and some days, actually save their lives. That is an honor. But what I’m even more honored to do in my life is to be a mother, or if you’re at my house, a “mommy.” Motherhood is one of the most supreme privileges and as I have watched so many close friends and family fight the battle of infertility or struggle with adoption issues, it has become that much more evident. I am so very grateful for my children and all of the time that I do have with them.

Because I leave my children to go to work, to meet financial needs, to help others, to do something I love to do, I know I should not feel guilty about that. But I do sometimes. It may seem difficult to go back on that first day following maternity leave, but just wait until your child is able to talk and verbalize their emotions. “Mommy, I don’t want you to go to work today!” “Mommy, can’t you play for just 5 more minutes?” Those tugs on the heart strings get even harder! Nonetheless, you should not feel so much guilt. I think all would agree that a little guilt is a normal reaction, but you cannot allow it to consume you. Remind yourself that what you are doing is bettering their lives. Know you are a better person because of the break away from your children. The break that makes you want them jumping on you every minute that much more when you get home. The break that makes you gain just a little more patience when you hear “He’s not sharing!” that 156th time. You are providing for them financially, to help them reach their goals in the future, to help them get the extra gum ball they want now, or the prom dress they want later on, or the college degree even farther down the road. You are teaching them value; the value of dedication, the value of multi-tasking, the almighty value of time. Time is precious and you sure don’t want to spend it feeling guilty.

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Embrace the time you do have at home with your family and make the most of it when you can. Appreciate the lessons you are teaching your children as they watch you working hard. Same goes for you, stay-at-home-mama! There is plenty of workin’ hard going on inside and outside the home! Children notice it all.

So mamas, when you are gone from home, busting your heiney, remind yourself of the reasons you are there. While their reaction as children may be a hard pill to swallow, they will thank you later on in life. They will thank you for the work ethic you instilled in them, the commitment you demonstrated, the precious value of time you taught. You may not know it yet, but they are proud of you. And YOU should be proud of you too.

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Photo by KB Photography

Do you struggle with “mom guilt”?
What are your tips to lessen the guilty feelings?

{Disclaimer: I write this post from my personal experience being a work-outside-the-home mother. Please note I admire stay-at-home mothers to the same degree and believe their line of work is just as difficult, if not more difficult many days, and equally as important to instill values and prepare for their child’s future success.}

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