At some point, every mother has to make that choice to either stay at home with their children or continue to work. Unfortunately, most American companies don’t give mothers maternity leave, much less paternity leave. After the child is born, mothers are expected to get back to work. If not, they stay at home wondering why it has to be so all or nothing. No matter which side of the fence your on, the grass always looks greener on the other side.
In The Same Boat
A working mom and a stay at home mom may seem worlds apart but they’ve got two things in common: guilt and worry. Most all mothers are concerned about what they have to offer the home. Mothers who go to work made that decision so they can financially support their family, but they feel guilty for leaving their children and worry they’re missing out on valuable time. Mothers who stay at home to be with their children give up virtually all their free time and worry they aren’t contributing enough to the family bank account. In an era of “women can have it all” why do so many women feel badly for what they have?
Our Worst Critics
We admit that we are our worst critics. Everyone compares themselves to whoever they think is being a better mother than they are. A lot of it has to do with this expectation that women should be doing it all, all at once, or they’re just medieval. So no matter what choice you make as a mother, you’re going to feel guilty that you aren’t doing enough. The worst part of it all is women are limited by their guilt. Even if you’re putting your best foot forward and trying to do be a success, the guilt you feel will hold you back from teaching your full potential.
Having it All
In all things, there must be balance. The guilt associated with motherhood isn’t going to disappear just because you want it to. At this point, it is ingrained into your every day life. So now that you know it is a problem, you have to work on changing your inner monologue. Any time you start to feel guilty stop and think, “Why should I feel bad about this? What can I do to change it? Is this a good use of my time and energy?” Once you’ve answered those questions, chances are, you’re going to feel better!
If you’re a working mom, balance is all about making the most of the time you have. Try “blackout” time where every piece of technology is turned off and you have a chance to focus on your children. Make dinner together, play with each other, talk to one another and wind down. Once this is a set part of your day, it’ll be easier to set a schedule for your children and for yourself.
At the end of the day, there is no perfect balance. The less you compare yourself to others the happier you will be. Loving your child and wanting what is best for them is the greatest thing a mom can do.
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