I have decided to return to working outside of my home. I am doing this for two reasons, one is that financially, it is necessary for me to do so. The second is that in this moment in my life, I want to return to work. I have cherished the moments I have had with my daughter over the past year and I wouldn’t have traded them for anything but now that she has started school I feel that it is time for me to return to the workforce. That realization was exciting but as soon as I secured a job the mom guilt immediately kicked in.
You know the mom guilt. That little voice in your head that tells you that you should be there for your child. That voice that tells you that your child should be enough. The voice that tells you that you’re going to miss so much. That voice is a real Bitch.
Have you read my post on where the Mom Guilt really comes from?
There are two big reasons that ultimately drive a mother’s decision to return to the workforce.
- Financial Reasons-In a recent article from the U.S. Department of Labor it states that 70% of mothers with children 18 and younger participate in the labor force. Furthermore, mothers are the primary or sole earners in 40% of households with children under 18 today. With the pressure of feeling like it’s our responsibility to take care of our family financially it’s a very important factor in a lot of mother’s decisions to return to work.
- They’re Not Satisfied As a SAHM-Along with the financial reasons, this was also a factor in my decision to return to work. I’m not afraid to admit that I did not feel like I was suited to be a SAHM. There are many reasons why a woman might feel like this; not patient enough, not fulfilling enough, feeling like it’s not the best situation for you and your child(ren), etc.
For some moms, they return to work and they’re fulfilled and it works for them and their families. For others, like me, they return to work because finances dictate it’s necessary or because they truly want and need to; that’s when the Mom Guilt kicks in.
You feel guilty that you have to send your child to a stranger, some moms having to do so just weeks after giving birth. We are the mom, we should be taking care of our child and when we have to hand over our babies to someone we barely know we feel guilty about that. The guilt is amplified when the only reason we are returning to work is because it’s financially necessary.
You feel guilty because you want to return to work. Again, this stems from the belief that we are the mom and that means that we should be the only ones taking care of our children. That doesn’t change, even if a mom truly wants to and enjoys being in the workforce. This kind of guilt stems from feeling like a bad mom for not wanting to be there with their child(ren) 24/7. This version of mom guilt also stems from shame for not wanting what so many moms want. (A.K.A. the ones who only return to work for financial reasons)
Then there is the guilt of missing out; of feeling like the only mom who can’t make it to every class party, field trip, or be a volunteer at their children’s school. Or the mom who realizes that it will likely be a stranger who sees her baby’s first smile, first step or hear their first word. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
The guilt is rough and even though I want to return to work it doesn’t make it any easier. Add on the logistics of now juggling three crazy schedules and trying to figure out how to do that thing called meal cooking and housework and I can already feel myself getting sucked into that working mom abyss. I had forgotten how tough it was, on top of the guilt.
Whether you are returning to work for financial reasons or because you want to there are ways that you can cope with the Mom Guilt. Here are a few that I have employed since my return to the workforce.
- Make Family Time A Priority-As a working mom we are pulled in a lot of different directions. At the end of the day though, only one thing matters, our family. Making family time a priority is key to ensuring that you not only feel like you’re not missing out but that your child(ren) feel like they’re not missing out on time with you. Good time management and, if necessary, an awesome schedule will ensure that you make the most of the time you do have with your child(ren).
- Tag The Hubs In-I get that us moms have this “Superwoman” mentality that convinces us that we have to do and be it all. I’m here to tell you mamas, stop thinking like that! There is no reward for being superwoman and if you allow yourself to get pulled in too many directions a ball will drop and it will likely be one that has to do with your family. Let your husband, partner, a family member or friend tag in every once in a while. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.
- Make Yourself A Priority-Okay so you might think this is counter productive if you’re worried about not having enough time for your children but hear me out. Self-Care is not selfish! We’ve all heard it 1,000 times before, the flight attendants message to put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help anyone else. You guys, they say this for a reason. If you’re gasping for air, or in the case of so many moms, exhausted to the point of collapse, how are you possibly going to care for your child(ren) and your family? The simple answer is that you can’t. Make yourself a priority so you can be the best mom and employee possible.
I am excited about my new job. I was lucky enough to land a job in my hometown, so I’m able to walk to walk my daughter to school each day, which helps alleviate some of the guilt. Change is good and I felt like it was time to go back to work so I’m excited for what the future holds.
There are things that I miss about being a SAHM, just as there were things I missed about working outside of my home. Both come with their sacrifices and not such fun days, for me, it was about doing what felt was right for me and my family. At the end of the day, you have to do what you feel is best for you and your family. Only you can decide that but I do hope that these tips can help ease any Mom Guilt that will likely surface.
Have you recently made the switch from SAHM to Working Mom or vice verse? How have you dealt with the changes that switch has brought? I would love to hear from you.