The one thing that no one mentioned when you became a Mum for the first time and decided to return to work was the Mummy Guilt.
Each and every one of us will experience this at some time as a Mum. It goes part and parcel with taking on the parenting mantel. But it seems to be far worse for Working Mums, who have to juggle competing demands and priorities around the clock.
But the thing is you don’t need to see the guilt as a negative thing that has to be overcome. It can actually be quite positive and here’s why.
You can use how you’re feeling to spur you on to achieve more in your day.
Parking the guilt at the office door is a good thing. Remember, you’re setting the best example ever; you’re helping your children to become independent and resourceful.
Instead of feeling like you’re handing them over for someone else to look after, re-frame it so you make the most of the time that you do have together. And that time becomes even more precious.
It means you will feel more motivated to plan fun activities and days out for when you’re not in work.
You will be the fun Mummy when you’re around, not the Mummy who’s knee deep in chores (outsource everything at any given opportunity for your own preservation).
And you will be the best version of yourself because you will also feel more fulfilled and still have your own identity.
There are so many times when the Mummy Guilt will, of course, make you feel like rubbish. But if you re-frame it and carry on, then at least you will have made the best of it.
There is no magic formula or wand to wave as the Mummy Guilt creeps up on the best of us. It’s at its worst when your child is too ill to go to nursery or school but well enough to be up and about and you have to juggle working from home and looking after them at the same time. But it’s nothing that a small dose of television won’t solve and there’s some great educational content available nowadays which can help you get through any key meetings.
There will no doubt be those who will scoff at such an idea – but then they haven’t had a four-year-old walk up to them, shut the lid of their laptop whilst they’re typing and say, “enough Mummy, it’s my time now.”
Or the other spectacular one I once had, which was “Mummy I don’t love you anymore,” because I dared to be working.
I’ll admit it, that one really got to me and I’m not sure how productive I was after that.
The thing to remember with the Mummy Guilt is that it’s ever present.
But until employers start realising that we don’t need to be chained to our desks from the hours of 9am-5pm and if we work from stupid o’clock in the morning, take a breather and then again until stupid o’clock at night so we can make it all work, it is what it is.
It is though forever a juggle. I’ve switched to working on a freelance basis so I’m able to make the school run, and be there as much as possible for J. But with it comes the uncertainty of earning enough from month to month, and all those things that never bothered me when I was in a pre-child phase.
Whichever path you go down, there is always a trade-off. I have to get up crazily early to be able to fit everything in during the day and to stay on top of what I have to do. Yes I’m tired, but I keep going because he needs me to and hopefully somewhere down the line I’m helping you too as a Working Mum. At least hopefully you will realise that you’re not alone in your journey. And you’re certainly not alone in feeling the Mummy Guilt, day in day out. Just use it to become even stronger, more resilient and even more fabulous than you already are… x
PS If you would like to feel more support, inspiration and motivation as a working mum, come and join us in our Facebook group. Together, we’re stronger