Thursday, September 10, 2015

How To Overcome Working Mom Guilt

Jordan with me in the Texas Rangers press box in 2013
I have had some conversations lately with mothers who are wallowing in the guilt of being a "working mom". They hate going back to work after maternity leave or are full of guilt every time they leave their child for the day while they're at the office.

All they think about is what they're missing: the kisses, the hugs and giggles. Moms, life is not a beautiful Instagram feed. There are drippy poops, melt downs and messes. As fabulous as being around your kids all day is, you need to look at the positives of being a working mom. There are many.

First and foremost, think of the contributions you're making to your family. 
YOU are providing for your spouse and kids. YOU are earning income that can help your family take a trip, save for a house and provide for your kids' education. This is not insignificant stuff. Remember that whatever your contributions are they are helping your family in a meaningful way.

Think of the example you are setting for your children. 
Jordan already knows how to work a microphone and shoot a standup!
It's important you're there for your kids but it's also important that your kids understand that when you work hard, you can achieve great things. Your career is a testament to that. While most of us aren't high-powered CEO's, PR mavens or attorneys, your professional identity is powerful. It sets an example. A good one.

RELATED: Learn what it's REALLY like being a lady in the locker room.

It creates independence for you and your kids.
It gives your children some independence and gives you adult interaction. I hear from my work-at-home or stay-at-home mom friends all the time that they miss adult conversation. Days go by and the most stimulating conversation they have surrounds potty training. I've been there.

I worked at home for a few months and was suffocated by the solitude and lack of adult interaction. It was one of the most miserable times of my life. Candidly, I am someone who is wired to work. For me, I have found that my time at work makes my time with my daughter more meaningful and valuable. In turn, it has made her more independent. She learns to solve problems and figure things out for herself instead of always relying on me.

Your career is good for your self-esteem. 
When you're working, earning your own income and providing for your family, you're also working for yourself. You don't have to ask for permission for a manicure, coffee or night out. You can do what you can afford. Some stay-at-home moms don't have that freedom. Think about that for a minute.

You also get satisfaction that accompanies a job well done at work. That is good for your self-esteem which, at the end of the day, is good for your family.

I also have a number of stay-at-home mom friends who lament the fact that they have lost a bit of their identity. They are just "Little Susie or Tommie's Mom". While being a parent is the most important job, it doesn't have to be the only one that defines you.

The Takeaway
Here's the thing: we're not all wired to work. I get it. If you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, I applaud you and thank you. I, however, love my job and the personal satisfaction I get from a job well done. I also like the example I am setting for my daughter while working in an industry that was, at one point, no-woman's land.

I'm here to say that whatever you choose to do, be proud of it. You work too hard not to be. And if that "work", for you, involves something outside of the house, don't be guilty. You have busted your ass for a meaningful career. Celebrate your accomplishments and what they mean for your family.

It's not easy juggling work and raising a family while taking time to reward yourself. But nothing in life worthwhile is easy. Don't be guilty. Be proud of everything you have done. You deserve it. 

What About You? 
What do you think? Do you struggle with working mom guilt? How do you deal with it? Are you a PROUD working mom? Let me know. I would love to hear your side of the story. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

I am asked a lot about my situation, as I am currently working as a sports anchor at CBS2/KCAL9 in Los Angeles (dream job stuff, friends) while my husband and daughter are still in Dallas at the moment. We make it work. I focus on the contributions, not what's missing.

Would you like to learn more about how we do that? Let me know in the comments.