Mom guilt. If you are a mother, you have experienced it at some point in your life because you are responsible and loving. You want to do anything possible to take care of your child, to be there for her, to assist her whenever needed. You don’t want to miss important moments in her life, and you want her to be safe. But feeling guilty is inevitable if you work and have responsibilities in your day-to-day routine. And you’re not alone.
I work with many female entrepreneurs. They try to juggle a demanding full-time job and family, and it’s not always a comfortable ride for them. Besides the enormous expectations from society (and the fear of being judged for what they do or don’t do right or don’t do enough), they experience anxiety, stress, overwhelm, guilt, and this leads to a negative perception about themselves. They feel like they are “a bad mother,” but they just need to re-organize their priorities. The fact that they realize they’re not there for their family enough is a sign that they are actually “a great mother.”
How to fix this behavior that can negatively impact the well-being of the entire family? Here are some tips.
- Make a list of things that make you a good mother and a role model for your children and keep it on your desk. Focus on the positives. The fact that you work should be included in this list because you’re creating opportunities for a better life for your family, and your kids will appreciate that. Go back to this list whenever you feel you’re not doing enough for your family for some “pick-me-up” feeling.
- My clients feel very guilty about not spending enough time with their kids. If you feel this way as well, create a “family calendar” and treat it in the same way you do for your business agenda – no cancellations or rescheduling. Family time should be sacred and as important as client meetings. Enter time for family activities, cook or bake together, practice morning and bedtime routines together (brushing teeth, having a bath, reading, playing, coloring, doing yoga, praying, getting dressed, etc.).
- One of my clients created an “activity jar” where her kids would write their favorite things to do on little note cards and they would put them in a glass jar. At the end of the day (or on the weekend), mom would pick a random notecard from the jar and the family would engage in that activity. It was always a lot of fun for everyone!
- Depending on the age of your kids, you can also schedule a time for “serious discussions” about family goals and plans for the future, and even involve them in some important decisions that relate to your career. Kids love to support their parents and offer them advice. I see these as great learning opportunities for them, and a great way to let them feel an integral part of the family.
- If you work from home, setting boundaries between your job and family may seem very difficult, but it can be done. One solution is to set working hours in smaller time frames such as 9-12 pm, 2-5 pm, and 9-10 pm. That way, you will have time to get ready with your kids in the morning, take them to school, pick them up from school, spend lunchtime together, have enough family time in the evening, and maybe one more hour of work after the kids are in bed.
Unfortunately, not everyone has flexible schedules, and if you own your own business, you’re always in working mode. But the important thing is to be able to set boundaries between your personal and professional lives and carve out precious time for yourself and family. Don’t underestimate or ignore this critical component of your daily life: self-care is the key. This way, your body, and your brain will have time to rest, recharge, and perform better the next day. You will be more present in your life, in the life of your family, and more productive in your business. In the meantime, you will enjoy the coziness of family time with lots of love, laughter, and relaxation.
One of my Twitter connections, coach Maria Curiel, recently tweeted a lovely picture of her and her daughter wearing colorful hair rollers. What caught my attention was the smiles filled with love while they look at each other in some adorable complicity. Twinning and mother-daughter bonding at its best! I find this a perfect example of a great mother spending quality time with her child.
Motherhood can be hard. Having a good home life and a productive work life can seem impossible, but with strategic time management, you can make it happen. Don’t let mom guilt sabotage the precious time you spend with your children. You are creating wonderful memories every day; enjoy every single moment!
Part of this post was originally published on Gene Petrov’s LDRBRND.