All working moms have faced the problem; feeling guilty for having a career. HEALTH investigates this dilemma and reveals key coping strategies to help.
With the surge of Facebook and Instagram posts of moms who appear to be constantly engaged with their kids; cooking, making crafts, or doing amazing projects can only add to the guilt. Many working moms feel inadequate, useless, and then ultimately are racked with guilt. According to a poll on Workingmother.com on working moms, 57 percent of respondents feel guilty every single day, and 31 percent feel guilty at least once a week. So where is this guilt coming from? Time management expert and journalist Laura Vanderkam believes it stems from the gap between the myth of the stay-at-home mom and reality. She explains, “There is such a strong cultural narrative that idealizes the stay-at-home mother, even though that ideal was far less common than most people assume.”
The root of this guilt and women can be traced back to the traditional expectations of women. “This expectation from society gave rise to an ‘ideal’ which was that women stayed home and took care of the children and did not have any other ambitions. For the women who were ambitious and desired to seek fulfilment working outside of the home, there raised a conflict between the ideals and desires, thus giving birth to guilt,” tells Dr. Vivian Friedman, a clinical psychologist and professor at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. “But just because a mother is home doesn’t mean they are really home with their child.”
TIPS TO WORKING WITHOUT GUILT
- Prioritize and pre-plan: When you have limited time at hand, make sure you have planned ahead and are able to make the most of it.
- Learn to say no: Do not try to accomplish super human feats. Do as much as you can and try to give up what is not important.
- Do not always be the giver: It is very important to check your own mental and physical health before you decide to keep going. Practice some form of stress relief; yoga, meditation, or prayer.
- Enlist help: If you cannot take care of everything you have to accomplish, delegate work.