I think most working mothers experience guilt. I was a full time mom until my son started senior kindergarten. When I started working, I remember resenting the time my job kept me away from my son. I particularly resented having to miss going on class trips with him. I felt like I was missing out on important parts of his life.
Not to mention the stress of the after school rush: picking him up from daycare, getting him to extra curricular activities all while trying to get dinner and homework in.
I always felt I was never quite getting it all done or getting it right.
When I started my business I loved being there when he got home from school. I could go downstairs, greet him, get him a snack and ask about his day. Then I’d go back to my office and work for a couple more hours while he played or watched TV.
I loved being able to rearrange my schedule to go on class trips or volunteer at the school during track and field days or other events.
In spite of this freedom I still experienced maternal guilt; guilt that my business was taking time away from my son. However when I spent extra time with my son I felt I was neglecting my business. More guilt.
The eternal mother’s dilemma.
Eventually I created an affirmation which helped me overcome some of the guilt and find a balance between working on my business and spending time with my family.
“I’m a better mother when I live an authentic, creative life.”
This affirmation helped remind me that it not only was is okay for me to work, it was important for my son to see me as a whole person, not just a doting mother catering to his every whim.
I wanted him to see a strong woman working to achieve her goals. I wanted to model for him the idea of reaching for your goals even if they seem difficult. I wanted to model a work ethic.
But it was just as important to do this for myself. I needed to be fulfilled and happy in my own sphere so that I could be a happy and relaxed mother.
I like to think that for the most part, I’ve succeeded.
Now that he’s away from home at University I find I’m enjoying a newfound sense of freedom. I can work on my business at my schedule without having to take into consideration his daily needs and schedule.
I’m still figuring out what it means to be the mother of a basically grown son. I haven’t yet found my new mothering affirmation, but I’m enjoying this new phase of parenting not to mention this new phase of my business.
Do/did you experience that working mother’s guilt? How did you overcome it? Leave a comment and share your experience.