Hello working mommy. Yes you, the one with the weekly planner on the fridge door, the lunch boxes packed and waiting, the neatly ironed shirt hanging on the back of your bedroom door, the cold coffee close to hand… and the dark rings under your eyes.
You find yourself navigating to the loo, to the kitchen and then finally to the kettle in the pitch dark, like the return of zombie apocalypse, just so you can get your sacred 45 minutes to yourself before the house awakes.
You need this time if you’re going to adeptly control ‘’mad hour’’ – the chaos that ensues in preparation for the school run. A level of chaos that far outdoes any high pressure board meeting. You breathe a huge sigh of relief when you see your trusted Au Pair walking through the door. Mad hour is over, but now you’ve got to face rush hour.
You’re doing a great job. In fact, you’re doing an amazing job.
You’re successfully juggling being a mother and a career woman and your kids are going to turn out just fine. Promise. In fact, they will turn out more than fine, as they grow up with a role model like you showing them how to lead a rewarding and enriched life.
Yet, you still feel the guilt. The working mom guilt.
Whether you feel guilty because you’ve chosen to lead a fast-paced career, and leave your kiddies in the care of an Au Pair, or whether you’ve got no choice but to return to work, take comfort in knowing that it’s completely normal to feel this way and you’re not the only one.
If you’re like most working moms we know, you probably feel that you’re not giving enough, not focussing enough, and not doing enough for your children. We understand. And this is just the guilt you feel over your kids. What about your husband, your work, your pets, your parents and even yourself?
Here are our 5 top tips from the working mommies at Au Pair Extraordinaire to help you overcome this relentless feeling of inadequacy:
- Your children are there to add to your life, not eat away at your conscience. You chose to become a Mom, and you invested so much time in your career prior to being a mom. You have the right to enjoy your kids, and love your job. Remind yourself of this when you are laden down by an overwhelming sense of guilt. What you are doing is remarkable, and if you need a post-it note on your fridge or on your laptop screen reminding you of this, then please do it.
- Enjoy your kids. Focus your energy on what truly matters during the time that you’re with them. Make sure they know that they are wanted, loved and oh so precious to you. Don’t be afraid to take a break from reality and veg with them on the couch with a classic movie on and a big bowl of popcorn to share. Most importantly, put away your gadgets – hide your phone, laptop and iPad when you with them. Really give them this time.
- Thrive in your job. You’re good at what you do, and you love it. So don’t feel guilty about it! Put in the hard yards, work a bit later if you have to and give it your all. Your children will learn valuable ethics and morals from you to implement in their own lives as they get older and they’ll respect you for it.
- Leave them in the best care possible. In the hours that you’re away from them, you want to make sure that they’re being looked after by the next best thing after you, even if you may have the irrational fear from time to time that this person could be doing a better job than you. As a working mommy, an Au Pair is the best gift you can give your children. Their entire job is to give attention and care to your children, and they report back directly to you, so you never miss a beat. Au Pairs usually have a drivers licence, so they can kart the kids around safely from school to ballet to piano lessons, and they’re likely to have had a similar education to what your kids are getting, and can easily help with homework, projects and extra mural activities. If you’d like to find yourself an Au Pair, have a read through this article first to better equip yourself on where to find one you can entrust with your children.
- Accept that you’re not perfect. When you choose to combine motherhood and a career, you have to accept that there will be shortfalls and compromises. What is crucial in staving off the guilt is to constantly remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place – perhaps its money, enjoyment or maybe even sanity. By creating a list of reasons (whether it’s in your head or on the ever-so-convenient fridge door), you can easily remind yourself of this when you’re feeling guilty for not baking the birthday cake from scratch, or being in the front row at the school concert, or volunteering to conduct the end-of-year nativity play. And like we said earlier, your kids will be just fine. In fact, they’re probably happier with the fancy cake from the professional bakers instead of the skew one with the icing sliding off the top.
Working mommies, take a deep breath, grab a coffee, sit down, and drink it while it’s hot. You guys are hardcore. You’re the type to sit in the server room at work and express breast milk so you can continue feeding your baby the best of the best. You’re not a bad mommy for working and you’re not a bad employee because you’re a mom. You’re the heart beat of the home, the driving force in the workplace, and the apple of your children’s’ eye.
If you have to work to pay the bills, you’re providing for your children with a roof over their heads, food in their belly, and an education to set them up for life. If you’re working because you’re passionate about what you do, you’re teaching your children how to achieve their dreams, and strive to be the best they can be.
Now enjoy your coffee, while you sit back and reflect on what you have single-handedly achieved. We admire you so.