November 1, 2012

Working Moms~ Got Guilt?

by Debi Bogard

If you are a working parent, particularly a working mom, it's likely you are among the 95% who feel guilty when they leave their kids to go to work. Many moms leave their day care in tears and then spend the rest of the day aching to be with their child. Few people can afford to quit their jobs so they go on, day after day, living this vicious cycle of guilt. The truth is that until you acknowledge the true antagonist, you cannot change it!

So where did this guilt come from anyway?
Since monsters hide in the dark, let's shine a light on this one so it will go away. Most likely, you were working before you had children and fully intended to work after you had children. No surprise there! The surprise came when that first day arrived to drop your baby off at day care. It was almost impossible to leave, wasn't it? As you got used to the idea of saying good-bye to your child for the day, that nagging guilt manifested in many other ways - you know, the temptation to not discipline in the evening so you could have "quality time"; the keeping her up too late because you have not been with her all day. Not to mention that underlying fear that your child will become more attached to, and have a stronger relationship with your day care provider than she has with you.

Being a working parent is part of today's world.
Most families cannot maintain the lifestyle they have worked so hard to create without two incomes. The conflict arises for women when the traditional model of the stay-at-home-mom starts rumbling like a small earthquake in her heart. The necessity and expectation to have women be a breadwinner AND mom is still fairly new. There are a lot of hats to wear, and taking one off before putting another on is often impossible. The hat for a demanding job seems to never come off, even for some essential, 100%, mom-time.

You don't have to go through each day at work feeling like a "bad mom" (not my words), nor do you need to spend your family time making up to your child for the fact that you work. Here are 3 simple steps that will free you to give yourself permission to enjoy your professional life and blossom as a parent as well:

1. Find a day care that you are completely comfortable with. You should be able to say good-bye to your child in the morning and go to work with absolutely no worries. Your mind should be on work and not your child's well being. If you have any concern at all, talk to your provider about it. If you don't get relief, it's time to find another place that you feel relaxed about. Your feelings regarding the care of your child are your best resource. (By the way, a day care provider could never, never take your place. You are Mommy, and no one else can fill those shoes - period! She provides a warm, loving substitute for you, but a substitute is just that and no more.)

2. Realize why you are working!
Is it because you want to be away from your child? Probably not. It may be that you are a better mom because you also have a professional identity. You may be able to create better moments together when you are not with your child 24/7. You're not alone. Most moms feel that way. Isn't it true that you are working to provide a great lifestyle for your family? The truth is that you're doing it "for" your kids not "to" your kids!

3. Do what you love!
Could you maintain your lifestyle without your job? If not, make sure you love what you do! It changes your whole outlook if you love your work. Answer this question: "Does my job add to my life or take away from it?" If your job is sucking the life out of you, it's time for a change...

If your job is sucking the life out of you...It may be that the demands of your career consume your time and leave little to nothing for your family or yourself.

If stress, frustration and guilt, from the job you have, are not the life components you crave, then the time to change that is right now.

Don't spend another day feeling the anguish of the working-parent-conflict! Do one thing today to put control of your career, and your life, back in YOUR hands.

It's up to you!

Stop surviving your career, and find out how to thrive as a parent-who-works. Debi Bogard is a Certified Career Management Coach who helps frazzled professionals develop a rewarding career that also allows time for themselves and their families. Call Debi at (877) 460-7271 to schedule your complimentary session - no strings and no obligation-just a gift. Visit (now defunct) and receive a free "Quick Start Guide".