Working mom guilt. It’s real and it sucks.
I have a MAJOR case of working mom guilt. I love my job as a teacher, but it is a job that demands a lot of my time and energy. I also have two perfect little humans at home who need me and my attention in the sweetest and purest ways.
My early mornings as a teacher have me out the door by 6:45am, and my late evenings as an extracurricular activity director can have me home past 7:00pm. Add long days at work with (albeit adorable but) energetic kids and a home that isn’t going to clean itself, and you get a sleep-deprived and cranky mommy who can’t focus at work or at home. Luckily, I have developed tricks here and there to tackle and simplify many of my home and work responsibilities (hence this blog!), but the working mom guilt lingers on…
So what are my solutions?
I can’t stop working because: 1) I love it, and 2) We’d have to sell our house.
Sure, I get summers off and breaks during the year, but I’m a mom ALL year long and I want to feel like a good mom ALL YEAR LONG.
After some major soul-searching as I tried to figure out what I can do to relieve some of this guilt, I found that there is one and only one sure-fire thing I can do that makes me feel like I’m a good mom and helps me put the other stuff into perspective.
And that thing is connecting with each of my kids.
I’ve read countless blog posts and articles about different ways to connect with your kids to make them feel special, but I’m not gonna lie here – my kids feel pretty damn special all the time. I’ve realized that I’m the one who needs their attention.
When I have time to really connect with my kids, especially one-on-one, where I can devote my attention to them and whatever we are doing, I feel like a million bucks. I am able to see myself the way that they see me – as their one and only mommy who loves them more than anything else in the whole wide world. This connection reminds me that I’m doing a good job and raising amazing humans.
And the rest of it – the guilt – melts away.
Connecting with my kids is my heroine and I am a sincere addict.
Even though I am home right now from work for summer break, moments of true connection with my kids are still hard to find because there is always something to distract either or both of us- dishes to clean, laundry to fold, Lego’s to build… Scheduled or spontaneous activities where connecting with my kids is the defined purpose are the way I have found to quiet all the surrounding noise of the world and focus in on just us.
I was recently able to surprise my 4-year-old and take him to Disneyland for a day. It was the BEST DAY. He talked to me, laughed with me, shared his snacks with me, and was my little buddy for the entire day. Consider my addiction thoroughly fed.
Now, not everyone can drop it all and run off to the Magic Kingdom (we were given annual passes as a gift), but these activities do not have to be huge in order to be special. I find that even the simplest of things can help find real connection – going on a long walk around the neighborhood, getting ice cream cones, taking a coloring book and blanket to the park… So long as it is just the two of us, I feel connected to him and my working mom guilt lessens.
Connecting with my daughter, who is almost one year old, is a bit different and actually easier in a lot of ways. As long as she has my whole attention and I have hers, we can be crawling on the floor of our living room for 15 minutes and I’ll feel the connection. She hasn’t quite made it to the point where her independence outshines her need for Mommy at home. 😉
Connecting with my kids doesn’t make my home and work responsibilities go away – it doesn’t mop the floors for me or grade the papers that stack up on my desk. However, even the briefest moments of true connection with my kids bring me back to center and make it all a whole lot less overwhelming.
Okay. Now that I’ve given myself all of the Mommy feelings, I’m going to go cry into my iced coffee…
How do you connect with your kids? What are your tricks for relieving working mom guilt?