So you thought that first few months of motherhood was challenging. Now you’ve returned to work, and you’ve discovered a whole new meaning to the word ‘challenging’.
From juggling the children, your job and household work, to maintaining relationships with your friends and partner! Working mums are often left with a nagging feeling of guilt that they’re not living up to their own expectations.
Here’s a list of what working mums should stop feeling guilty about…
Being a working mum
Many mothers return to their jobs because they enjoy working and it actually makes them a better mum, while countless don’t have a choice and need to contribute financially for their family.
A survey by UK magazine Mother and Baby revealed that six out of ten mums welcome the financial and emotional independence of employment but feel guilty about leaving their children at home or in care and missing out on key moments in their development.
Kasey Edwards author of Guilt Trip said working mums also experience guilt when they find having a career is fulfilling.
“I spent years feeling guilty about not finding motherhood totally and utterly fulfilling,” she said. “But I’ve now reached a point of being able to admit without a shred of guilt that I want to work.”
“It is not a reflection on how much I love my children; my desire to work isn’t about my children at all. It’s about me.”
Mia Freedman, co-creator of online media platform Mamamia, said mothers, among other aspects of employment, enjoy the challenge of returning to work and having an identity away from being a mum.
“We like the challenge and the satisfaction and the pride of knowing we’re good at what we do. We like that it means we can support ourselves or our children if we have to,” Mia wrote.
And finally… “We like that we get to be out in the world with other adults and close the door when we go to the toilet.”
Takeaway message – returning to work is important to keep an identity away from being mum, interact with adults, support your family financially and ensure you continue to satisfy your professional desires.
ASKING SOMEONE TO LOOK AFTER YOUR KIDS
Returning to work also normally means dropping your children at childcare, calling on the grandparents to babysit, or hiring a nanny. It’s important to remember that you’re not the first mum in Australia to engage others to care for your children.
In fact, the most recent ABS statistics reveal that under the age of two, 22% of children usually attend formal child care (regulated care away from their home), while 32% usually attend informal child care (grandparents, older siblings, family members, in-home nanny care).
For children five and over, 14% usually attend formal childcare and 32% informal childcare.
Multiple research projects have shown that attending childcare is actually beneficial to a child’s development.
Adelaide University research found children who receive quality childcare at age two to three, are more likely to be attentive and better deal with their emotions as they start school. Additional studies have shown that kids who attend childcare have a high-level ability to perform everyday skills and greater overall social development.
If you continue to feel guilt over sending your kids to childcare and would prefer personalised in-home care, or you need help outside 9am-5pm – consider hiring a nanny.
The many advantages of using a nanny, including the flexibility of being able to create schedules that work for you. Nannies also provide consistency and stability which allows your children to develop sustainable bonds.
Also, clear the idea that nannies are only for the rich and famous. In this modern era, nannies are increasingly becoming a critical part of the domestic operation. They provide permanence for your children and a level of care that is second only to family.
Takeaway message: Don’t feel guilty about asking others to look after your children – it’s of benefit for you and your kids. The next time you want a date night with your partner or night out with your friends – hire a babysitter!
The search for ‘balance’ – it’s a fairytale concept
The phrase ‘work–life balance’ became part of the US vocabulary in the mid-1980s, to describe the notion that you could equally balance your work and personal life, interests and passions. An admirable concept, but is this just a fairytale concept? Yes, according to many women.
“Most women think work-life balance is simply the balance between life and work, with equal amounts on either side of the equation,” she said.
“Imagine a see saw with work on one side and the rest of your life on the other, one which you need to keep level. It’s completely unattainable and women are making themselves ill through stress and worry when they can’t get this perfect.”
Takeaway message: there is no such thing as work-life balance, it’s an external pressure women put on themselves, and you’re just going to feel dissatisfied in the realisation you can’t reach it.
Some other things working mums feel guilty about – but shouldn’t!
- Finding time for yourself. As a working mum you’ll have much less time to yourself, but whether it’s reading, going to the gym, having a coffee without the kids – whatever you enjoy – don’t feel guilty about having time to yourself.
- Saying “no”. You can’t do it all – it’s fine to say no to play dates, no to cooking an elaborate cake and no to drinks with colleagues after work.
- Sharing parenting with your partner. The work load increases for everyone when you have children and the more you can share, the better. From drop-off and pick-up at childcare and working from home when your children get sick to sharing the domestic activity, parenting should be a shared responsibility where possible.
To enquire about hiring a nanny click here.