Working Mothers: Are you feeling guilty all the time?
By: Dr. Georgette Savvides Psy.D, Consultant Clinical & Business Psychologist
One of the hardest concepts that we as working mothers will ever comprehend is stopping the guilt that accompanies our constant daily emotions when it comes to our families and especially our children. No matter how many hours you spend with them or how many of their activities you manage, organize or attend, it seems that guilt is your companion no matter what.
However, what research has shown recently is that children of working mothers end up being more mature, independent, successful, ambitious and self-motivated than children of stay at home mothers. I am not insinuating or minimizing the role of stay at home mothers and the positive impact this might have on children. However, it seems that children of working mothers seem to use their growing up experiences and role model after their mothers in a different manner.
Yet still when you try and ask any woman who tries to combine a high-powered career and a family, she is going to tell you that she is a one frazzled, sleep-deprived mess. She will be driven to desperate measures, and if you mention “work-family balance” the response you will probably get is a semi-hysterical laughter…followed by tired sighs. I totally agree that it has never been easy to be a mother and juggle a full-time job with a family life. So how can you best handle both and accept the guilt rather than have it dictate your every decision and move with the children?
1. Opt for flexible working hours.
2. Divide your time, e.g. focus during work, focus on family during the early evening hours, and work some more once the children go to bed.
3. Use the weekend for the children only and focus as much as possible on having quality time.
4. Say sorry if you have to miss events or functions due to work. Having open communication with children creates good dynamics and a strong bond.
5. Use all the help and resources you can both at work and home. Delegate tasks whenever possible.
6. Adopt good time management skills. Stick to your priorities and schedules.
7. Organize and plan ahead activities. Make your mornings easier by planning one night before, e.g. lunch ready in the fridge for children.
8. Develop routines with children, e.g. be there for bed time and tuck them in. Let it be your special time with them daily.
9. Challenge the thoughts regarding the guilt. Try and recall the reasons why you are at work and working, as well as how beneficial this might be to the children.
10. Stay connected during the day with the children, giving them engaging tasks for your review upon your return.
Being a full-time working mother can definitely lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family. The key is to focus on a plan, get organized, and find the right balance between profession and parenthood. Following the above mentioned tips might create a more healthy balance between your work and family life.
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