Category: Work Life Balance

4 Strategies For Banishing Mommy Guilt Once & For All

Here are 4 strategies for banishing Mommy guilt once and for all. Each day millions of mothers get up, make breakfast, dress their children, take them to school or daycare, and then go to work.  Moms who work at home also need to find some way to keep their children cared for while they work. Many may still suffer from mommy guilt!

Mommy Guilt may tie these moms together

Working mothers may feel some combination of the emotions listed below depending on their support system, personal ideas about how mothers ought to be, and  cultural influences that are part of their community.

  • Am I failing my children?
  • Seems as if I am not giving my children enough time.
  • Feeling overwhelmed with trying to have a career and a family.
  • I can’t do this much longer.
  • Why isn’t there a better support system for working mothers?
  • My life seems unmanageable.

Research Provides Insights into Mommy Guilt

These feelings are normal, particularly when the burden of childcare sits on the shoulders of women. Men don’t usually suffer from Daddy Guilt as it relates to the care of children. I’m sure there some men feel guilty about being away from their children, but for the most part, this is a female dilemma. However, men today often feel more pull to experience a better work-life balance in order to spend more time with their families. They don’t often experience the same level of self-doubt or debilitating guilt about not being good enough Fathers. A more recent Pew Research study demonstrated that while men’s roles in raising their children are changing, they still don’t share the care equally. More importantly, 45% say it is better for the children, if the mother stays home with the child.

Our culture often programs women to be caregivers. Studies show that, while it has improved, women still bear the major burden of childcare and household chores. Upwards of 46% of households include two working full-time parents. A Pew Research study showed that women are still the main caregivers. In addition, the study showed that 64% of women reported that they provided the majority of care while 53% of the men conceded that this is true.

Effects on Working Mothers

Working mothers must manage both a full-time job and carry the responsibility for care of the children. Mothers manage children’s activities, take care of them when they are sick, and provide for their major needs. As a result, they experience a double bind: do more at work to get ahead like the admonition to “lean in”, and be a super mom by ensuring the happiness of their children.

Strategies for banishing mommy guilt:

  1. Don’t worry about the small stuff such as a messy house or the piles of laundry. Ask for some help from your spouse or if there is no spouse, try to find another way to get help. This can be one of the biggest challenges to banishing mommy guilt. Sometimes it takes creativity and a willingness to recognize that you need some support. Sit with that struggle and try to find a creative solution. People may be waiting in the wings to help.
  2. Give yourself a break. Millions upon millions of children are being raised by working mothers. Children of working mothers more oven than not, turn out just fine. Single working mothers raised two of the last five presidents. Take a breath and realize that you are doing the best you can. In April 2017 the website posted the 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2016. Adana Friedman COO, NASDAQ OMX Group and mother of two “advised us all to spare ourselves the guilt: “I really believe that I’ve been a better parent from being a working mother. And so I wish I hadn’t been burdened with that amount of guilt for so long. I wish someone had said, ‘It’s okay.’ It’s a matter of prioritizing your time so that outside of work you are there for the important things.”
  3. Try to structure the time you need to find work/life balance. Make conscious decisions about your time and communicate with your partner and children about your work life. A partner who supports your work outside the home and shares the household duties helps with work/life balance.
  4. Finally, if you feel guilty, don’t let it overtake you so that you overcompensate as a parent. Remember, when it comes to your children,  guilt is a useless emotion. You are doing the best you can. Accept that and give yourself credit for being aware. Be there for your children when they really need you.

Remember to be present when you are with your children. Try to put the workday away and focus on them. The challenges of balancing priorities takes a willingness to examine your values and determine what is most important at that time. Stay present to yourself and let go of all the “shoulds” about being a Mom.

Pat Magerkurth is a life and career coach, helping Moms put an end to mommy guilt so they can get back to enjoying their lives. If you’re struggling with needless guilt, sleepless nights or anxiety that you’re not good enough, reach out to Pat at today to see if working together can help.

Getting What You Need in a Relationship

Set Boundaries for Better Relationships

Through connection with others we feel part of the world and feel special to the people in our lives. However, we may become so close that we lose our self or risk losing authenticity.  Setting boundaries says, “This is who I am, and what I want or need from you, who I really care about.”  Setting boundaries gives you a sense of autonomy. In addition, it allows you to show up as our authentic self.

Your partner, friend, family members or boss may be critical or be unaware of what is going on in your life. Sometimes they may be intrusive or be unable to understand that you too have needs in the relationship. Bosses or friends may try to be helpful in ways that don’t really help. A boundary promotes both of you to being your better self. These four suggestions will give you some ideas about setting boundaries and building better relationships.

“We diminish the other person when we tolerate behavior that diminishes the self,” 

Harriet Lerner, The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate

1. Don’t just react, think and determine what is the underlying bother. Ask yourself why you feel angry, diminished or anxious. This allows you to identify what is happening and whether you need to set a boundary or if there is a different choice. We cannot choose our feelings, but we can choose how we react to those feelings.

2. Approach the conversation to set a boundary or discussion with unconditional positive regard. Let the person or persons know that you care about them and know that they care about you.  The conversation opening should be one of respect and love. Not “when you do this I feel angry or I feel hurt, etc.” Let the person know that you care about their feelings too. A boundary can be set with someone you love, a family member, parents, coworkers and even your boss. Mutual regard is simply approaching the conversation on a level playing field.

3. State your feeling or boundary simply. You don’t need to justify why you have a boundary, simply say I need you to hear me and understand this is what I need. Use “I” language. This owns the feelings and doesn’t place blame on someone else. You are simply stating that this is what you need  and want in the relationship.

4. Acknowledge that it isn’t up for negotiation and that it is what you need from them. Check in with yourself, before you approach the conversation. Is it a boundary or are you trying to make the other person change. Remember that you can only control yourself. The other person’s reaction and feelings are their responsibility. If they have trouble with the boundary or want to talk about it simply ask them to take some time and think about it before they give you an opinion, negotiate or try to change your mind.

Setting boundaries is just a way of letting others that you are connected to that you have needs and want certain things in the relationship. It is not blaming them for your situation or feelings. Coaching can help you develop an understanding of where you can use boundaries and how to set a boundary without diminishing yourself or the other.

“But one of the hallmarks of emotional maturity is to recognize the validity of multiple realities and to understand that people think, feel, and react differently. Often we behave as if “closeness” means “sameness.” 

Harriet Lerner, The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships