Lysn psychologist Nancy Sokarno says, "It is inevitable for all mothers to feel mother’s guilt in some capacity but for the mother’s that decide on being in the workforce there is a heavy societal expectation placed on doing 'what’s best for the child."
"Feeling like they are sacrificing their bonding time with their children or not paying their children enough attention or simply not being there for important events can elicit guilt in mother’s choosing to return to work," Sokarno adds. "Always feeling like there isn’t enough time in the day to make it all fit or that they are taking away children’s needs and wants by making this sacrifice.
"Societies concepts of 'a good mother should…' is constantly playing on the minds of working mothers and add to that individual and familial pressures and you have a smorgasbord of guilt."
While working mum guilt is something that needs to be broken down, it's completely normal to feel it.
"Yes, you are debating against what feels innately necessary on a maternal level vs your individual and collective needs for your family and the drive to succeed and provide all at once would send anyone into emotional overdrive. What is right for one family won’t be right for another and it is important to remember that no matter what it is you decide, know that as long as your intentions are positive and productive then you’re doing the right thing."
Ways To Combat That Guilt:
Sokarno details the ways to manage while balancing the two important roles.
- Manage the why? What is the purpose – make it very evident as to why you are pursuing these values so that you’re working towards something you feel is important and it is easier to combat that lurking feeling of guilt.
- Be present with your presence - Engage fully when you do have the time to give, better an hour spent being mindful of your interactions than five being distracted by multitasking to fit it all in.
- Don’t feed into the “parenting police” who always feel the need to criticise no matter what you decide to do. Do what you feel is right for you and your family.
- Knowing that there will never be a “perfect” work-life balance and that whatever you decide on in the best interest of yourself and your family is good enough!
- Knowing when to reach out and get help - doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Use your support system wisely so that you can be productive with your time.