4 Ways to Reduce Mom Guilt as a WAHM

by in Family

The idea of working from home as a mom sounds great. “I'll get the best of both worlds. I can work, plus I can be involved in my kids' lives.” That's true, but I experience one nearly constant factor as I attempt to balance work and family. Guilt.

When I'm working, especially in the summer when my kids are home, I feel guilty for not being a stay-at-home mom who can focus more fully on them. Then, when I'm spending time with my kids, I feel guilty for not giving proper attention to my business and its customers.

After years of this struggle I've found a few things that help reduce my guilt level:

Ask for help. As a strong, independent woman I've found it difficult to ask for help. But, I've done it anyway. My husband is the primary helper with our kids, but if he was not home I'd hire a part-time nanny (aka a teenager that is cheap, but able to entertain my kids without the TV set for hours at a time while I work in my office). You do not have to be superwoman. Building a strong personal support network is just as valuable as having a strong professional network.

Prioritize mealtime. Even though I spend the bulk of my days working, I prioritize eating meals with my kids. We all have to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner anyway, so I might as well enjoy my kids while I do it. It's a guilt-free opportunity for me to hear about their day, tell them about what I'm doing and feel connected to my family. It lowers my guilt level.

Involve my kids. This summer I am helping my oldest daughter (she a kindergartener) start her own handmade greeting card business. The point isn't for her to rake in the dough (although we'll take it if it comes), but to build a bridge between us so she better understands what I'm doing while I'm working. After she spent an hour making a batch of cards, her little sister interrupted her. It bothered my daughter that her sister wouldn't recognize her need for focused work time. Since then, my daughter better understands mom's need for focused work time. It's one of many connections she and I have made via her own work-at-home experience.

Stop comparing. I have to consciously remind myself that it is okay to be a work-at-home mom versus a stay-at-home mom. I focus my mind on how my WAHM job is supported by my husband and a fit for my family. I don't have to feel guilty that my daytime routine is different than most of my friends.

What do you do to manage or reduce your mom guilt?

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About the Author - Carrie Rocha

Carrie Rocha has been a WAHM since January 2010. She and her Brazilian husband, Marco, have two young girls. In June 2006 the Rocha’s decided to get out of $50,000+ in debt. Two and a half years later they’d reached their goal. Compelled to help others based on what they’d learned, Carrie founded PocketYourDollars.com. When she’s not online she’s eating chocolate, being a media correspondent on consumer issues, public speaker, or busy writing her soon-to-be-published book Pocket Your Dollars: 6 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, and Keep More of What You Make (Bethany House, 2013).

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tricia July 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm

One of the biggest things that I do to reduce mom guilt is think about the alternatives. If I were working in an office, I would be spending even less time with the kids. If I were not working at all, I wouldn’t be living MY life and showing my daughters that it is important to me to use my skills and my education in my career. When I compare it all across the board, it helps me refocus and remind myself why I made the choice that I did to be a WAHM.

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Laura July 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I think your last point on not comparing is especially crucial for me. I know lots of other stay-at-home moms who are NOT work-at-home moms, and they’re able to take their kids to all sorts of activities throughout the week and be involved in playgroups, preschools, etc.

That kind of craziness doesn’t and simply can’t work for me. I’m trying to limit my outside activities and increase the quality of the activities my children do (both with and without me) instead of running to a different event or activity each and every day.

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