Friday, October 28, 2011

Working Mommies: It's Time to Let Go of The Guilt!

Why do working moms always feel guilty?  As a working mom myself, I've always felt bad about returning to my job after my daughter was born.  At the time, I didn't have a choice, and when I dropped my three-week-old baby off at daycare that first day, I thought I might die from the heartache.  Those first few months were horrible.  No sleep, no time to myself or for my marriage.  But, I survived.  And with time, I even learned to enjoy life.  I no longer thought about lazy Saturdays, or how it felt to once again eat dinner in peace.  Forty hours at the job- and then every other spare minute living for my family.  That's just how life worked.

The true key is finding a happy-medium that works for you, no matter what that is.  I believe the guilt we feel as working mommas comes mostly from lack of time.  There's only twenty-four hours in a day, and eight of them, we're supposed to be sleeping (ha!).  Then with a career on top of that, we simply can't do it all.  We can't cook, clean, workout, spend time with our spouses, and grocery shop...all the while having and eight-to-five and a needy child or two vying for your attention.  I often wondered how I'd do it all.  For the first few months after my little girl was born, I didn't cook.  Period.   We ate sandwiches or take-out.  I wanted to spend every second with by baby girl, not wasting time over a stove.  That also went for cleaning and everything else, too.

It wasn't long before I got back in the groove, into a schedule that fit my life.  When my son was born, that really added to the equation.  Finding time for everything, plus another child, was tricky.  However once again, the abilities of a mother are amazing; we persevere in times of need.

Here are a few simple tips that have helped me:

1)  A lot of people told me to cook meals on Sundays and then freeze them for a week.  I never liked that idea because Sunday was one of my two days off.  Who wanted to cook all day?  Instead, I searched online and found a wealth of healthy, quick recipes that I could cook in less than thirty minutes.  I'm not saying hamburger helper wasn't a life-saver at times, but I wanted to get into a habit of eating healthy so my kids would do the same.  My favorite thing to make now are casseroles; I cook enough so my husband and I both have a lunch for the next day.  If you follow our blog, you'll have a ton of free, awesome and healthy recipes at your fingertips.

2)   You've got to know your limits.  I've got some friends with two or three kids that work full-time, cook extravagant meals every night, and who up every day to work looking polished and rested.  For me, this is not the case!  If you can find time to do it all and still be sane (I'm not these women are sane!), good for you!  But if you're normal like the rest of us, know that it's okay to have your own limits; there are some things you just can't do.  With my second child, I've found at least thirty minutes to work out, three times a week or so.  With my first child, it just wasn't there.  Am I healthier this time around?  Yes.  Did it kill me to miss out on a year of treadmills and yoga?  No.  You'll be a better mom is you don't over do it.

3)  I need a clean house.  You want to see a crazy lady?  Put some lint on my newly vacuumed carpet and watch me unravel.  I know what you are thinking...two kiddos?  There will be lint, and plenty of it! I've had to really work on accepting the fact that my house will not always be clean, and obsessing over it is wasting precious time.  Ask for help ladies!  Yes, your hubby is just as capable as you are of whipping that vacuum or mop out.  Rather than loathe him every time he walks in from a lazy day of fishing (while you are holding a crying infant, mentally making a checklist of all the things you have left to cram into the day and all the things you hate him for), communicate!  Ask for his help.  My husband always gets frustrated if I don't ask him for and then I give him the silent treatment because I'm pissed off.  One more helpful hint: let him do it his way.  If you try to boss him around and control the situation, he's less likely to help next time.  Yes, you do know how to to laundry better, that's a given.  But practice makes perfect!  Do little bits of anything, every day.  One load of laundry is better than seven on Sunday!  Have the kids help you.  On my days off, it's nice to know that when I'm cooking, or mopping, or cleaning, my four-year-old is right by my side, hindering more than helping, but it's okay!  I feel like it's time well spent.

A wise woman once told me, "You feel guilty no matter what.  You feel guilty when you work, you feel guilty if you stay home.  As a mom, you'll always feel guilty; it's part of life."  Those words stick in my mind whenever I start feeling like I haven't done enough, or that my children have suffered by me working full time. Lets let go of the guilt and just enjoy being a mom, working or not!

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