Career Woman

Overcoming the working mother guilt trap

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Mother guilt: that feeling of not being enough, not doing enough and not being able to fulfill everyone’s needs. There seems to be no end to the impossible standards and expectations of being a working mom, which can add an even greater sense of conflict.

It takes courage to trust yourself and make choices for your career and business (and to enjoy it!) while raising a family. As a mother and wife in a small country town, I faced a lot of judgment when I chose to create a business that changed the way my life, and the life of my kids, looked. But today, I am travelling the world, loving my life and business—and my kids and I are all a lot happier.

Getting out of the trap of mother guilt requires you to stop judging you and what you desire to create in life. Here are tips to start embracing you as a working mom, and showing your kids there’s more to life than getting it right from everyone else’s standards:

Nurture you and your body

Nurturing your body contributes to every area of your life and gives you so much more flexibility and endurance. As a business mom, not only is it pragmatic to take care of your body, it’s kind to you and sets a good example for your kids to follow – no matter how busy or messy life gets, care for you and your body.

Start taking 30 minutes per day and 1 day per week to do something kind and nurturing for your body. Your body is involved 100% in your family and work-life – care for it and it will contribute to all areas of your life.

Embrace imperfect as the new perfect

We build ideals of how life should or would look like if we were the perfect mom, the perfect partner, the perfect employee / business owner. Perfection has nothing to do with reality and requires so many judgements of yourself and of what is right or wrong, the only option you have is to fail!

It’s time to stop the judgements. What if however, you turn up in the moment is now your new perfect? What if you allowed yourself to be you? Kids don’t need or desire for you to be perfect, they need you to be you. Showing them it’s okay to enjoy being yourself is a much greater gift than showing them they have to try and be right, correct and perfect.

And if being a business mom means people judge your life, don’t fight it—turn it around to your advantage! People who judge me as doing too much are often more likely to assist with the kids. Why would I not use this support to facilitate creating more in our lives? You don’t have to buy into or believe the judgments—what if receiving assistance was not a sign of failure, but of your willingness to use what is available to make your life easier?

Ask what your kids require of you

Have you ever asked, “What do my kids truly require from me right now?” Rather than get wrapped up in trying to do everything you assume you must, you will gain awareness and might even be surprised at how little they actually need or even want.

My kids often require clarity about timing and if I stick to our agreements it works out really well.

I am also aware that if I break my agreements too often, they start to be needier and more upset, so we make deals together and create something that works for all of us.

What if you being a happy working mom was showing your kids a different possibility? My daughter once said: “You love working, right mom?” She knows I enjoy what I do and does not have the perspective that it is wrong or a problem. My son has also already recognized some of the benefits, saying: “Mom, you have more money than others!”

What if the truth of you is what the world (and your family) actually needs?

Living true to you is the greatest gift you can be for your kids. If you desire something beyond the norm as most people see it, and you embrace that and live true to it rather than doubt or judge it, what if that is exactly what the world needs more of?

If you believe you are trapped without choices, you will create a cycle of unhappiness. Start asking to see the possibilities with your business and family life. Ask yourself: “What else is possible here I haven’t considered?” What if you can create all you desire, and it doesn’t have to be a struggle or source of guilt?

Being self-employed, I can’t put my business completely aside when we go on holidays, and even more I would not enjoy choosing that, so I will work around the time with my kids: getting up early, or staying up later so I can have a business-free day with them. It’s not always perfect, sometimes I have to handle or change things, and I ask, “What would it take to have fun and ease with everything that shows up today?”

I love working and I love creating my life in every area. I’d like to show my kids that they have possibilities and can create their lives however they would love to have them. The greatest way to invite kids to have trust in themselves and choose happy lives, is to trust and enjoy you and your choices. Choose what works for you, even if it’s totally different from other people!

Being a working mom is a wonderful mix of many different adventures and possibilities that can enrich your life and the lives of your kids. What if now is the time to give up the guilt, and find out how much more fun is possible for everyone when you stop judging you and enjoy you instead?

About Doris Schachenhofer

After completing her social work studies in Vienna, Doris Schachenhofer worked with children, homeless people, delinquent teenagers and prisoners transitioning back into the real world. As an Access Consciousness® facilitator, she now travels the world supporting people to be more of themselves. The classes she delivers both live and in online settings includes Right Voice for You, Being You, Conscious Parents and Conscious Kids, all specialty programs of Access Consciousness. Follow Doris here.

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