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C'mon...let's banish working mom guilt for good!

Mom at work
Mom at work
Photo by nota/stock.xcnhg

Google "working mother guilt" and you will find hundreds of links to blogs, websites and news reports  that indicate working moms feel a whole lot of guilt for doing what they have to do every day.  Guilt that they work, guilt when they drop their kids off at daycare, guilt when they serve kids pizza as a time-saver.

When our two children were young, I assumed the moms who stayed home were the lucky ones.  They seemed more likely to bring pink frosted cupcakes with sprinkles to class parties, while I signed up for forks and napkins.  Nothing like showcasing my inadequacy as a traditional mother!  (And to think all it takes is a sprinkle cupcake.)

Over time, working motherhood becomes a way of life.  Even though it's a challenge, families do adjust to latchkey schedules, summer sitters and the occasional (okay, sometimes frequent) fast-food dinner. 

Besides, those young children of ours who suffered the indignity of a fork-bearing mother are now perfectly well-adjusted teens.  Yes, they are!

So why do we run around feeling guilty?  If you have to work, you have to work.  And since 70 percent of American families include a mother that works, isn't it time to eradicate this working-mother guilt for good? Here are a few things to keep in mind before you let the guilt creep in.

1.  Kids are resilient.  Unless they are living in complete chaos, they are likely to do just fine with a working mother.  It takes a lot to screw a kid up and it's hard to imagine that a mother who brings income to the family, role-models time management and still pays attention to her kids' needs is going to create a problem child. 

2.  Don't ruminate over the ruination of your children because you work.  Even though the working-mother-guilt-blogs may be cathartic to the moms who write them (and doesn't everyone need an outlet?), you don't see or hear dads ruminating over their "decision" to work.  Dads don't feel guilt over working, and neither should moms.  Sometimes it helps to adopt a cut and dry attitude - if you gotta work, you gotta work.

3.  If you have the time, don't be afraid to exercise a few hours a week.  Physical health leads to mental health which leads to less guilt.  Guilt is a time-waster.  Exercise is not.

4.  If you need to find a balance in your work schedule, good companies don't want to lose good people.  In the current economic downturn, especially metro Detroit, businesses may be more likely to offer flexible schedules in lieu of larger monetary awards.  See what you can work out with your employer.  For more, this link might be helpful.

5.  Finally, here's a good website by four moms of young children who embrace the journey of working motherhood while struggling to resist the guilt.  Check it out.


  • Detroit Charter Schools Examiner 5 years ago

    Good article...I feel better already. :)

  • Pam Houghton 5 years ago

    Good! Thanks.

  • Susan at Working Moms Against Guilt 5 years ago

    Thanks for the link to our blog! We're always happy to see other moms out there fighting the guilt.