7 Tips to Deal with Work At Home Mom Guilt
As a work at home mom, people wrongly assume you are always available to help with their kids, run errands or have a coffee. Many also feel guilty they are at home but not spending the time with the kids.
Working at home does not mean you are available for everything and everyone. It means you are making money, it simply happens to be done at home.
So how do you deal with the guilt of being a working mom?
1. Set Boundaries and Enforce Them
Decide when you will work and how to make it work for your family. If working at home means you are only grabbing snippets of time between everything else, you will quickly burn out and won’t achieve what you set out to achieve.
Create clear boundaries around your work time and what is to happen during that time. For example, no one can interrupt you, not even by sending messages. Switch off your phone, have your list of tasks to complete and focus on that.
As you set boundaries, other members of the family will try to test them. Be strong. It is up to you to enforce the boundaries and make sure you get the time you need.
2. Time Block
This goes along with setting boundaries. Allocate blocks of time for various tasks. It could be between 7 and 9am you are helping the family get ready, then 9 to 3 you are working as the kids are at school or in care. 3 to 6 might be taking kids to extracurricular activities etc.
You get the idea. Allocate your time in blocks so you can focus completely on the task at hand.
Too often, work at home moms, especially ones with their own businesses, work around the clock. They will check social media while cooking dinner or at the kids soccer match. The kids notice you are not present and then you feel guilty.
By blocking your time and being focused on the task at hand, everyone feels better and you achieve more.
3. Family Activities
Allocate time for family activities. If you are constantly working or running errands and just keeping it all together, the kids will notice and this is when your guilt is likely to kick in. By allocating time for family activities and sticking to it, the kids know there is special time you will do something as a family.
Family activities don’t need to be expensive. It could be a movie and popcorn at home, geocaching, going for a hike, a picnic at the park. Write a list of activities your family enjoys and schedule them in.
4. Know Your Why
Why do you work from home? Maybe it is so your kids can do the extra-curricular activities, or maybe it’s because you need a second income. Be clear on your why and remind yourself of it whenever you feel guilty.
Life is more expensive than ever. Wages have not kept up with the cost of living. As such, most families now have both parents working and use childcare. You are not alone in this and don’t need to feel guilty for helping to provide for your family.
“When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” A mother’s attitude and mood generally sets the tone for the house.
As such, it is crucial you allocate time for self-care. When we are running on empty, putting everyone before ourselves, we burn out. This impacts the whole family but especially us and our feelings of guilt, as well as resentment.
Make yourself a priority and allocate time and money for self-care. And we are not talking a trip to Target without the kids or being able to shower alone.
What actually makes you feel good, revived and motivated? Write a list of things you consider self-care and schedule them in.
When you take care of yourself, you will take better care of everyone else and be able to allocate more of your time and energy where you want. All of this leads to easing of guilt and the knowledge you are doing a great job.
6. Go Easy On Yourself
Whenever you start to feel guilty, take a step back and try to reframe your thoughts. If you know your why, you can easily use a phrase to stop those negative thoughts. Instead of thinking you’re a terrible mother for working all the time, reframe it to “I am a strong mother providing for my family.”
We cannot do everything or be everywhere at once. Learn your limits, set and enforce boundaries and go easy on yourself. You are doing the best you can with the knowledge and resources you have.
7. One on One Time
Implement one on one time with the kids. Have special moments with just them, be fully present and focused on them. Whether you take them for a snack at the local cafe and have a chat or go to their favourite park, it doesn’t matter.
Do something they enjoy with just them. These activities make kids feel loved and secure. When they feel that way, they are less clingy and you feel less guilty.
Allocate one on one time for dates too if you are in a relationship. Having that special time just the two of you will keep the relationship strong.