Dr. Laura Radziwon gives practical tips and advice for working moms on how to overcome guilt.
As a mom who works outside the home, the struggle to balance the demands of a career with the responsibilities inside the home can be overwhelming. Mom guilt is a familiar companion, gnawing at our hearts, as we wonder if we are doing enough for our families. However, it is essential to remember that God's grace is sufficient, we are not alone in this journey, and there really are some things we can do to alleviate this guilt.
The Reality of Mom Guilt
The modern world places immense pressure on women to excel in both their careers and motherhood. As a result, many working moms carry a heavy burden of guilt, fearing that their dedication to their profession may somehow compromise their ability to be present and nurturing mothers. This struggle is not unique to any one of us; it is a shared experience among countless working moms.
Multiple research studies (here and here, for example) have dismantled the notion that spending more time with our children automatically leads to better outcomes. In fact, it is the quality of the time spent with our little ones (and big ones!) that has a more significant impact on their development. Engaging in activities such as reading together, sharing meals, or having one-on-one conversations fosters successful behavioral, social, emotional, and academic outcomes later in life. This revelation relieves the pressure to be physically present every moment and encourages us to focus on the quality of the time we do spend with our children.
Practical Ways to Prioritize Quality Time
- Unplug in the evening: When you come home from work, make a conscious effort to disconnect from work-related stress and be fully present with your children. Turn off your cell phone and establish evening rituals such as going for a walk, reading a book together, or dancing to fun music. These simple activities create opportunities for meaningful connections and help your children feel valued and cherished. We are going for quality over quantity here.
- Take part in pretend play: Engaging in your child's imaginative world is not only enjoyable for them but also provides you with an opportunity to unwind and bond. Encourage your child to direct playtime activities, allowing them to feel loved, respected, seen, and heard. As you create magical moments together, you strengthen your relationship and create lasting memories.
- Give back to others: Involving your children in acts of service and kindness instills essential values such as gratitude, sharing, and generosity. Engage in community service projects together, such as cooking a meal for an elderly neighbor or collecting donations for school classrooms or teacher wish lists. These activities not only strengthen the bond between you and your child but also teach them the importance of giving without expecting anything in return.
Seek God's Guidance
In times of uncertainty and guilt, turning to our faith can offer solace and guidance. As Catholics, we believe that God has a unique plan for each of us, and that includes our vocation as mothers. Rather than succumbing to the pressure of worldly expectations, let us turn to God in prayer and discernment, seeking His will for our lives.
We often try to control every aspect of our lives, fearing that any misstep will have grave consequences. Instead, let us surrender our worries and anxieties to God, placing our trust in His divine providence. He knows our hearts and desires and will guide us on the right path.
Pray for Wisdom
Ask God for wisdom in making decisions concerning your career and family life. Seek His guidance in finding the right balance between the two and be open to His promptings. God's wisdom is boundless, and He will provide clarity in times of confusion.
We working moms face the dual challenge of fulfilling our professional aspirations while nurturing our families with love and devotion. Mom guilt may often weigh heavily on our hearts, but through God's grace, we can find strength and peace in our journey. By seeking His guidance, embracing our vocation, and making intentional choices with quality time with our children, we can overcome mom guilt and find a beautiful balance between our work and family life.
Copyright 2023 Laura Radziwon
About the Author
Laura Dimler Radziwon, Ph.D. is a military wife, mother of 3, developmental psychopathologist, and college professor. She studies how child development, parenting, and mental health work together during times of transition. Outside of that, she enjoys spending time in the sunshine with her children and rescue dog, reading too many books at once, and challenging her husband to a game of Scrabble.