A few years ago my mum said to me “I still feel guilty about going to work when you guys were little”
I am 42 years old!
I was really surprised and had no idea that she felt that way.
It was probably her statement that originally got me interested in the topic of mummy guilt and the struggle that mums have to find the work/life balance.
My background is in education and before I had my children I was the Deputy Head in a private school in London.
A large (sometimes tricky) part of my role there was dealing with the parents – predominately the mothers!
And as tricky as it sometimes was, in the 11 years that I was there it was often rewarding watching mums grow and develop in confidence.
Starting The Mother Hood was an almost natural progression after my second baby, when I found that being a mum of two little ones was quite isolating and loney at times. I wanted to find a way that I could help mums and support them. I often have mums commenting that “It’s so nice to know you are not the only one going through something.”
The support and empowerment of mums is a big reason that I do what I do.
As mums, and women, I think that many of us deal with guilt on a daily basis.
Everyone deals with it differently and some of us just find it easier to let it go than others.
I think that my background of working with children makes it easier for me to deal with as I know fundamentally that children are a lot more resilient than we think.
So where does the mummy guilt come from?
I think that as mums it is easy to focus on what it is we haven’t achieved in the day or the week. Whether it is in our work or our family life, rather than what we have actually achieved we focus on the negative rather than celebrate ourselves.
So let’s look at some of the ways we can combat the mummy guilt.
Who managed to get out of bed this morning?
Who managed to get dressed this morning and get their children dressed?
Who managed to feed their children?
And who managed to feed their children semi nutritious food?
Double Boom – in fact that is a high five!
Those are all pretty good achievements if you ask me.
Lets celebrate the things that we manage to do everyday – even with husbands and partners that help it is still the mum that does the lions share of the domestic role.
Number 2 Frame of Mind
It is important to remember that we are REAL WOMEN not Super Women.
It is easy to get caught up in the coiffured world of social media.
Comparing ourselves to others that we think have it all together.
I will let you into a little secret….. No one has it all together!
They may look like they do but they don’t.
And if they say they do….. they are lying!
Or maybe they are just having a really, really good day.
Number 3 Be confident in your own abilities as a mum
I am never, ever going to be a pinterest mum, making rainbow rice.
I am crap at birthday cake decorating and I hate sitting and playing dolls – even as an early years teacher I hated it.
Didn’t make me a bad teacher and it doesn’t make me a bad mum.
I am a great at doing lots of other things – I let that other stuff go!
I am not a mummy martyr – we all know the type!
The ones who believe that the more they suffer the better mother they are!
(Who knows one of those!)
Or those mums that seem to have the perfect work / life balance?
I have actually decided that the work/life balance is a myth!
And that brings me to Number 4
Number 4 Work/Life Balance
I have given up trying to find balance because I don’t thing it exists.
Some days I get out of bed and I can take on the world – I get loads done. The kids are happy playing and I manage to continue working or if I’m lucky enough I can get the grandparents to take them for a while.
Or those weeks when the deadlines are due or your tax return has to be in and you just have to work and get it done. (I often work during the weekends as it means I don’t have to worry about child care.)
But then there are days that the kids are sick or the sun is out and it makes far more sense to go to the park.
I recently heard it referred to as ‘Eb and Flo’
Weeks have ebs and flows – some weeks it’s all about the hustle and others it’s all about the family. Being really present in the moment.
Going with the flo.
Sometimes the work can wait!
Number 5 is for working mums
Remember your WHY
Why do you do what you do?
Let your family and friends see the passion you have for your business and for what you do.
It is a great way to involve them and what a great example you are setting for your children.
It’s ok to be thinking about your business while you are watching the kids play – when you are passionate about something you think about it all the time.
Don’t beat yourself up about it!
We have all spent plenty of boring work meetings thinking about something else!
Remember the Eb and Flow
Today I want you to think about what you feel the most mum guilt about.
I want you to come up with an action or strategy to let it go because the person that is most affected by mummy guilt is you and that is not good for anyone!
Lets try to let one thing go today – let one little guilty thing fly out the window and not come back.
In the emortal words of Elsa “Let it go!”
Because if you were to ask your husband or partner if they felt guilty about going out to work everyday what do you think they would say?