An in-depth look at the working mom guilt many of us work at home moms know, and the steps I’ve taken to find balance.
As a work at home mom, I often feel pressure from both ends of the spectrum. I’m supposed to be a good stay at home wife and mom, but I’m also supposed to have a career and work full time hours. It often feels like I’m being stretched in opposite ways at the same time in an effort do balance it all, and in the end, I’m still left with the oh-so-well-known working mom guilt.
Do you know the feeling? So often I feel like a failure on both ends. How are we, as work at home moms, supposed to balance it all?
After ten years of trying, I think we’ve finally found a good rhythm. But I’ll tell you a secret. It involves me not doing it all.
Here are some of the ways I’ve found to stay sane and avoid the guilt over being less than perfect.
How I Balance it All and Avoid Working Mom Guilt:
Running a business from home means that I have to let go of a lot of those standards I used to hold on to so tight.
I can’t always keep up with all of the things I’d really like to keep up with on top of running a business. Eventually, I have to accept that there’s imply not enough time in the day. This is where I struggle the most with working mom guilt. I want so badly to have the perfect house. The busy volunteer schedule. I want to look like I have it all together, but I simply can’t have it all together without letting some things go.
Prioritizing becomes more important than ever over the years. Not everything can make the list.
My house is a mess more often than not.
Yeah, I know. My social media pictures never look messy. That’s because a) we’re sort-of minimalists, and b) I’m really good at camera angles and lighting that hides a lot of it.
The truth is, the house is a mess. I have piles of artwork and bills on my kitchen counter, there are crumbs on the floor, paint stains and glitter embedded into my table. I have animals who make messes, and my kids are in charge of their bathroom, which I always remember the moment company asks where it is. (Sorry).
We’re a homeschooling family. My house is set up for that purpose. I used to strive for a well decorated, clean home. Now, I strive for a home that my kids feel comfortable making a mess in and exploring new ideas in. I’m okay with that, because not only do I not want to spend every waking minute cleaning, that’s also not how I want my kids to remember me.
I’ve learned to ask for help.
Confession: My husband does almost all of our laundry and dishes.
Yes. You read that right.
Laundry and dishes are way down on my priority list these days, which means they usually get left for him. And he doesn’t even complain.
There’s still a common misconception that if I’m at home, I’m not really working, and should therefore have plenty of time for all of the household chores.
Believe me, I am working. And it’s a huge stretch on my time to be everything at once and still try to live up to societies standards for moms.
Learning to ask for help has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, and is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to new working moms. It doesn’t matter if you’re working outside the home or if you work from home. The time commitment is still there, and that means it’s time to ask for help.
I thought this post from a fellow blogger was really helpful. I especially like tip #3, and think it’s something we should be reminding ourselves of often.
I’ve learned to prioritize.
I often feel like a juggler in the circus, and the people around me just keep throwing more pins into the ring, expecting me to keep them in the air. At some point, I’m going to drop something, and if I’m not careful, it’ll be one of the most important “somethings.”
To keep that from happening, I have to be pretty strict with my priorities.
Do you have too much on your plate? Figure out what’s the most important, and focus on those things. Make the time for them. If you have time for more, do more, but don’t feel obligated to do any more than the most important things.
Learn to Say No
In an effort to focus only on your biggest priorities, I think it’s a really important lesson to learn to say “no” to those things that aren’t priorities.
Every single time you say yes to a new commitment, it’s taking away from thing else in your life. Consider what it’s taking away from. Is it bringing you closer to a big goal, or is it taking time away from it?
Stop saying yes to the things that don’t serve your ultimate purpose, so you can free up the time you need for what really matters.
I’m done with the working mom guilt
Do you often feel the pressure from all directions? As moms, we’re expected to have it all together, keep the house clean, cook good food, document life, have a career, and be a good wife. There rarely seems to be enough time in the day, and I often find myself succumbing to working mom guilt.
I’m done with that, though. It’s easy to feel guilty that we’re not doing enough, but I think as moms we need to give ourselves some grace and a little room to ask for help and let things go.
We don’t have to do it all. We just have to do the best we can.
More on motherhood, perfection, & real life:
- How to Find Your People (& Why it Takes Bravery)
- Why I Don’t Understand Modern Mom Culture
- How to Entertain Kids While You Work from Home
- The Best No-Cost Self Care Ideas for Mom