I always longed to be a stay-at-home mom. My mom did it. My grandmother did it. And that is how I pictured my life, too. I’d be supermom, doing crafts with the kids all day and having dinner ready for my husband when he came home from work each night. My husband and I got married right after I graduated from college and we started our family a few years later. With working several jobs between us to pay the bills and my husband returning to college to change careers, I soon realized that staying at home wouldn’t be my reality.
I was blessed to get a job that turned into a rewarding and successful career. Still, I would hear moms talking about their playdates and the fun they had at moms’ groups. And though I know being at home all day with kids has its own unique set of challenges, waves of working mom guilt still overwhelmed me as I left my kids at daycare for the next eight hours. Can you relate? Need some encouragement? Here’s some food for thought.
Think about how your job benefits your family.
Perhaps your job allows your family to afford lessons and classes, take vacations together, or put money in a savings account for your kids’ college educations. And don’t fret about those stay-at-home dreams. Successful career moms may become efficient in both worlds.
No matter what you do for a living, you can show them a good work ethic and the importance of honesty and integrity in the workplace. When my kids were born, I felt this extra incentive to be an example. As a woman in the workplace, I especially wanted to show my daughters how a woman could be whatever she wanted to be.
As a woman in the workplace, I especially wanted to show my daughters how a woman could be whatever she wanted to be.
Don’t think about the time you don’t have. Use what you do have.
Working mom guilt fades a little when you focus on the positive. Take advantage of car rides home from daycare or school, using them to spark conversations or teachable moments. Use bedtimes wisely and read, sing, or talk with your child. It’s a great and important bonding time.
Don’t think about the dishes in the sink (as much).
Having a job outside the home actually has given me balance. I know my natural tendency is to get hyper over undone housework, but with only an hour or so in the evening to do everything, I realized: I can’t do everything. So I do what I can and remind myself of what is more important—the dust bunnies or my kids?
Think about the education and socialization your kids will get.
When you do your homework and find a quality daycare, your children will learn a lot. Not only will they get an early start on their education, but they will learn how to play well with others and make new friends in the process.
What do you find most rewarding as a mom who works outside the home?
Lori Clapper is a radio personality, freelance writer, editor, speaker, mom to three kids, and is married to an incredible guy.