Dear Working Mom/Nurse,
You know what they say about motherhood and nursing. They are the two most thankless jobs in the world, and yet for some reason, there are people (yes, you!) who choose to do them both! Thankless? Yes; at times. Much of the time, actually. Yet there are priceless moments as well. Moments that make it all infinitely rewarding. When your wee one comes up behind you, grabs you in a bear hug, and says, ‘I love you, Mommy,’ just because; or when that difficult patient that never had a single kind word to say to you, smiles as he’s being discharged and whispers a small, ‘Thank you!’ It’s in these instances that you get flashes of utter contentment and realize that you’ve chosen the right path in life. Motherhood and nursing. Nursing and motherhood. That is, until the working mom guilt sets in…
From one working mom to another, here’s a collection of great tips for assuaging that working mother’s guilt.
- A Case of ‘I Should…’
Get rid of the word ‘should.’ Remove it from your vocabulary. Pretend it does not exist. We’re constantly playing a game with ourselves. A game that so simply starts with the words, ‘I should really…’ No. Such. Thing. Shoulds are the product of societal expectations, familial pressures, and those so called ‘child experts’ who with every word they write and speak cause us to mire ourselves even more strongly in this self inflicted grip of guilt. Instead, play a game of, ‘I could…’ I could do (blank), but is it really necessary?? As long as you know that what you’re doing is right for you and your child there is no reason in the world to sit and admonish yourself for the way ‘someone else’ thinks you ‘should’ do things. And truth be told, there’s a very good chance that you and your kids are happy because of, not in spite of the fact that you’re at work for part of or most of the day.
- List It
If you’re a list person, you’ll love this idea. Make a list of all the reasons you go to work, whether they seem noble or petty. Is it because you need the money? You love your job? Need to get out of the house so you can be a better parent for when your kids do come home? Want to set an example for your children? I’m sure there are a slew of reasons. The greatest thing about this idea is that oftentimes on paper, your mind allows you to see things in black and white. YOU belong in the work force. Now guilt be gone! And keep that list, just in case the guilt comes creeping up on you once again, sometime down the line.
- Avoid THOSE People
You know THOSE people? The ones who each time you have a conversation with them, make THE remark. ‘I would never ever let someone else raise my child. How could you allow yourself to be out all day?’ So either they’re being downright rude and you ought to avoid them at all costs, for your own sanity. Sometimes, though, you have to consider where they’re coming from. Maybe, for reasons unbeknownst to you, they were forced to give up a job they loved, and this is the only way they can cope with their ‘loss.’ Still not totally excusable, and still not a reason to sit and chat with them on a daily basis, but it does put things in a different light.
- Remember: Everyone Has Challenges
Family brunch, scrapbooking, cuddling time, and dancing in the fields. In your head, this is the life of the stay at home mom. A more accurate picture would be toys everywhere, kids crying, coloring on the walls, and one pretty stressed out mom who feels like she has to put on an act for the rest of the world because she has it ‘easy.’ She gets to stay home with her little ones and bond with them over a batter of cookie dough. Bottom line is, though, staying home with your kids is a challenge in and of itself. Never let yourself think otherwise.
- Mourning is Healthy
Did I say mourning? I sure did. Mourn what you feel you’ve lost as a result of your working mom status. No, you will not be there for every single milestone; yes, they may run from your arms into the babysitter’s. It’s okay, though. You will always be your child’s mom and you will always have the best in mind for them. And remember, that while your routine now seems so permanent, life has a funny way of changing, and today’s reality might not be so down the line. You may end up the stay at home mom one day. Who knows??
Tell yourself this: I am the best mother I can possibly be and I have my children’s best interests at heart. Why? Because it’s the truth. While Mother’s Day may have been yesterday, every day is in essence Mother’s Day. So Happy Mother’s Day to all the working and stay at home moms out there!
All the best,
Your fans at MSC