7 Ways to Overcome Mompreneur Guilt
Mommy guilt is the real deal. Stay-at-home, working mom, work from home mom, mompreneur guilt….it’s all so REAL. You will experience it at some time regardless of which category you fall in. About four in ten working moms said they don’t spend enough time with their children. Where 18% of part-time working moms and 11% stay-at-home moms said the same according to a Pew Research Center survey.
This statistic tells you one thing: You can’t win at the guilt game no matter how you play it.
I have been two out of the three types of moms. I’ve lived the life of a work outside of the home mom, and currently I have ditched the daycare and been a work from home mom. Why I chose not to be a stay at home mom? I guess I simply was not born with the Pinterest mom gene. My house is a mess, the kids toys are all over all the time, and yes, my husband still does his own laundry. And, up until just over a year ago, I thought I would be a professional working mom for the duration. I am college educated, professionally minded, and truly enjoy working.
Guess what. Life happens. The planets just happened to line up and simultaneously serve up very difficult circumstances: two ill parents, one increasingly stressful position in the IT department of a very large healthcare organization, a very feeble labrador retriever, and let’s not forget, two very young and needy children who are my everything. It was at the crux of losing my father and being asked to return to work full time (I had been maintaining part time hours in the office, while working the balance [and then some] from home) that I finally threw in the towel and said “I can’t do this” and I turned in my resignation.
The Guilty Truth
Now, I tell people all the time that things are going GREAT and that I love being a mompreneur! And when you compare it to what I was dealing with before, I DO love it. But what I don’t tell people is that I still battle the excessive guilt that comes with being a working mom.
I have replaced the guilt of dropping off my children at daycare for a well planned fun day of activities, (away from me) to the guilt of working from home, (with me) telling my kids, “not now, honey, mommy has to get this done” and “I can’t take you to the park right now. I have a call at noon”.
It seems like I can never sit down and run things as they should! I feel terrible at getting organized and blocking the time I need to plan. I forever feel like my family needs me. Being a work-from-home mom means we manage all of our responsibilities at once. Taking care of the kids, managing housework, and completing the work has to happen all at one time. True, we do not live by the grind of the 9-5, but all of our work is done while we carry the laptop from room to room trying to complete what we set out to for the day.
7 Ways to Overcome Mompreneur Guilt
Since it is impossible to give your entire self to both work and your family at the same time, here are 7 ways to overcome mompreneur guilt:
1. Plan Kids Only Time
This is time that you plan to spend only with your kids. Put the phone away, close the laptop and either head out to the park, or sit on the floor with them and play legos. While you may be missing some work time, your kids will not forget the attention you give them as they grow up.
2. Use a Planner
Speaking of planning, one very big way that I have reduced my guilt is that I have become more organized and used a planner. I have very specific tasks that need to be completed throughout the week to keep my business running. While some may seem menial or simple, if I write them down, they get done. Simple as that. The best part about my schedule is that when I am done for the day, I am DONE. No need to feel guilty about not working on by business.
3. Stay On Top of Your Health
Another way to utilize organization is to plan and organize your meals and exercise. There is no doubt that the one thing I do not want to suffer in this mompreneur adventure is my or my family’s health. You cannot enjoy your family or business if you’re too tired and unhealthy, or worse, not around long enough to see it through. What I do is go through the oh so entertaining Tasty videos, grab the recipe and create my shopping list. Perhaps the best part about it is that I save money by following the list! This is a good thing when I walked away from an almost-six-figure corporate gig to go it alone at home.
4. Remember Your Why
Meditate daily on your reasons why you are doing this. Believe me, I have encountered plenty of criticism for this choice. We are trained in society to go to work, work until 5 o’clock, collect our paycheck, and come home. The opposite of this would be to stay at home with the kids and manage the home. This new “in between” of working from home is a relatively new thing. I feel the real effects of not fitting in with the stay at home moms OR the working moms. I wake up every day reminding myself that I can enjoy (and have fun!) being a professional and at-home mom at the same time.
5. Remember that Working From Home Is a Real Job
Another common assumption you may encounter from your partner or your friends is that your mompreneur venture is not a real job, but rather a hobby. This could not be further from the truth! If you remind yourself of this fact, you will find yourself feeling less guilty. Why? Because the alternative would be going to work outside the home and leaving your kids in child care.
6. Consider Using a Babysitter While You are Working
One thing I have done when working from home is bringing a babysitter in when it’s necessary. Sometimes I have Skype calls, webinars, and other commitments in my business that require zero interruptions. Do I feel guilty paying a babysitter while I’m home? Sure, sometimes. But I also know first-hand what it means to have quiet time when working. Just try it.
7. Let It Go
Sometimes my kids go to school with messy hair and my house is destroyed with clothes and toys everywhere. You know what? It’s OK. You’re not superman. You can’t do EVERYTHING all at the same time. Mommy Guilt authors cite a perfect example:
Housework is an ideal example. In our survey for this book, 59 percent of participants reported feelings of guilt over not keeping up with the housework. So please, hear this: It is perfectly fine for your house to look as though children live in it—even when guests drop by! You can have toys on the floor, snacks out on the table, and shoes piled up near the door.
You have made a choice to be a mompreneur, and now you are living with it. Remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Working parents might feel guilty about missing out on time with their kids, but stay at home parents feel guilty about not bringing home a paycheck.
The biggest thing I have learned through my experience is that you only live once. And life changes on a dime. Remember that feeling guilty just means that you actually care and are trying to do what’s best for them.
The choices that you have made regarding your career and work seem like forever but they don’t have to be. I have often told myself that after the kids get a little older I’d be open to getting another job outside of the home. The only bad choice here is to be a miserable parent and partner. Everything else is relative. Who knows what the future holds!