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Working mom guilt is very real. And it can have devastating results if allowed to dominate your thinking.
This kind of guilt is basically mom guilt. Except, it’s been subtly repackaged to make you think you’re an even worse mom for trying to grow a business while also being mom.
It tells you that GOOD moms don’t work while their children are home. Or awake.
It tells you that GOOD moms don’t use convenience foods when life gets crazy. Or have to worry about engaging their kids for a few minutes so they can take a client phone call without interruption.
Working mom guilt tries to convince you that working from home and being a good mom are incompatible. To tell you that you CANNOT be a good mom while running a business.
But, despite it’s fancy new packaging and the worries it sends to your brains, you can combat working mom guilt with truth. This kind of guilt really doesn’t like truth. That’s because this kind of guilt, unlike some legitimate guilty feelings, does not speak the truth.
It prefers you to be the victim, to realize how wrong you were for doing or not doing x,y, or z. Because when you have a victim mentality, or allow the guilt to paralyze you, it wins.
Working mom guilt winning means you aren’t.
So when it strikes, here are five important truths to cling to. These can help you learn to see the guilt for the fraud it really is, and realize that you are a GREAT mom.
1. Moms Have Been Working from Home for Centuries
While the term “Work at Home Mom” may be fairly new, the concept most certainly is not. Moms have been working hard for centuries. They had to in order to survive.
When you think of the book, Little House on the Prairie, you begin to see what I’m talking about. Ma Ingalls didn’t sit and cater to her young children’s’ every need. She didn’t get down on the floor and play doll with them each day.
Instead, she did what needed to be done, while involving her kids in her work.
She taught her kids important lessons and skills while spending tons of time with them.
- Sewed quilts to keep the family warm over the winter
- Made cheese and butter to preserve the milk
- Turned basic ingredients into filling meals
- Kept the house clean, even with a dirt floor
And so much more!
The Ingalls worked hard to survive, and most importantly, they worked as a team. The children all pitched in, regularly.
This philosophy has been the backbone of family life since practically forever.
Working together towards a common goal is important. It involves everyone and helps them to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. This way of thinking teaches important skills to the next generation. Skills that gave children a wonderful work ethic, and an understanding of the importance of work.
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2. Quantity Time IS Important
There’s a huge focus on quality time right now. So many Pins on Pinterest share ways to build memories, and spend quality time together with your children.
But, quality time absolutely cannot make up for a lack of quantity time.
If the only time you’re making memories with your kids is when you’re on vacation or doing a Pinterest perfect art project, there’s something wrong.
You see, despite what people say, kids make memories ALL the time.
I want my kids to remember sitting next to me, while we all worked quietly. I want them to remember the hours spent homeschooling together, even if it’s just reading from a book and not making projects.
Yes, I even want them to look back and remember us cleaning and cooking and doing farm chores together. And the evenings when we were all so tired we just turned on the television and crashed on the couch.
Those memories are important. They will look back and realize that the time we spent together mattered. It wasn’t what we were doing, but the consistent presence. Even when I wasn’t “focused” on my children.
Some of my favorite memories of my own childhood are the hours spent in my mom’s classroom after school. She worked hard and put in long hours. Since she was a single mom at the time, my sisters and I tagged along.
After getting my homework done, I’d help copy worksheets, create centers, decorate the classroom, and more.
None of it was fancy.
None of it was designed as a “special project” she found online for us to do together.
It was just work that needed to be done. And we did it, together.
I really think these experiences shaped my desire to become a teacher when I grew up. I had many of the skills and much understanding of the profession down solid before I spent a day in college.
Quantity time plays an essential role in your child’s development. And as a mompreneur, you have the opportunity to involve your kids. You don’t have a boss telling you your kids can’t work with you.
So integrate the kids into your business, and spend time working together. They will remember how hard you worked, and how you let them do actual tasks to help. They’ll see that you believe in them.
These experiences will shape your kids.
3. You Having a Business Is Good for Your Kids
When your kids grow up, do you want them to be used to being pampered? To feel entitled to anything they desire simply because they want it?
Or do you want them to know the value of hard work? How you can use your skills, education, and experience to create a side hustle, or even your own career that’s a great fit?
I sure pick the latter.
My kids know that when you want something, it takes money. To get money, the best place to go is to work. And they are willing to work.
It’s been so neat to watch their entrepreneurship develop over the past three years. They’ve gone from talking about working for other people to having their own businesses.
- One wants to be a “sewer” and create beautiful things for other people.
- Another wants to be a graphic designer, and pick up clients in a side hustle to help pay for college.
- One wants to be a carpenter, and run his own business.
- Another is talking about having an in-home daycare so she can take care of babies all day. 😀
And yes, I know these possibilities will all likely change before my kids move out on their own and get started in their business paths.
But, watching me believe in myself enough to launch a business and keep at it consistently over time has changed their way of thinking.
My kids have learned that you really can trade your time, talent, and skills for money. That if you’re meeting a need, there are people ready to pay.
And they’re spending time now investing in those skills of interest. Learning how to sew. And create beautiful graphics on the computer. Playing with baby dolls and entertaining younger siblings. Drawing blueprints and testing out tools.
Quiet time gives them a chunk of time each day to dive into their interests. To learn more. And if I hadn’t been growing a business, I doubt I’d have been so consistent in keeping quiet time in our schedules.
Giving them an entrepreneurial spirit isn’t the only reason why you having a business is good for you kids. You can read my entire post on the topic here.
4. You Are Not That Other Mother
So often working mom guilt rises when you see someone else supposedly have it all down. When they’re rocking beautifully decorated cookies, live in a house that’s photo ready all the time, and down on the floor playing cars with their son every day.
You see them, and you start to compare.
And comparisons lead to working mom guilt.
I really think social media has compounded this whole guilt issue. It makes us feel bad about our reality.
That’s because it’s so easy to snap a picture and write a cute little caption, even if it’s not capturing the entire picture. You can look like you have everything together when you really don’t.
Social media does not capture real life.
And I think it does moms a disservice to spend a lot of time on there. The more we see other people supposedly having it all together, the worse we feel about ourselves.
We wonder why we can’t keep the house clean, play with the kids, and send them out with stunning outfits. After looking at the partial picture of someone else, our big-picture view of ourselves seems bad.
And we become less content with who we are, the family we have, and the skills we were given.
Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not them. They are not you.
Your family is different. Your budget is different. Everything about you is different.
So why should you look like them?
Embrace who you God made you to be. Love on the kids you have, not the ones you wish you did.
And stop trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Not everything will work for you and your family. So stop trying to make it. Just do you. Do what works for your family.
And then stop trying to fix things that aren’t broken.
5. Working Mom Guilt Wants You to Fail
Working mom guilt is not your friend. It’s not subtly pointing out areas where you could improve, and helping you become a better mom.
Instead, it’s making you feel bad for everything you do.
You will never be good enough for mompreneur guilt.
Even when you have one of those “good days.” On those days, the lens of mompreneur guilt will still point out every single failure. It’ll show you what you could have/should have done differently.
And you will continue to feel like a failure. That’s where mompreneur guilt wants you to be.
Because when you embrace the truth, you’ll realize that you are pretty amazing. That you are enough to those around you.
That you are not the pathetic creature that guilt wants you to believe you are.
Believing in yourself will help you overcome mompreneur guilt. Realizing that what you are doing, and that you are doing it for a purpose, can change your mindset.
You can confidently work on your business without feeling guilty about “wasting” this time.
You will learn to streamline to make time for your business. You’ll ask your kids to help you, not just in your business, but also around the house.
Because as a team, you can do more. And as a mom not struggling under the weight of mompreneur guilt, you will be able to shine. You’ll feel lighter.
Working Mom Guilt Is Persistent
Working mom guilt is persistent. It will pop back up into your thinking from time to time. It’s just what mompreneur guilt does.
It comes from nowhere and sees if you’re ready to get back under it’s power.If you’re ready to believe you’re a failure again. To stop living and embracing life and start worrying about being good enough.
So whenever it strikes, review these truths:
- Moms have been working from home for centuries. It really was the social norm until recently.
- Quantity time is important. You can’t redo life, so make the most of it now. Spend time together, even if it’s doing mundane things.
- Your business is GOOD for you kids!
- You are not that other mother. Stop making comparisons and get off social media if it’s causing you to feel like a failure.
- Mompreneur guilt wants you to fail. You will never be good enough in its eyes.
And if you know another mompreneur struggling with guilt, please share this post with her.
Let’s spread the word that working mom guilt wants us to fail. Because if we know it’s purpose, it’ll help us to move forward.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.