Recently I’ve read a lot of articles on ‘Mum Guilt’. A lot of them tend to talk about guilt in the context of mums going out to work, and the guilt of juggling family time with working life. One even described it as a rucksack that we carry on our backs - I quite liked this analogy.
For me the rucksack is always there. Some days its like a mini rucksack, with just enough weight to remind me it's there. Other days its 50 litres in size, with things hanging off the sides and jingling all the way to the nursery door! The rucksack is filled with guilt most working mums experience. The guilt that when I am working, I am losing precious time with my children - time we will never get back.
The days I am carrying an extra large 50 litre + rucksack - it is filled with guilt of a different kind. A kind some articles don't even make reference to. In my large rucksack I carry a guilt that I am embarrassed about. This is the guilt that I enjoy work. Some days I am so enthralled in my work because I love what I do. There are those days where I’m on a mission, I’ve got a piece of work to deliver, a client or apprentice to support, or an idea that I have to formulate before time runs out. When I carry guilt on those days, the guilt that I enjoy my work, the rucksack feels slightly heavier. When I am the last parent on pick up it increases tenfold.
Over the years I’ve found it doesn’t get any easier. However, I’ve found a few things that help lighten the load.
Here are my top tips:
1.Don’t be too hard on yourself – sometimes as mums we are our biggest critic. We often focus on the things we haven’t done and ignore the million things we have. Be kind to yourself and remember all you’ve achieved that day.
2.Do what’s best for you and your family – sometimes we compare ourselves to others and feel guilty that we are not following the same path as fellow mums we meet along the way. In the end does it really matter? Do what’s best for you – no one knows what you’ve been through and where you’re going.
3.Try to prioritise your time - I often ask myself do I need to do that today? What is the worst thing that would happen if I didn’t?
4.Talk to others about how you are feeling – if you’re having a bad week, a bad day or even a bad moment - talk about it. Choose the 'honest' mum – the one that will tell you how it really is, not how it looks on Instagram!
5.Take 5 minutes in every day to say thank you for all you have. Being grateful changes your perspective.
Kate Hopkinson is the founder of Dream Big Coaching. Dream Big Coaching offer 1-2-1 Coaching, CV support, LinkedIn Training, Interview, Job Search Support, and Actions Plans for New Businesses.
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