All women who have kids and work outside of the home have guilt. Period. This is not an opinion or an assumption. It is a reality. Something happens to you when you give birth and you forever feel that responsibility and that tie to your child. So when you go to work, and leave that child behind, there is an incredible amount of guilt that goes with it. Even if you have no choice and must work, and maybe more so if you have a choice.
I think the hardest thing to reconcile is the personal need and personal self-worth that that women get at work vs. the need to provide for your children every moment of everyday. At this point in our society, not only is it ok to be a dad and a working man, but it is the expected path. Somehow though, many people still feel that women should be home with the children and that going to work is somehow putting kids second.
So how do you reconcile it? How do you get beyond the “Mommy Guilt” and feel good & proud of your choices? I wish that I had all the answers, but I don’t. At the very least, I can share what has worked for me:
1. I am proud of who I am. Being a business person and being successful makes me a better person and mother.
2. I love my life. I do not wish I was in a different place. I do not see my life passing by wondering whether I will regret my choices, but instead embrace my choices and rejoice that I am in a position to be a mom & a working woman.
3. I want my sons to see and KNOW that women have as much of a place in the work world as men. I want them to grow up with a successful working mom and eventually marry strong women. I want them to never think that women shouldn’t be involved in anything that they want to be involved in.
4. I try to keep extracurricular work activates down to a minimum. I would love to volunteer more, be a part of more advisory boards and help more people in entrepreneurship. But, I realize that there is only so much time in the day. Between my duties as a CEO and a mother, and my partnership as a wife, I just don’t have extra time. Give me another 15 years or so and then I should have lots more time to participate in extracurricular activities.
5. I don’t judge other women’s choices, but in return I expect to be respected for mine. Often times I hear working moms beat up on stay-at-home moms and vice versa. Women have a right to choose. And yes I know, some women don’t have a choice – they are single mothers or in a family that requires 2 incomes. But if you have chosen one way or another – then be happy with your choice and respect the choices of others.
6. I understand the compromises. My husband and I have been lucky enough to find good careers in a small town where I have family support. I would love to live in a bigger city, but I would give up the family support that helps make my life possible. Figure out the compromises that you can afford to make working and being a mom easier.