9 reasons why working mums shouldn't feel guilty11th Oct 18 | Lifestyle
Setting a great example for your child is most definitely one of them, says Claire Spreadbury.
Being a working mum is undeniably difficult.
You’re supposed to be overjoyed that you’re having your cake and eating it. Yes, that’s right, it’s 2018 and we can be earth-mother types while still holding up a career. Lucky old us. But – you’re constantly being pulled in 20 different directions. Choosing between an important meeting at work, or seeing your child perform in the harvest assembly is just one of a gazillion choices many parents will have to make this week (me included). And there’s no winning answer. Whichever side you pick, you always feel guilty.
The same goes for dads, of course. This isn’t just a mum thing. But working parents really are setting a good example for their children – and should be proud. Here’s why…
1. It teaches kids to be self-sufficient and adaptable
“The truth is, I don’t believe that working mums should feel guilty,” says transformational guide, Sophia Davis (sophiadavis.co.uk). “Children tend to grow up more independent. They are also learning to become self-sufficient, flexible and adaptable, and get the privilege of seeing a woman who hasn’t totally abandoned her own identity due to becoming a mother. She is now whatever she was before, and she is also a mother. That gives a very strong message.
“I believe it’s very natural to feel guilty, however. The reality is, people have to do what they have to do. Be willing to feel the guilt, and continue with life, making sure we remain as present as we can in the moments that we are with our children. And, as much as possible, not bringing work or any other distractions into the time that we do have together,” Davis adds.
2. It will make you more organised
“In time, you will all benefit,” notes Toby Ingham (tobyingham.com), a UKCP registered psychotherapist, and member of The Guild of Psychotherapists and The Association of Psychotherapists. “It may be beneficial to establish predictable and reliable routines, and children tend to do better when they have good routines. They may become better at managing time themselves.”
3. It’s good for your soul
“It is good for a mother’s mood and emotional wellbeing to get a break from home life and chores. Being able to focus on work and the social side that comes from that, is good for you, and makes you look forward to going home to children,” says Ingham.
4. Feeling guilty is a waste of time
“Working mums either have to work, or choose to work for their own fulfilment and wellbeing,” notes relationship counsellor Cat Williams, speaker and author of Stay Calm And Content No Matter What Life Throws At You (staycalmandcontent.com). “Both are essential, so what is there to feel guilty about?”
Guilt, she continues, is an emotion that stems from fear. “What we are actually afraid of is that we’re making, or have made, the wrong decision (or that someone else thinks we are/have). Our decisions are based on love, fear, or a combination of the two. The more a decision is based on love, the less guilty we are likely to feel about it, because we truly care about what has motivated us to make that decision.
“Once we’re clear we’ve made the best decision possible, any guilt becomes an irrelevant waste of time. Beating ourselves up with unnecessary guilt doesn’t help us, our children, or anyone else.”
5. Everyone is at least a little bit happier
“I’m not sure if being a working parent is a guarantee to raise happy children, but I do think to be well-balanced and to get a self-confidence boost outside of the home, whether it’s full-time work, a hobby or volunteer role, contributes to being a happy person. And if you are happy, your children will be,” says Julia Brucher, co-founder of Kidsorted (kidsorted.com). “At the end of the day, I want to inspire my girls that there is no glass ceiling, that they can be and achieve whatever they want to. If I don’t follow that mantra myself, how will they ever learn?”
6. You’re financially better off
“It’s good for the family finances to have both parents bringing in income,” states Ingham. “More income helps provide a more stimulating and safer environment. It means you can plan for quality holidays and spend better time together.”
7. It makes you a good role model
It is good for children to know and see that mum works, and does more than being at the beck and call of her brood. As Ingram notes: “It helps to develop independent children – they’ll learn to do things for themselves, it helps foster self-reliance.”
8. It can force you to spend more quality time with the family
“Working can help focus the mind, so you make the most of the time that’s available to spend with children,” says Ingham.
9. It’s good for your relationship
“It helps to keep an equilibrium in the partnership; dads have to pull their weight and be more hands-on,” adds Brucher. “I believe it’s more likely for partners to be on a level as both contribute financially.”
So, forget about the guilt. Being a working parent might be hard, but you’re doing a very brilliant thing.
© Press Association 2018