Pragmatics of Dealing with “Working Mom” Guilt by Lauren Marie, Joy of Business Certified Facilitator and mother of one-year old twins
The number one question that I get all the time from working moms is some variation of: “How can I go to the office or even travel to another country without my kid(s) and not feel bad about it?”
Guilt, as well as its cousins, shame and blame, really have only this purpose – to control you and to distract you from what you are really aware of. Whenever you feel guilty, recognize it isn’t real, it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong, and ask: “If I wasn’t feeling guilty right now what would I be aware of?”
Children will manipulate you with guilt, as will adults! My kids try this one all the time, pouty lips and tears. ‘But moooooom you can’t walk away from me, I neeeeeeed you!’ They’re only one-year old (twins) so they don’t actually say this out loud but you can totally hear it in their heads. Two ready-born masters of manipulation.
Your family, your co-workers, peers, friends… so many of us have been taught to believe it is wrong for mothers to spend any significant amount of time away from their children. Even though this seems like a concept that should be long out-dated by now.
If you are a “working mom” you may feel the need to justify spending time at work. Usually the “reason” for working is that the family needs your job as a source of money.
What if you were to look at the real reason that you are choosing to work? Do you enjoy creating? Do you enjoy the break from your kids? What if you didn’t have to justify your choices …and it was okay just to choose?
If you can come to work with the energy of it being a choice that you are making, not something you are forced to do, what would that create for you, your business, and your money flows?
As for the kids, here are some pragmatic tips for creating ease with them and you!
1. Whenever you go away, whether down the street or across the world, flow the kids massive amounts of energy. Imagine a tidal wave or a volcano erupting… from you to them. You want to fill them up with so much of your energy that they know you are always with them, even when your physical body is elsewhere!
2. Ask: “Truth: Do they require anything?” Because as their mom, you assume it is your job to do something if they are upset. What if that’s not required? Ask this question (to yourself, not to them). If you get a no, great. If you get a yes, then you want to ask, “Truth: what do they require?”
3. When you travel, bring a small present for them back with you. Bribes are great because they work!
4. When the kids get older, talk to them openly and vulnerably about how making money works. Ask them if they enjoy their toys, their Ipad, or their vacations. Tell them how much things cost. Give them the information! Even small kids can understand, “This is how mommy pays for your Playstation games and pretty dresses.”
When my twins were 7 months old, I traveled to South Africa with them for a 7-day class. One day at lunch I had a business meeting. A friend was holding my daughter and she could see that I was there, but wasn’t holding her. She started crying and fussing wanting to come to me. My friend told her, “see Mommy is right there, making money for you. This is how Mommy makes you money. Can you quiet down so she can do that?” She stopped crying instantly.
Never underestimate what your kids can understand based on their age. Include you and your business, and don’t give up what brings you joy or creates more for your future, and your kids will know that when they grow up they can have and be whatever they desire too!
Lauren Marie lives on the Sunshine Coast of Australia with her husband and one-year old twins where she supports the family while working from home, traveling, and enjoying living. She is an Access Consciousness Certified Facilitator, a Joy of Business Facilitator and offers classes and private sessions online and worldwide.
You can find out more at www.meetlaurenmarie.com and you can check out her Joy of Business Facilitator Profile by clicking here.