There’s an enormous amount of pressure on mums to do the best job that they can. Of course, much of this stems from the natural maternal instincts of motherhood. But there are additional internal and external factors that add to the pressure for working mums. I spoke to Yahoo Finance all about coping with 'mum guilt'. Click here to read the full article, and read on to hear what I had to say.
Externally, there’s a need to meet the demands of our family and the demands of our workplace, juggling responsibilities in two very different worlds. Internally, we often pile the pressure on ourselves too. This often comes in the form of self-criticism and negative thoughts about what we are doing wrong. And sometimes guilt if we prefer one aspect of our lives to another. This is particularly the case if we find pleasure, stimulation and freedom from our work life, in comparison with our life as a parent.
What can make coping with 'mum guilt' even more difficult?
Comparing ourselves to other mums, or other working mums who appear to be doing a better job, or managing the juggle better.
Berating ourselves when things fall through the cracks of the juggle. Maybe a form doesn’t get filled in at school, or a deadline doesn’t get met at work, or the children spend more time than we would like in front of a screen. This can lead to anxiety, as our neverending 'to do' list turns into an uncontrollable swirl.
Other people’s judgements. It’s hard enough coping with our own self-criticism, but if other people suggest that we are doing badly, or criticise our choices, then it can make things even harder.
What might make alleviate the struggle of coping with 'mum guilt' in the workplace?
Offer real flexibility, and create an environment where mums feel that they can take advantage of this without fear of judgement. Sometimes being a working mum means that you might need to move things around last minute to accommodate your childcare responsibilities. But when an employer is understanding and flexible, this is likely to be met with loyalty and motivation from an employee.
Support each other. Build and join networks for working mums so that you can motivate and support each other as peers.
Reflect on the importance of role models for sons and daughters. To show them that you can be an effective and caring working mum, nurturing your family and your career.
Understanding the concept of the ‘good enough mother’. We absolutely don’t need to be perfect all the time. We need to be ‘good enough’. This means offering our children a sense of security, and affection and attention. And owning up to our mistakes and make steps to repair them.