Being a working mother can be rough. Most days we feel like failures who have let down our families and our jobs. Whatever we accomplish, never seems to be enough. So, how can you do it all? The truth is, you can’t. Today we are going to walk you through letting go of some of the lies that all working moms have come to believe.
Lie #1: That You Should Be Able To Balance Work And Family
Maybe you can, some weeks. But being able to balance work with your family accurately, can be an impossible expectation to achieve. Some weeks when you have big projects due and endless meetings, your job will take precedence. Those weeks where your husband and kids all came down with the flu, will be more family focused.
We can’t balance everything perfectly, but we can try our best to make time for what really matters. Like not feeling bad about missing some office happy hours to read a story to our kids before they fall asleep. Or, spending time driving your kids to daycare, even if it makes you a little later for work. Think about the things that you don’t want to sacrifice, and balance those with your work schedule.
Lie #2: You Have To Make Up For Being Gone During The Week, Each Weekend
That if you don’t plan super fun and exciting weekends, every weekend, for your kids, that they will hate you and think you’ve neglected them. That is not true, moms. Yes, we should put more effort into our families on the weekends when we aren’t a slave to our computers and inboxes. However, that doesn’t mean we have to make ourselves sick with planning. Your kids might have just as much fun spending time with you going for a walk, as they will heading to Build-A-Bear. Be wise in the activities you choose to do with them. Having a relaxing weekend at home can still give you the opportunity to bond with your kids.
Lie #3: Stop Feeling Guilty For Saying No
This could be saying no to serving on another school committee, or just no to seeing a friend you love during a busy week. We can’t do it all, and we don’t have to. Doing a few things well is much better than saying you can do it all and doing those things poorly. Be open and honest about what you can still put on your plate with your family. If it’s nothing, then focus on your family. Don’t feel guilty about protecting your time.
Lie #4: You’re A Horrible Mom For Working
Now, I am not at all saying that it is not hard and challenging to be a stay at home mom. Both working and stay at home moms face many challenges, just in different areas. Sometimes, we can inadvertently or intentionally, put guilt on the other party. Stay at home moms can guilt working moms into not being around as much, and thus neglecting their children. Working moms can also play a role by wanting stay at home moms to run all the booster meetings and hold the PTA offices.
Both are in the wrong. You are not an awful person for having career goals even though you have children. I was raised by a working mother, and never once did I feel anything less than cherished and loved. If your kids are happy and know you love them, that is all that matters. Don’t let what you think other people think, discourage you. You are doing a great job.
Lie #5: That You Have To Attend Every Single Office Get Together
If you like the people you work with and like spending extra time with them, this might not be an issue. But, for many working mothers out there, you are afraid to be seen as not being a “team player” just because you missed a happy hour. Some people don’t have families, and as many responsibilities, as you do, it’s just a fact. So do a better job of picking and choosing what you need to do with your work family.
Yes, you should attend the holiday party, but you may be able to limit the happy hours to only once a month or every couple of weeks. As long as your work isn’t suffering, and you are still engaging with the people around you, people are not going to be upset. But, if you do notice that people are angry that you are skipping out on office events, you may have cut back too much.
Lie #6: That Your Husband Can’t Help
I hope that I am wrong in this assumption and that many of you ladies rely on your spouse for help with the kids or around the house. But, the fact remains, that many of us spend too much of our time trying to be super mom. Instead of burning ourselves out trying to do it all and do it well, rely on the man who promised to be with you in sickness and in health. Your husband may be oblivious to the fact that you need more help. By having an open discussion about the chores you need to start splitting, you are on your way to a much more balanced home life.
Lie #7: That YOU Have To Be The One Cleaning, Cooking, Doing Traditionally Female Jobs
Society has put more pressure on women than ever before. We are now expected to get married, have families, and still have thriving careers. We should only need five hours of sleep, give flawless PowerPoint presentations, and do all the laundry for our families one day a week. When people visit our homes, they should be treated with appetizers and a spotless kitchen, not the wrecked havoc of baby toys and crumbs. But, let’s face it. Just because we are women doesn’t mean that we should have all that pressure on our shoulders.
Because we are also working, we are doing as much, if not more each day, than our husbands. Stop believing gender stereotypes by not asking your husband ever to cook, clean, or do the laundry. He can do all of those things, and if he loves your family, should be glad to help.
As you can see, we have all believed a fair amount of lies about being a mother with a career. I hope that I have been able to dispel and shed light on these lies for you today. Remember that you are doing an amazing job, even if you yelled at your kids after working today. Take a deep breath, exhale, and know that you have what it takes to face the days in front of you.