A couple weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about mom/dad guilt. How we feel guilty for being a working parent and spending time away from our kids. I wanted to elaborate on the guilt and how we can manage these feelings.
Here are 3 tips to manage the mom/dad guilt of being a working parent.
Disclaimer: I am not a child psychologist or even a perfect mother. I have just learned a few things (and still learning) in the eight years I have been a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I still mess up as a mom- often!! But family is part of work-life balance, so I think it’s important to discuss. While this article is mostly related to parents of younger children, I think a few concepts can also be used for adolescent years and beyond. If there are any parents who have made it through the “parenting a teenager years” and have advice, please share! I will be needing it very soon!
Tip #1 Lead by Example. Instead of worrying about taking time away from my kids, I focus on showing them how to achieve their goals. My actions teach concepts of hard work, believing in yourself, and overcoming adversities. I am leading by example and making more of an impact in my kid’s lives. If they learn nothing else in childhood, I want them to learn to love themselves and strive for their dreams. Graduating with a MSN, starting a business, running a marathon are examples of goals I have accomplished with my kids cheering for me. I love that they get to be involved in my goals and I show them anything is possible. I am leading by example everyday.
Tip #2 Be Present. Our kids want us to be present. They live for our attention. Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Our basic needs include food, water, and shelter. The next step is safety and security. The next level is love and belonging. Our children need to know we love them and one way is being mentally present when around your kids. I don’t do it perfectly. There are some days I am tired and overwhelmed. But I do strive to give my kids the love and attention they deserve. Put your phone in the drawer, turn off the TV, play a game with your kids, enjoy a meal at the table, talk to your kids. Our children need to know they are loved and that they belong.
Tip #3 Stop the Comparison. We too often compare ourselves to other parents and end up feeling less of ourselves. Some parents volunteer in the classroom, coach their daughter’s softball team, or remember to pack their child’s homework the night before school. While other parents work full time and provide for their family. The sooner we can stop comparing ourselves to the other moms, the sooner we will find joy in our own lives. Plus, remember: to your child, you are their everything. There’s a reason they gave you the homemade “World’s #1 Mom” sign. They love you for who you are and don’t compare you to other moms, so why would you? Your children need you to be you.
If you think you’re messing up a mom, I guarantee you’re not. It doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be you.
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