Mom guilt as a nurse practitioner: 4 tips to manage

mom guilt as a nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioner moms have so much pressure working against them. As nurse practitioners, we are prone to mom guilt for a variety of reasons. Our work days are filled with constant mental and emotional demands. We need to be at the top of our game when people’s lives are at stake.

Throw in working more than full time hours and bringing charts home, disrupting our nurse practitioner work-life balance. Nurse practitioners constantly give of themselves to care for others.

As parents, when we get home from work, we are bombarded with caring for more humans. There are mouths to feed. Homework to be done. Homes to clean. And the endless piles of laundry to fold (who’s with me on this one?!).

With all of these demands on our plates, its no wonder so many nurse practitioners experience mom guilt.

Nurse practitioners feel bad for working full time. We feel in the wrong because we drop our kids off at daycare/school to go to a job that is burning us out. We wish we could spend more time with our kids while also enjoying our work. We feel like a candle burning at both ends.

It hurts when our children beg us to stay home and don’t fully understand why we have to go take care of others. We feel like we’re not good enough as a parent. We feel like we should be doing better.

This is mom guilt.

While this article will discuss mom/dad guilt, there are many helpful articles on The Burned-out Nurse Practitioners blog page for overcoming nurse practitioner burnout.

I have definitely struggled with mom guilt, and still do some days. I know I have to work a nurse practitioner job to provide for my family. But I feel guilty that the job takes time away from my kids. Even if I am able to leave the office by 5:00pm, I hate that this job can leave me drained of energy. I feel guilty I sometimes don’t have enough in my cup to give to my family.

Can anyone else relate to this?

While I still struggle at times with mom guilt, here are a few tips I have implemented to help manage the negative feelings.

Identify the causes of mom guilt.

Mom/dad guilt can come in many shapes and sizes. It affects us all differently. By figuring out what is triggering the feelings, we can better overcome the guilt. Do you listen to outside expectations of how a mother should act?

For example, does society believe mothers should be able to manage working full time AND take care of the household? Does your own mother or mother-in-law believe parenting should be a certain way because that’s what they did 20 years ago?

Do you put unrealistic expectations on yourself for how you should be able to manage life as a nurse practitioner AND parent? Take some time to reflect on what is causing your feelings of guilt.

Make time for self care.

Working as a nurse practitioner can drain our tanks because of all the demands and tasks we have to do. Raising children is no different. There are times in our lives that we have to give more to others than we do to ourselves. However, when you create a habit of daily self-care, you are able to fill your cup back up.

Remember self-care is not selfish. We have to be able to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. This is especially true for nurse practitioners and parents. When you show self love and take care of yourself, you can better care for others.

Self-care as a nurse practitioner does not have to be a one hour massage every week. You don’t have to exercise every day. Find ways that help you to care for yourself so that you have enough emotional, mental, physical energy to take care of others. Treat yourself to that cup of coffee mid shift. Take five minutes to sit in silence and decompress after you pull into the driveway. Go for a quick walk over your “lunch hour.” By taking care of ourselves, we can feel less guilty when caring for others.

Ask for help.

Know it is ok to ask for help. If you feel guilty for not spending enough time with your kids, ask your employer to go part time. If you struggle with work-life imbalance due to charting at home, ask for more admin time or change your charting using The Nurse Practitioner Charting Course.

If you are struggling with keeping up on cleaning, cooking, or laundry, find a way to outsource. There are many different meal delivery systems or housekeeping services nurse practitioners can utilize! Instead of spending the weekend cleaning, you can do a fun activity with your family. There is not shame in asking for help, especially when trying to work full-time as a nurse practitioner AND raise children.

Create special time with undivided attention.

I think this tip for managing mom guilt is the best for both moms and kids. Spending time and having their parents full attention is what kids crave. Kids need that love and attention to confirm a sense of belonging. This also helps parents connect with the child. When you are in the present moment with your child and enjoying time together, the mom guilt washes away.

Make a point to set aside at least 5 minutes a day to connect with your child. I strive to do this and notice the positive impact it can have. I also try to put my phone away when I am at home. I want to give my kids my undivided attention. Ease the mom guilt by spending special time with your kids.

I hope these tips are helpful for managing mom guilt as a nurse practitioner.

For additional blog posts check out: 3 Tips to Manage Mom Guilt and It’s OK to be a mom AND a nurse practitioner

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at

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