Every mother feels mommy guilt now and then, but working moms are often much harder on themselves than those who stay home with their children. You feel bad about not spending enough time reading and playing with your child or you didn’t make a play date that your child was excited for. You’re constantly comparing yourself to other mothers, wishing you could be more like them. The guilt is heavy on your heart because you know that you have to spend so many hours each week working and away from your child. But even when you must be apart there are many fun ways to remind your children of your love for them and the fact that you will always be there.
Over the years many families develop little ‘inside jokes’ between one another. Others may have a special symbol that reminds them of one another. If you have something silly or special that will make your child smile, hide a little trinket or note in their school clothes, backpack, or lunch box that will remind them of that secret bond. No matter what kind of day your kid is having, finding that surprise from you is sure to bring a smile to their face and brighten their day.
If your child is young and with a sitter during your workday, try and set up Skype video chats during a specific time of day. It will help to break up the monotony of your long workday and will be something your child looks forward to as well. As your kids get older, get in touch with them via instant messenger on the computer or text messaging. Or if you prefer to be more traditional, set up phone dates each day to tell your child that you love him or her and ask about their day.
Family mealtimes are important when you are a single parent or both parents are working. Pick one meal a day to sit down as a family and really connect. If your mornings are least stressful or if you go into work a little later than others, plan a family breakfast. But if the evenings are best, aim for family dinner. Take the time to ask your children about their day and show genuine interest in what they are saying. If your children are old enough, have them help with meal prep and use that as an extra bonding time as well.
You’re a very busy person, juggling work and home life. But if your schedule allows, take at least one day off each month to spend one on one time with your child. If you have more than one child, be sure you give each child their own day with you. Let your child choose the day’s activities and have fun together. If your weekends are free, have a family outing now and then. Go on an adventure hiking a local trail or head to the beach for the day, whatever your family likes to do. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, the point is that you are doing it together.
When the mommy guilt begins to creep up, remember that by working you are providing food, shelter, and clothing for your children. Those things are necessary in order to be a good parent, so you are working for their well-being, comfort, and safety. Leave your work in the workplace when you come home and cherish each moment you are with your children. As they get older, they are not likely to remember the hours spent with them versus the hours you spend at work so long as you are making the most of the time you are able to spend with them.
Image Credit: healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net