As a Latina working mom, most of the time I feel I don’t really excel at this parenting thing. All it takes is one comment from other family members or an unhappy glare from my kids to remind me that I have a lot to learn about being a mother even after 11 years of practice. Add that to the stares you get during a business meeting when your child’s school calls, the moms that every single night cook a delicious and healthy meal from scratch, plus the major juggling it requires to attend school meetings during the day, and you have all the ingredients for a major meltdown. Yours.
However, these feelings of inadequacy really aren’t constructive. They don’t make you a better parent nor do they make your kids happier. Obviously, they do nothing for your self-esteem, either. So, I’ve decided to share what makes me feel better as a mom in five minutes or less when I feel frazzled and a bit overwhelmed by it all. The best part? These are things you can control. Because in case you haven’t noticed, you won’t be able to control what comes out of other people’s mouths, especially if you come from a culture (like mine) that still has trouble accepting that women have careers and professional goals.
If this can help at least one other mom, I’m more than happy. Plus, I hope it helps you feel better about your job when you’re working and away from your kids.
1. Look at everything you’ve done, not what you haven’t
Instead of torturing yourself about every little thing that you’ve missed because you were working, focus on all the things you do for your family. Realize that if you look at things with a bit of perspective, chances are you’ve been there for your kids more often than you think. Unless your children are showing signs of distress or you notice changes in their behavior, you’re not failing at parenting.
Feeling guilty is one of the least constructive emotions you can encounter as a parent. It only drains you of the energy you could be using to actually enjoy what you’re doing or be more present in the moment. I know it’s easier said than done, but at some point you need to make peace with the fact that you cannot be in more than one place at any given moment. That, and the fact that you’re trying to do the best you can.
3. Ditch perfectionism
Even the moms who appear to be the most perfect of them all are human. Really. So don’t even try to set up unattainable expectations about what being a mother should be like. If you’re setting up yourself for failure, guess what? You’ll never feel accomplished or self-confident as a mom.
4. Limit your daily to-do list
Don’t try to do everything at once. If your to-do list has more than 10 items, it’s a sign you’re trying to do too much. Aim for the five most urgent items that need to be accomplished today, and it’ll be much easier to focus on what you’re able to do instead of feeling miserable at everything that couldn’t get done.
5. Stop comparing yourself
Resist the temptation to look at others and think they’re doing a better job than you are. You never know what other parents are going through. Each family lives their own reality and simply tries to make the best of the cards that have been dealt and the path that’s been chosen. If it helps, many of those other parents probably are comparing themselves to you and have no idea how you juggle all your responsibilities.
Do you have any other tips for working moms? Have you found a different way to deal with mommy guilt? Please share in the comments below!
Photos: Jeannette Kaplun
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