This pandemic has made life in my home exhausting. Too many people, not enough space. Food disappearing in minutes and constant mopping from the muddy dog tracks through the kitchen has left me tired. Tired of cooking, cleaning, laundry, being a referee, walking the dogs…just plain old tired.
So I decided to go back to work (virtual style) and make myself “business hours” so my kiddos and my husband would know that I was working. You know, that thing we adults used to do pre-COVID-19? It all seemed to be flowing nicely. Each morning I would hop on the computer at 8 am sharp and I would work until 12 pm. I would break for lunch for 30 minutes, then hop back into my “office” (which is really just my dining room table) and work until 3 pm. Easy peasy! It was working and I was feeling SO accomplished!
Until my children started complaining. “Mom, you are always working.” “Ugh, you are working again?” “Is that all you do, work?” and my favorite one “You love work more than us.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
As mommas, we try so hard to make everyone happy. We make countless sacrifices throughout our children’s lives because we feel that is what we are “supposed to do”. Well, sister, I am here to tell you that it is NOT your job to make sure everyone else is happy!! Yes, I said it, it is not your job! Don’t let those cute little children make you feel differently and do not let them dish out that mom guilt for dinner tonight! Here are some ways you can go from having that leftover mom guilt to enjoying a delicious meal of “I deserve amazing things with a side order of please and thank you”!
Tips for Living Mom Guilt-Free
- Have a conversation with your family. Depending on the ages of your children, explain to them why mommy is working or spending time away from them. Share with them how much you love them and how much you love your work. Explain it in a way they can relate to. Use examples that would make sense to them. This gives them a way to relate to why you are spending time away from them.
- Set a schedule and share it with your children and partner. Not only will this schedule start to make sense to your family, but it will also keep you accountable. Part of working from home when your little ones are around is finding balance. For many of us, setting business hours works and gives us an opportunity to set boundaries for these different areas of our lives that hold importance to us.
- Be flexible. Yes, I just said to set a schedule but you also need to be flexible with it. If your child is simply having a really tough day and wants to sit on the couch watching Frozen II for the twelfth time – go sit with your child. Your work will be there tomorrow, or later on in the day. Recognize that this time is a blessing and have gratitude for it. Be willing to adjust when necessary to meet the needs of your little ones because let’s face it, they will not always be asking us to sit on the couch and watch a movie with them.
- Take time for yourself. I like to work into my business hours one hour of “me time” each day. For me, that includes writing in my gratitude journal each morning, having my cup of coffee, and spending time reading or free-writing. This time is sacred to me and I will not give it up – not even for my kids. If I do not take time to fill my own cup, how am I supposed to fill theirs throughout the day? My children know this is important to mommy and they have grown to accept and even embrace it.
Don’t get me wrong. Having a nice, happy home with smiling little humans running around all day, every day would be refreshing. But this is unrealistic. We are all human beings and emotions are true, real-life situations that all must go through. Part of being a parent is learning when and when not to intervene with said emotions of our children. Our children may say things that hurt our feelings, make us feel less-than at times. But I am choosing to ignore these false accusations that make me feel bad. Because deep down, I know I am doing my very best. And I know that you are too.
Give yourself grace and keep doing the very best you can. Your children love you. You are amazing. And I believe in YOU!