Returning to work: a tough choice for mothers

Aug19

Returning to work: a tough choice for mothers

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The Regroup Community is committed to providing strategies, tips, information or training that serves parents and their children, and by so doing help build stronger families. Today, I received some questions in my inbox that caused me to rewind the clock to my days as a working mother. Mothers who wish to return to work after having babies want to know what strategies they can immediately begin to implement to lessen the guilt of having to leave their babies behind. If you are a mother and you’ve been in these shoes as I have, together, let’s provide other moms with ideas to lessen the guilt. The following strategies are solely based on my experience as a working mother, and from talking to other working moms as well.

1) First of all, the guilt is real, make no mistake about that. I had my first baby when I was a student, and I remember weeping all the way to class because I could hear echoes of my baby’s cries as I walked to school. And yes, walked to school, not drove, not rode the bus. I had no car in those days and no money for buses or taxis. In class, I had trouble focusing because I was constantly worried about the baby. However, as time elapsed, I learned to talk to myself. You know the kind of rationalization that we all engage in every now and then. I tried to dwell on the benefits of education instead of worrying about the baby’s cries or the guilt that threatened to overwhelm me. I am from a very poor family, and growing up without shoes, clothing, or books was definitely a strong motivator to lessen my guilt. I didn’t want my baby growing up lacking basic needs. In fact, the baby’s cries seemed insignificant compared to the long miles I had to trek to school each day. I felt better knowing that I was going to school so my baby would one day ride the bus to school. What I’m saying here is that as tough and overwhelming as that guilt was for me, I still tried to find a focal point, reasoning, and a justification that made sense for this sacrifice. So if you are a young mother or even an older mother leaving your baby to return to work, you have to focus on the goals within you that will ultimately justify your decision to work. That positive mindset will give you new impetus. That approach worked for me, and I hope it does for you too.

2) Some of the mothers I consulted with confessed to over-indulging their children to make up for their guilt about returning to work, something I definitely will caution all mothers against. Buying your child that expensive toy you could barely afford isn’t doing them or you any good. What I will instead advice is to spend as much time with your children as you can afford to. Schedule activities for you and them on your less hectic days to make up for time away from home. Also schedule something for them to look forward to because if they know ahead of time that you have planned a family outing on Saturday, for example, it gives them that positive mindset of looking forward to something exciting, and clearly detracts from the “missing you” part which often increases your guilt.

3) Other mothers who had stayed home for a longer period of time felt less guilty returning to work. They said they were actually ready and eager to return to work, an indication for our politicians to increase the family-leave paid days as that will greatly benefit both mother and child. I think if a mother can afford to stay home longer without worrying too much about bills, that might actually lessen her guilt.

4) Making mom friends at work was another great suggestion from a mother who said it made her feel as if she weren’t alone. I also think it is a fantastic idea to connect with other working moms who have or are experiencing the same guilt. Talking about your challenges and just sharing your combined experiences can be very therapeutic. If you are a mother and you’ve been in these shoes as I have, together, let’s lessen this guilt for other moms.

Are you a mom who’s currently working or experiencing this guilt? Do you have coping strategies to share? Please comment below so other moms can benefit from your experience. If you enjoyed this or found it useful, please share.
#mompreneurs #strongfamilies #supportgroups #RRR

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