Balancing career and family: viewing your work in a positive light

Riddled with guilt over your multiple commitments?  Wondering if you are working too much?  Questioning if your career is having a negative impact on your family?
For professional working moms, coping means trying to see the positives in the situation. Try to focus on the good things that your family has because of your career.  You may say, “But I’m balancing so many roles that being positive sometimes feels impossible.” Women who are unable to compromise when it comes to their children, are especially set up for anxiety.  What commitments are flexible?  Can you change your schedule, reduce your hours, stop traveling, let go of volunteering?  If not, then one way to cope with working-mom guilt is to change your way of thinking.

Modeling a successful working woman is incredibly important if you have girls. And even if you don’t have girls, you still can be a positive role model and show that women are a force in the professional world.  This is important for your boys to see as well as they develop ideas and relationships with women.  Remember that you will always be your child’s mother, and that your kids see you differently than you see yourself.  You could be feeling guilty that you didn’t design and bake a homemade birthday cake for your son, but he doesn’t see it that way at all.  He is excited to have had input in picking one out from the store and planning activities for his party with you.

Here are some tips that may help you view your career in a more positive light:

  • The small things you say really do sink in. You don’t have to be there every second, or be a perfect mother, your children still listen to what you say and do.
  • Your kids instinctively know when they are loved.
  • Set your priorities and re-evaluate them often. Focus only on what is truly important and realistic, not what that over the top stereotype in your head is saying.
  • Don’t let go of the rules or consistency. Your guilt may lead to bending the rules more than what is healthy for your children.  They want to know that you are there if they need you.
  • Remember when you leave your child at daycare that non-working parents use childcare too. If your child is having a particularly rough time with separation, it’s most likely a stage.  Determine if your own guilt, or hesitancy is contributing to her anxiety. 
  • Keep in touch with your mama friends who can validate your struggles and offer support.

Support from other moms who are juggling similar issues can be a lifeline.   There is power in knowing that you are not alone, and that you will survive this and your children will be all the better for it.  If you don’t have a good support system in real life, that you might consider joining an online mom’s group.  An alternative is to seek professional support in the form of counseling or coaching to modify your thinking, identify a plan to decrease anxiety and stress overwhelm.

-Rachel

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