Guilt and motherhood go hand in hand. From the moment you find out you are expecting, you feel guilty about anything you did in the last six weeks that could have been harmful to the baby you didn’t know you were carrying.
After the baby is born, you feel guilty if you don’t breastfeed exclusively, cloth diaper, refuse to use a pacifier, or start reading bedtime stories at one week old.
Guilt is ingrained in most moms and comes as naturally as breathing. When a new mom goes back to work though, many moms experience a new level of guilt they have never felt before: working mom's guilt.
Now, to be sure, working moms do not have a monopoly on guilt. Moms who choose not to work outside the home certainly feel guilty too. Most moms feel they are not living up to the ideal they had for themselves at one point or another in life.
However, for moms who work outside the home, the guilt is typically focused on the idea that they are relinquishing care of their most precious possession to someone else while they work.
Moms who have recently had a child are dealing with a wide range of emotions, and might be finding out that this “mom thing” is harder than it looks. Going back to work is a necessity for many Americans so dealing with the guilt it induces is necessary as well.
Here are five tips for coping with guilt as a new mom returning to work:
1) Mourn the loss.
It is okay to acknowledge that you will miss some things that happen to your child when you are at work. The fact is that there are bound to be milestones that occurring during daycare time.
Let yourself be sad for awhile about the things you’re missing, but be sure to also remember all the things you gain from working. Acknowledging the pain, instead of dismissing it, might help you work through it.
2) Remind yourself why you work.
If you need to make a list and post it on the bathroom mirror, do it! There are valuable things you get out of working, some tangible and some intangible. Be sure to remind yourself of them daily, before that grass on the other side of the fence starts looking too green.