Beating The Working At Home Guilt

I leave for work most days the same time as my kids leave for school. They are old enough now to fix their own breakfasts and pack lunches, so our mornings flow fairly well. Okay-most days they flow. Then there are the days my 10-year-old decides to take a 45 minute shower, but I digress.

Depending on the day, I pick them up after practices and we head home for dinner, which we always do together. It is literally the only thing in parenting that I am consistent with. No matter if it is bowls of cereal or the nights where we clean out the fridge, for at least fifteen to twenty minutes every day, we speak to one another. One of the only mom hacks I have is Clean Out the Fridge Night. At least one night a week we pull out all of the leftovers, heat up the containers and I pass out forks. We stand around our kitchen island and fork fight over the last bit of spaghetti or the remaining meatloaf. It’s fun, it reduces our food waste and it cleans out our fridge.

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There you go, you now have the secret sauce to the only beneficial tip I know about raising kids.

On the other nights of the week, the rules are different.

There are no cell phones allowed at the table, usually the TV is turned off unless it is something we all are pressed to watch together and we get to discuss our individual days.

And then we disband.

The kids head off to shower, lay out their clothes and projects for the next day and finalize homework. And  I open my laptop. Monday through Friday, this our routine.

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Now some days are different and at least once a week we go out to eat because I have forgotten to meal plan appropriately. Those are the dinners we actually have more interactions across the table from one another, mainly because I have trapped them into a booth to talk.

Then there are other days where practice is cancelled or my work load is not pressing and we play games or watch movies.

But at this stage of parenting a teen and pre-teen, our weekends are for fun and our weeks are for getting through.

I would like to tell you that only have a brief moment with my children each day depresses me. However, it is all we can do with the lives we are leading and the time we spend is good. They are active and have homework and I almost always have a daily project to finish or a court date to prepare for the following day.

I have a no work on Saturday rule. Not for any other reason than soccer for both kids is almost entirely year round and Saturdays are game days. We are bustling from field to field, cities to varying States and I couldn’t work even if I had to. It also is an entire day that my kids know is devoted to them. You have to find a pattern that works for you, your business and your family.

The worst advice I’ve ever been given in business is that you have to have a work life balance.

There is no such thing.

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Sometimes, your business requires your family to make sacrifices. And then at other times, the laptops are closed and business can wait. The ebb and flow of that will change depending on your schedule, your family’s obligations and the needs of your business.

You cannot beat yourself up for the nights that you miss family game night doing expense reports. Because there will be days that you can move everything around to make it to your 3rd grader’s science project presentation. Giving yourself the freedom to know that a balancing act is not feasible, will free up space in your head and heat to think of something other than guilt.

You love your job…or maybe you need the income from it. And you most certainly love your kids. And that’s ok. In fact, that’s GREAT! The most important thing to remember though is wherever you are, be all there. When you’re home, make sure you’re looking into you family’s eyeballs. Ask the questions, be the encouragement.

And when you’re at work, remind yourself not only how grateful you are to have one, but also what an incredible blessing it is that your children are taken care of while you’re hustling. Whether they’re at school, with a nanny, or daycare…they’re learning so much about playing with others, independence, seeing mom work hard, and thrive in a multitude of ways… all because you have given them the opportunity to.

Mom Guilt? Push it away and pass out those forks.

READ MORE ABOUT  LINDSEY  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

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WRITTEN BY LINDSEY W. ANDREWS: LAWYER, ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR, AND SPEAKER

You can connect with Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or www.lindseyandrewswriter.com

An Open Letter to You, Working Mom

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You are doing an outstanding job. You are enough and you need to keep that at the forefront of your mind. Being away from your kids is not always easy. Matter of fact, it is the hardest. I understand this. I get you, because I am you.

I am so familiar with the “Mom Guilt” and the heart crushing moments when you are falling short of confidence in yourself and your parenting. Doing your best to be you, be mom, check items off your lists, organize, perform at work, and find time to feel human.

The workforce is full of hard working, strong, beautiful mamas just like you. Many of you  feel working outside the home makes you a better mother. A woman set out to provide for her family and do her best to enjoy life. Absolutely respectable. The number of mamas that work from home is increasing and that too has its trials and tribulations. There are many of you that dream of the stay-at-home mom life, but you know those cards are not in your deck.  Working to contribute to the bills and pay for that roof over your head is not an option, you have to work.  I know this makes it so much harder because you do not get a choice whether to work or not. You wish for something different and feel stuck. I am with you and many riding the same wave. 

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The questions that ramble through our heads, run rampant through our hearts, and can pierce our soul faster than a bolt of lightning, are heavy and burdensome. 

Am I giving the kids enough time and attention? Do the kids know I love them to the moon and back? Do they feel as neglected as I feel? How can I be more? What does the school teacher think of me? How can my kids have play dates if I never get the chance to meet other parents? Are my kids mad at me for not signing them up for all the extracurricular activities? Should I feel bad that I genuinely love my job? The notion of performing at work excites me, is that wrong?

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Questions that undulate through our minds like a roller coaster ride, with our hands straight up in the air. Steady uphill and a thousand miles an hour downhill, without a blink of an eye. How does life move so smoothly, organized in KonMari fashion, painted in perfect color, then suddenly change to all forms of chaos? Life. That’s how. I love this life but will be the first to admit that everyday commotion is wearing.

Working Mom, you are not alone.

The rush to wake up early and get ready before the kids, then praying there are no ‘situations’ that arise which could possibly throw the routine off. You are not alone when you rush to daycare to drop your sweet little one off, to only drive away feeling Ms. Jan is raising your baby while fighting back tears. Or that gut wrenching feeling when they do not want to go into daycare because another moment with mom may just change their world.

Racing through the school drop off line, hollering “I love you!!” as they hop out of the car and race into the building, hoping they beat the bell. I often question my mom-ability when I realize how fast find time flies by and I swear I was well intentioned.

You are not alone when you have no vacation time left and must miss class parties and field trips or even send a sick kiddo to school.

Let’s not even begin to discuss weekends and your lack of alone time, friend time or date nights. I get it. You want as much time to soak up the minutes with your loves. You are not alone in feeling that when you see the freeway and die a little inside as the traffic builds up, because the next time you are late for a meeting could have consequences. Major consequences. We all know you getting a “break” is nearly impossible but that feeling of driving to work and being able to adult during the day sort of revs you up.

As a career focused woman, you too are not alone in the mom life. You love your work and success, find joy in life by providing the world the best version of your employee self. You strive to accomplish goals upon goals. You are not alone when often asked those mildly offensive questions. “Do you feel bad for working?” or “How you could not feel guilty for having Ms. Jan raise your babies?” Ugh. Gut-punch. One of my favorites is, “Don’t you think your kids need you more?” Why yes, yes I do. We all would love more of one another and quite frankly, we need more self-care as well. Children deserve a mommy that is the best version of herself, and I find that many of us are a better Me, when working.

No guilt here or there.

I love this life and I love the aspects of my work done in the house and outside of the house. Can I get an Amen?

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I ask that you take a moment to pause in your every day journey to remind yourself of this:

I am stunning. I am a proud mother, a supportive mother. I am a woman driven to succeed at this thing called life. I am thankful for the Lord blessing me with these children and gifting me the time to present life in the most beautifully chaotic fashion. I may not have makeup on, and my jeans are snug, but I sure enjoyed the extra bucket of popcorn at the late-night living room movie session. I love the freedom of jamming to my 90s music, rapping to Salt-n-Peppa, while driving to work and I feel NO GUILT. I am working daily to improve myself. I am loved and I am enough. I am me and I do this life well.

The beauty in the bindings of life is heart transforming. The position of our hearts changes when we begin to change our perspective on life’s struggles.

Look to transform your thoughts on your life and soul.

I often remind myself:

• My struggles are all valid and it is okay to feel defeated. Breathe. Cry it out. Laugh it out.

• Today was hard, maybe the week was hard, and I can work on making tomorrow the best yet.

• Order takeout and eat it straight from the box. Rough nights deserve a dishes break.

• Plan way in advance (and in my case of terrible luck, pray it goes well! Haha).

• The love my two-year-old needs, from me, is far more than expected and the extra ten minute snuggles will do nothing but bring more love and joy in life. (Let’s be honest, I prayed for a little best friend and I surely got that exact thing. *sarcastic voice with a slight chuckle*)

• Relax. Smile.

• Eat the chocolate chip cookie. It’s fine, really!

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I honestly believe life was designed for relationships. We work hard at loving our children with all that we have and all that we are. We embrace the crazy flaws of our spouse, siblings, friends, and coworkers. Ladies, we give grace to those that hurt us. We love-hard and fight-hard for those around us. I say we start with us, first. Start with you.

Love yourself first, fight for yourself, and embrace your flaws.

And most of all, dear friend…give yourself grace, knowing that you are enough.


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WRITTEN BY ERIN PERSON: BAKER, DESIGNER, MANAGER