Have ever felt working mom guilt?
Have you ever hidden the fact that you’re a mom?
I never thought I would have.
But, I was 4 months pregnant with my first child and a promotion at work that I was perfect for, finally opened after a year.
I was so excited. This was MY job. I was going to show how much value I could bring to the role in the interview. I was ready.
But then fear creeped in. History creeped in. The world creeped in.
I started thinking, “If they know I’m pregnant, what if they don’t hire me?” “What if they hire someone else who doesn’t have to take maternity leave?” “What if they see it as a weakness.” How could I have mom guilt for being a working mom before I was even a mom?
I hid morning sickness. I hid my growing belly in an oversized indigo blue suit. I don’t know if I was fooling anyone, but in my head, I had too.
Now that I look back, it seemed so real at the time, but how TRUE was it? I doubt it was true at all in my case, but it felt so real. No one wants to be passed up for something, especially if they are qualified based on how they look or their personal circumstances.
I WAS selected for that job, but over the years, another pregnancy (TWINS), and a lot of self reflection, I’ve learned the 5 Mistakes that Working Moms Make, but more importantly I learned how to KICK those habits.
Mistake #1: Story-telling. Guilty, party of 1. How often do we tell ourselves stories. Stories based on fear. Stories based on past experiences. Stories based on judging or criticizing ourselves. How true are these stories? Usually, not THAT true.
Kick that Habit: Ask yourself, “How true is this?” Is this based on a previous experience? What’s different about THIS time? WRITE down all the reasons this COULD work out. Start changing your narrative by breaking the cycle of self-doubt.
Mistake #2: Co-signers. Ya know, when you call a girlfriend and they totally agree with you. They tell you when something similar happened to them? Next thing you know, you’re off the phone and you feel WORSE? Co-signing can increase anxiety and perpetuate your fears. For all my working moms, write your OWN rules.
Kick that Habit: If you are like me, you need to talk out loud to process. When I’m feeling worried or doubtful, I’ll call my coach or a friend that I know will ENCOURAGE me or CALL me out. Break the cycle of fear by creating new neuropathways that tell your brain to start thinking differently. You’ll immediately start feeling a little more ease and probably have some different solutions or ideas to get you moving in a better direction.
Mistake #3: Questioning your worth. Girl, I’ve been there. I’ve questioned if I was smart enough, strong enough, patient enough, a leader enough – all the things. It’s normal! And here’s the heartbreaking one. Many times, I’ve been told to think about what I want, because my kids are young. “Do you really want to take a promotion and put in more hours? Your kids are young.” Last time I checked, my husband has young kids too, but no one has ever said that to him.
Kick that Habit: DEMAND YOUR WORTH. When have you failed and not gotten back up? Better yet, when have you succeeded? If you ever feel yourself questioning your value or worth, STOP, and write down 5 times you’ve killed it. 5 times you didn’t think you’d do the damn thing, but you did. How many times have you rocked it as a working mom? By taking a break to stop your thought process and create a new one, you’ll immediately shift sides of the brain that opens you up to creative thought. Remembering all the times you MADE it, will remind you how bad ass you really are! Remind yourself that being a mom isn’t who you are, it’s one of your roles, but doesn’t define (OR LIMIT) your ambition. Demand the schedule that works for you. Demand the respect for your passions and your ambition by showing others YOU believe in your worth. Say, “Thanks, but I know I can ask for support in my life so that I can follow my passions too.” Showing others how YOU feel about yourself is worth more than their assumptions.
Mistake #4: Indecision: If you have anxiety, indecision can be a pit stop on the way to panic, sadness, fear, or depression. As a mom, I’ve felt torn in every direction and worried about why my child had a 98.9 degree temperature. I mean, is she about to get sick? I’ve worried about tackling a new project, for fear of not knowing where to start. I’ve worried about not having enough time (can I get an AMEN?) for, well, everything.
Kick that Habit: You only need ONE thing to start tackling this mistake. Ask yourself, “What’s one thing I can do right now.” No matter how small. The tiniest step ever. Worried about a temperature? Call school and ask them to check. Simple, yet will ease your mind! Don’t know how to start? The tiniest thing you could do? Maybe Google your first step. DO SOMETHING. No matter how tiny, that movement will move you out of indecision and will tell our brain, YOU GOT THIS!
Mistake #5: I can’t do it all, I don’t have enough time. If I had a nickel for every time I thought this. I remember crying to my husband that I would never have time to workout with 4 kids. NEVER (see MISTAKE #1). If I mentioned this to friends, they’d say, “Oh don’t worry about it, your kids are young, you can get back in shape later, you look great.” Meanwhile, I had thrown out my back and was barely able to lift the kiddos.
Kick that Habit: The Me-Plan.
Every single time that I think to myself, I don’t have time, I create a Me-Plan. as a busy working mom, I go write down things just for me that I want to accomplish for the week. Not a to-do list, a Me-Plan. I add workouts, walks, baths, face masks, reading, having a glass of wine or calling a friend. Just. For. Me. Ok, you may be saying, “How does this help?” Every time you write, tell and SHOW yourself that you are worth time, time becomes AVAILABLE. Share it with your partner or friend. Ask them to support you making time for yourself. Putting you first, helps change your mindset to show you that you DO have time for the things that are important to you. And if you need a little help, here’s a FREE GUIDE to get you started creating your Me-Plan.