40 Mom-Tested Tips for Balancing Work and Family



How to Let Go of Your Guilt


Get to the Root of It
Ask yourself why you feel guilty. If the reason is based on how another person feels (your mom, your mother-in-law, the stay-at-home mom down the street), forget about it. They don't have your life so they have no right to make you feel guilty any more than you have a right to make them feel guilty about their life choices.

If the reason is based on how you feel about yourself (if you feel you don't see your family enough or that you're too involved with work), then by all means seek a change. Shorten your hours, cut down on travel, split shifts with your spouse, or be bold and change careers. Do whatever it takes to make you feel good about yourself. Just be sure that you're doing it for you, your spouse and your kids and not for someone else.

--iVillager JoAnn

Change Your Way of Thinking
Guilt is a useless emotion. It can make you unproductive, resentful and depressed. In fact, it is such a dirty word on the Working Moms board that the regulars use the word "quilt" instead, and no one is permitted to feel that way for long. In our supportive corner of the Web we all understand how hard it is to leave your child in day care and go out into the workforce. It is so easy to identify ourselves as having only one role in life -- mother -- and leaving it at that. However it is important for us to maintain separate identities, for our children's well-being and our own. I am one of the few who actually enjoys working, and that makes it so much easier for me. While I'm at work I give 100 percent of myself to the task at hand and take great pride in doing a good job. The same is true when I'm at home with my children.

You only get one chance to live this precious life. You have to make the most of it while you are here. I don't identify myself by what I do any more than I identify myself by my children. I am a person in my own right and I (usually) am fairly happy with who I am. Mother, wife, employee, student -- these are just labels. I don't feel guilty about working any more than I feel guilty about taking classes. I am happy with the choices I've made regarding child care, my boys know who their mommy is and they are well adjusted little guys who are happy to go to school and learn new things. --iVillager Sarah

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