Photo Credit: Getty Images
A wise person once told me: "There are two kinds of guilt. The good kind, which makes you feel bad when you hurt someone so that you can right the wrong. And then there's the other kind that only serves to make you feel bad about yourself." Mothering is rife with that other kind of guilt. So what can we do about it?
Working Mother magazine says that, as moms, we need to take a cue from dads, who don't seem to suffer from so much guilt. You never hear terms like "working dad guilt" or "superdad" or "alphadad," after all. Most dads seem immune to the cultural pressure that makes moms feel like they should be doing it all. That pressure leads 57 percent of mothers feel guilty every single day, while about one third of moms feel guilty at least once a week, according to a poll at WorkingMoms.com. That means that nearly 90 percent of moms feel guilty at one time or another.
Guilt is an important emotion that makes us human, Dana Dorfman, Ph.D., told Working Mother. "But the danger is that an overdose of guilt can be a complete waste of time and energy, especially if it traps you in a negative cycle of thoughts," she said. As a mom who works from home, I know this has happened to me. When I'm working, I think, "I really should stop and play a game (with my preschool daughter)." And as soon as the game is set up, I start thinking about all the work I have to do.
To free yourself from unnecessary guilt for good, says Working Mother, you've got to break free from useless remorse. First, decide if the guilt you are feeling is truly legit. If it is, use it to make positive changes in your life. Create priorities and stick to them, and surround yourself by like-minded working moms. And finally, but maybe most importantly, forgive yourself.
Whether you work outside the home or not, how do you handle guilt? Chime in below!
Like this? Read these: