Overcoming 'parent guilt' when returning to work
Published: 9th of November 2020
Like many women, I’ve suffered from ‘mum guilt’. Even from the first weeks of pregnancy I felt guilty for that boozy conference before I knew I was pregnant and the fact I was passing on nurturing foods for a diet of chicken nuggets and crisps (honestly I was surprised he didn’t come out looking like a bag of Sensations!).
Then the baby arrives and the guilt intensifies as you battle sleepless nights, feeding your baby and keeping them as happy as possible as you entertain hoards of well-intentioned visitors. And just when you think you’ve got it pegged, a passer-by comments that your baby must have a cold head (do you want to try and get a hat on him!?) or they need feeding (oh thanks, I would have never thought of that!). I can’t count the amount of times I’ve said, “you’ll think I’m a terrible mum” because I’ve only brought beige snacks with us or because of that red mark where he toppled chasing after the cat!
As with many parts of being a mum, going back to work may fill you with that familiar feeling of parent guilt. Perhaps you want to go back to work full time but feel guilty about putting your little one in nursery or maybe you want to stay at home but feel guilty about not giving your baby the opportunity of going to nursery.
As with many aspects of being a parent you may feel judged whatever you choose to do and it can be a big shift to start thinking about your own career and not just the needs of your little one.
Try reflecting on these questions:
- Are you comparing yourself to someone else? All children are different and what is right for someone else may not be the best approach with your little one
- Are you being hard on yourself? If one of your friends had the same issue, would you be assuring them that they are doing the best thing? Try treating yourself with the same compassion
- Who can support you? If you’re going back to work, can you request more flexible working to accommodate family commitments? How can your partner, friends or family support you during times of transition?
Coaching can help to unpick some of these feelings of parent guilt or anxiousness about returning to the workplace. It could also give you the space to think about pursuing a new career or business opportunity that would ultimately make you happier in your work and family life.
Through Baby Steps Coaching, I focus not just on helping you achieve your career goals but also on balancing this with your family life and wellbeing. I truly believe that by spending time considering your own happiness and wellbeing, you will be better able to support and care for your little ones.
Please get in touch with me if you’re interesting in booking a free introductory session to see whether coaching could help you give yourself a break and move forward with your career and life ambitions.
P.S. Have you joined my FREE Career Clarity for Working Parents Facebook group? It's packed full of top tips to keep you motivated and on track for moving forward in your career.