Back to Work Guilt: 3 Tips to Bounce Back

Posted on April 29, 2019

“I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work part-time so that I could dedicate more time and attention to raising my two beautiful kids. However, I now have to go back to work full time. As the day approaches, I am having such a hard time with this decision and the guilt is now getting the best of me. Help!”

This is a common and big dilemma for parents and most of the time, it is unavoidable. The sooner you roll your sleeves up and put it in perspective, the better it is for you and your family. So here are three winning suggestions:

1. Accept and respect: If you start to make room for guilt because of a decision that you have had to make, know that it will affect you first and your family next. Sit with yourself or your spouse and evaluate if you have entertained all the options (which I’m sure you have). If so, accept your decision by affirming the following: “I am a great parent and under the circumstances, I am doing the best that I can. I accept and respect my decision.” This is guaranteed to help you move forward.

2. Discover and recover: Talk to your children and let them know how you are feeling in an age-appropriate manner, of course. Ask them to help you plan and organize the week so that they, too, know what to expect. Together, come up with new ways of spending family time in the evenings. This will help you uncover a whole new talent in your kids. Keep in mind that kids are very resilient and involving them in the discovery process will help you recover from the guilt.

3. The gift of presence: Before the kids go to bed, dedicate five to ten minutes a day to just hang, doing no-thing. Let them know that that will be special time to share the day about the day. Put aside laundry, chores, cooking agendas, and to-do lists, not just physically, but also mentally, during that time. This is what being “present” is all about —dedicated, undivided, uninterrupted, shared time which will allow communication to stay open as you get busier. The gift is renewed parental confidence that will slowly negate self-doubt, guilt, and fear.

The more you practice making a habit of this, the better you will feel. The better you feel, the more adjusted you and your family will get to the new lifestyle. By modeling resilience, you will teach your kids self-reliance as well. Also, know that change brings about tremendous growth in both adults and children.

And during turbulent, doubtful, guilt-ridden moments, bring yourself back to center with this reminder: ”I am a great parent and I am doing the best that I can” and take some “YOU” time to refuel and refresh. Raising Kids to Be Happy, Think Positive and Do Good is not just a privilege for stay at home moms. It is an attitude. And as long as you keep that positive attitude, both you and your kids are good to go!