How to Survive those Moments of Guilt – We will all be okay!
Whether you work outside the home, or in the home, you have those moments where you feel like you are doing something wrong, or neglecting them. That moment when they cry for someone else, or don’t want to be with you, or the ever present “one second honey, mommy’s working,” “let me just finish this email,” and then the immediate sick feeling in your gut after the words leave your mouth. Yup, it sucks, and sometimes there just isn’t a way around it.
Sometimes it is worse for those who work at home because it can be hard for the child, and many times the moms, to separate when we are working and when we aren’t. The reality is, we AREN’T screwing up our children. We are all doing the best we can, we love our children infinitely and are working in order to provide them with a better life. If you work out of the home, and your child is in daycare, in reality they are getting to play with other kids, they are getting quality care during the day and you are seeing them when you get home. You are showing them that its okay to go out and do things on your own and be independent, and that you will always be there at the end of the day. That’s an important lesson too.
For those of us that work at home, we are showing our kids that we are home, and working, not just sitting on our bums (at least not all day). Mom’s that are juggling working at home and small children are more likely to spend their non-working hours taking the children to do things or playing a game. This is giving them the interaction they need, and showing we care. When we do need to work, we are still teaching them about independence. Again, the same important lesson: They need to be able to play on their own for a few minutes and learn how to occupy themselves to gain their own independent thinking.
That being said, I am not saying that we shouldn’t pay attention to our kids. If you work it is just as important to make those times with your children.
When you are talking with your children, put down the phone, close the laptop, urn and look at them, and make eye contact. This will show them you are paying full attention and set a good example for when they are talking to people. It will also show them you care about what they are saying to you.
When you are working and they interrupt, its ok to say, “just one second” but make sure it is just a second or two. When you are finished, give them your full attention and ask them what they wanted to tell you.
To add to this, if you work at home, or sometimes have to work at home, etc, its hard to balance this. I, myself aim to only asking them to wait two to three times a day at the most. The other times, stop what you are doing and see what they need, or look at what they are showing you, etc. You will have much happier and fulfilled and confident children if you can do this. Usually its only a minute or two of your time to avoid a crying, upset, whining child.
So, here is the thing: If you are working, you likely need to be, either for yourself or your family. Don’t beat yourself up! Millions of children have survived working parents. Just cherish the moments you do have your children and make sure they know they are special to you. Show them how important they are, and teach them the importance of balancing work and fun.
Take a deep breath and we will all survive.