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The Antidote for Working Mom Guilt

When I was younger, I had always envisioned that I would be a stay at home mom. Yet, somewhere between needing to work and my own internal desire, I found myself juggling career and motherhood without ever taking a hiatus from employment (outside of those blissful months of maternity leave!). With four boys in less than six years, each pregnancy announcement brought about unsolicited advice surrounding my role as a mother and the importance of foregoing my career.  Out of nowhere it felt as though friends, family and strangers became stakeholders in the parental journey my husband and I were embarking. I felt overwhelmed with guilt, shame and embarrassment as others chastised me for my decision.

I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have both. Why couldn’t I be a mom who is there for my kids, who is present, all the while pursuing my career? Wrapping my head around the noise of others weighing in on my family’s decision left me discouraged before my children were even born.

I struggled the most in the baby phase. I worried about missing first steps, smiles and coos, and daytime snuggles. It was hard for me to share my sweet little bundles of joy with others. Afterall, God had chosen me to be a mother, how could I leave them? I felt guilty for working and taking the babes to daycare, especially on the days where I couldn't bolt out of the office right at 5pm to pick them up. I questioned my decision nearly every single day. What I found, though, was that my babies were excited to see me whether I picked them up at 12pm or 6pm, and that these precious caregivers had surprisingly become a treasured extension of our family, sending pictures and videos throughout the days. They loved my children as though they were their own. Over time, this peace of mind helped diffuse the pressure I felt trying to live up to an unattainable standard of doing what others felt was best.

The more kids I had, though, the more confident I grew in my juggling act. Without intending to, I brought Dr. Seuss to life when it came to providing food for my babies during the workday. I could pump in a car, I could pump in a plane, I could pump in my office and in a train. I could pump in the hallway or in a bathroom stall, I could pump anywhere…even during a conference call!  There were times I had to stand up for myself as a nursing mother on airplanes and offices. It was during these moments I found a new version of me. One that wasn’t apologetic. One that made choices for myself and those I loved. One that stopped seeking approval.

The game changer for me in radically reducing guilt as a working mom was when I chose to surround myself with others doing a similar juggling act. Whether it was in person or a social media channel where tips and tricks are shared, this tribe of women became a positive reminder for me that I am not alone. Having a close working mom friend who understood the struggle, and reminded me why I chose the blended path of motherhood and work, saved my sanity.

As my kids grew and were able to articulate their thoughts and feelings, I would ask them things like: “do you wish mommy would stay home with you?”. I was shocked the first time I heard “no” come out of their sweet little mouths! They enjoyed daycare and school. They had friends, made crafts, sang songs and went on field trips. They were happy and well adjusted. It turns out, I hadn’t ruined their lives after all.

The life of a working mom isn’t about balance. In fact, there will never be balance. Someone once told me if we keep pursuing a balance between work, life and motherhood, we will always come up short. We are setting ourselves up for failure and will be disappointed every time. Life is an integration, a blend. There will always be times when the work clock runs late, or a due date on a project impedes on family time. But there will also be plenty of times when work takes a back seat for family priorities (think doctors appointments, school holiday parties or reading to your child's class over zoom between meetings of your own). It’s less of a pursuit for equality and more of an ever-changing integration of family and career, done best when surrounded by those who support our chosen path.

If you haven't found you own group of supportive working moms, come join mine! The Working Mom Moments Facebook group is full of working moms walking a similar path. And if you need a little guidance on gaining more time for yourself or finding a better work life blend, I'd be honored to coach you on your journey. Find more information on coaching below!



Hi, I'm Lacy Jungman

I'm a Certified Working Genius Facilitator, an executive leader, writer, speaker and mom.

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Creativity. Productivity. Vision.

It might be cliche, but knowledge truly is power. The more we know about ourselves, the more confident we become. Working Genius workshops are key for individuals and businesses alike.


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