Whether you’re taking care of your baby while working out of the home, working in the home, or some nonconventional circumstance that many Moms find themselves in today, here is how to stop feeling guilty when you’ve done nothing wrong.
When we were planning Whitney’s baptism we had a videoconference call to meet the Deacon beforehand. Through the course of getting to know us, he asked me, “How about you Kelly, are you working or staying home?” I felt like a junior in high school taking an SAT test with two multiple-choice options, neither of which seemed to be the correct answer. Trapped. I felt guilt and defensiveness wash over me as I replied with a non-traditional, “Yes! I started my own business and I am staying home.” But as the conversation moved on I couldn’t help but think, this is it, isn’t it?
Culturally, it seems like society thinks I have to pick one title and there is a feeling of guilt or doubt in chosen path, either way.
After the baptism I went full force into creating and launching an online course to help professionals create and implement a strategic marketing plan. I suffered from burnout in a matter of weeks but at least it was completed. I overcame my fear of failure, banishing the “what if all this work was for nothing” thoughts, continued serving clients, helping them with strategic copywriting, teaching them how to sell their business and how to write a business goal. I had a professional photo shoot and launched. To my delight, it was a success! I am currently in week two of my course, serving Members in industries including education, photography, counseling, insurance and cannabis.
So how do I get over the conflict I felt about the choice I made?
Guilt is defined as “the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.” I certainly had not done this! I had made the best decision given the circumstances at the time. But I still had to forgive myself in order to get over my guilt. I had to forgive myself for resigning from work. I had to forgive myself for getting too ambitious with creating my course in record time, which made me burnout. And on and on.
Let It Out and Talk To Yourself Like Your Sister
Journaling (or blogging J) is a great way to express guilt and get your emotions out of your head. Talking through your thoughts and the things you are telling yourself with a trusted family member or a therapist is also helpful, as these humans will remind you to give yourself credit for your accomplishments. When you talk to yourself like your supportive Mom friends or sister would, you can turn negative thoughts into self-compassionate mantras, boosting self-assuredness and self-confidence.
Treasure The Present
Working Moms may feel like they should be spending more time with their family. Moms at home may feel like they should do more work. When you eliminate the “shoulds” and treasure the moment to only focus on one thing at a time, it helps increase mindfulness and decreases stress. For example, this morning, I have not yet unlocked my phone or looked at any emails. I am treasuring my quiet time writing this blog post and not doing any other tasks at the same time.
Remember Time Heals
Weeks later, on a networking call to discuss providing strategic brand consulting and copywriting services, the agency asked if I would be interested in one of their full-time roles. Honored, I graciously explained I was prioritizing family, and offered provide part-time, contract support. Saying it out loud made me realize that I was, finally, at peace with my choice. Some things, like feeling pleased and accepting of a major lifestyle change, just take time.