Mom guilt is real. We all know that. And working moms certainly feel it. You just feel like you can’t do anything right. Well, what about WAHM guilt?
I never really thought WAHM guilt was a thing. After all, I was going to be home with my kids. I’d be there for the snow days and the sick days. I’d be able to just nip out if the school called for something.
And I’ll admit that with my first daughter, I’ve never really felt the guilt. I’ve had the odd thought of “I could do more with her” but then she gets bored spending time with me. Yep, really! I’ll find her something to do that she likes and wants to do and then she’ll walk away because I’m doing it.
My second child was a little different. She is the clingiest little girl I’ve ever known. And at first, it was fine. Daddy was a stay at home dad and I was a work at home mom. She had both of us, but he did most of the parenting. And then he went back to work. These last 12 months have been hard. At one point, I resented her picking up headlice from someone at daycare because I had to have her home. AGAIN!
The WAHM guilt is real.
You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom: So Embrace the Chaos, Get Over the Guilt, and Be True to You
No more WAHM guilt
When the global pandemic meant schools shut, I decided that I wasn’t going to make my children do the online schooling. I wasn’t going to be overly strict about it. And honestly, I haven’t been. I haven’t gone looking for extra resources because this isn’t something I ever planned.
At first, I felt a little guilty about it. But then I realized that this isn’t real homeschooling. Right now, we’re “Lockdown Schooling,” as I’ve referred to it a couple of times. If I was actually going to homeschool, I’d join homeschooling groups on Facebook and meet up with other homeschooling moms in the area. But permanent homeschooling isn’t on the cards.
With my children being 4 and 7, I don’t think they’re going to end up behind by not following all the work they’ve been set, either. When it’s come to French, I have no clue. I can’t even figure out what the hell is going on in the videos. So, after the WAHM guilt got to me at first because I didn’t have time to figure them out, I decided to hell with it. My daughter can watch the videos and do some of the stuff, but if she needs help, she’s going to need to get it from the French teacher next year. There will be some who aren’t even watching the videos.
The other work, my elder daughter wants to do. She loves having her “school work” hours, and has spent time working on whatever subject she’s given. We don’t get through all of it each week, and some weeks she runs out of stuff. I don’t give her extra. Instead, I encourage her to read.
I’ve given up with the WAHM guilt right now. And I’m making an effort to ditch the WAHM guilt in the future. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s something I’m working on.
So far, these are the tips I’ve got and I’d love for you to ditch the guilt along with me.
1. Be patient with yourself: I think mom guilt is just one of those things we all developed. When we’re with our kids, we should be working. When we’re working, we should be with our kids. Well, it’s going to take time to get rid of the mom guilt, especially as a WAHM. You see your kids all the time and they want to spend time with you. Be patient with yourself and with them.
2. Set up routines: This is the biggest help in our house. Routines have always been important for us. We have the Morning Five Things and a nighttime version. They have a set schedule throughout the day right now. They know when it’s school work time, when it’s board game time, and when they’re allowed to play on the Nintendo Switch or the iPad. They also know when they get to spend time with me. I put that in the schedule, so they have something to look forward to. And I don’t have to feel guilty telling them “not right now.”
4. Have a space to work: Being a WAHM is hard. It’s hard to switch off from the work mode, especially if you don’t have a separate space to put your desk. I’m fortunate that my desk is in the den. It’s a separate room, and I go in there just to work. When I’m in the living room, I chill out with my kids. When I’m ready to sleep, I go to bed. When I want to relax in the nice weather, I’ll go outside. But even if you don’t have a designated room, you can have a designated space. It could be the dining room table, with everything being put away at the end of the day to turn it back into a place for everyone to eat together.
5. Set boundaries for work: As well as having the space, you want to look at setting up times and boundaries. I don’t start work until 8am at the earliest, but I aim for 9am. It’s going to depend on the day. I finish work by 6pm at the latest. My kids know that. And now that the eldest is telling the time, she’s keeping an eye on the clock to make sure I follow the “rules.” Then there’s the boundaries with people at work. There are some I chat to in general, but I don’t edit content or answer client emails after 6pm unless definitely urgent. At 9pm, I have an hour to do the editing for the next morning to set up that schedule and make mornings easier—the kids are always in bed by that point to kick the WAHM guilt.
6. Don’t be afraid to say no: Can you take on this extra client? Do you have the time for it without it creeping into your time with your children? If the answer is no, there’s nothing wrong with that. You owe nobody for your kids anything. Okay, maybe your supportive partner, but you and your kids have to come first. So, if you definitely can’t fit a new project or client into your schedule, say no. If you do have the time, there’s definitely nothing wrong with saying yes—assuming you want it.
7. Find your support: This is something I’m still working on. I’m not sure it can help the WAHM guilt, but I think it can. It all comes down to create a work-life balance with some likeminded people. Most of my support is online. I’m making an effort to change things and have real-life support. You need people you can blow off steam with; people who won’t make you feel guilty for your decisions. Anyone who makes you feel guilty needs to be dropped. They’re not supportive!
Ditching your WAHM guilt isn’t going to be easy. It’s hard when your kids are around you all the time. You can do it, though. Work with me!