So you missed the parent-teacher conference at your child’s school because you were away on a business trip. Or maybe you were on the phone talking to a client when your baby took his first step. Were you the only mom absent at your child’s school performance or field trip last weekend because you got called off to the office for an emergency meeting?
You’ve probably found yourself in similar—if not exactly the same—situations. It’s a horrible feeling when you’re not physically present for an important event in your child’s life. Is this feeling normal? Totally. But should you really be weighed down by these awful, guilty feelings? Absolutely not. We know it’s hard, and the work-life balance that people keep talking about seems nonexistent. But career moms just need to be reminded from time to time why it may take hard work, but guilt is the last thing you should be feeling.
You are not Superwoman
Who is, anyway? Even superheroes need extra special powers to be in two places at the same time. Remind yourself that you are only human, and can only do what is humanly possible. If an important business trip falls on exactly the same date as your daughter’s piano recital, accept that you can only be physically present in one place. Choosing to go on the business trip doesn’t make you a neglectful mom; it makes you a responsible adult who is professional enough to honor her commitments.
Tip: Have your husband capture an important event on video and set aside time for watching it with your child when you get back. Make sure she has your complete, undivided attention when you do so, and emphasize how proud you are of her performance. Every once in while, take a leave from work—best time is when your child has a break from school. You can either stay at home with them for some quality time or take them for a nice day out. It’s easier said than done, but balance is key. If you have time off from work, try not to bring any work at home. Make use of your days off wisely, so you don’t feel guilty when you do have to work late or go on a business trip.
What works for others may not work for you
Don’t judge yourself by other people’s standards, or else you are likely to fail. Stop comparing yourself to other moms, and stop judging your choices when it comes to how you raise your child. The kind of arrangement that works for other moms may not be ideal to your own family’s dynamics. Each family unit is unique—living up to other people’s standards would just make you feel like an inadequate mom.
Tip: Give your child something to look forward to during the week. Maybe Wednesday can be the day you pick him up from school or drop him off before you head to work. Keep to the routine to make your child feel he’s a necessary part of your week.
You need to take care of yourself, too!
And if this means pursuing a career and having work-related goals, then by all means, go for it! There is nothing wrong with seizing the opportunity to better yourself and successfully portray a role outside of being a mom. You don’t have to feel guilty about taking care of yourself, because your family will benefit from it too. A happy mom would be more capable of taking care of her family.
Tip: Create a ritual to make sure everyone in the family gets the attention they need. It can be a game in the car before you drop your kids off or a unique storytime experience that you do every night before your kids go to sleep.
Your kids get nothing but the best from you
The upside of having limited time with your kids (because of work) is that they get the best hour or two from you before they go to bed at night. They also have your undivided attention during the three minutes you call home to check on them after school. When you help them with a school project, you don’t take it for granted and give it your best shot. That’s what quality time means. And when your kids are sick, you’d give them the world if you could, just to make them feel better.
Tip: Make no mistake when choosing the right fever-reducing medicine for your kids. Give only Paracetamol, clinically proven to relieve six types of pain and fever: teething, immunization, sore throat, headache, muscle ache, and cold and flu symptoms. Before you know it, your kids will be back on their feet, giving you more time for family bonding.