How To Deal With Mommy Guilt

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Credit: pixabay.com

Mommy guilt is absolute. I feel it, you feel it. It seems that no matter how hard we try to be the best mothers that we can be, it sticks to all of us. A year after I gave birth to Saehee, I went back to school studying another major. I was away for a couple of hours each weekday and sometimes even on Saturdays ’cause we had classes; I was in school all right, but my heart and my mind are back home, with my baby bear. When I got home from school, I would spend all the time that I have being beside her, leaving my school stuff for granted for the most part. Then, there would be days that I wouldn’t go to school at all! Geeeezzzz louise!

Being a hands-on mom was my goal since I knew that I was pregnant and it disappointed me when I had to be away and miss some more of her milestones. I’d come home and my mom would report to me something that Saehee did that was delightful; and secretly I felt jealous and it crushed me inside. Why didn’t I witness that?? This mom guilt drove me to a decision that I don’t want to be employed— I want to have the time freedom and subsequently reach financial freedom, as well. I mean, yeah, I never really liked being employed to start with because it bored me to follow company rules, follow the boss, being stuck in an office 9-5. Mom guilt heightened that eagerness to shy away from employment.

Though mom guilt gave me a bit of positive outcome (at least for me), it’s generally not a good feeling. Unchecked guilt can even be dangerous, leading to unhealthy behaviors and depression.

Understand that parenting and perfection is ridiculous. Get real. No one and nothing is perfect. Know that you’ll make mistakes and just be honest with your kids when that happens. They’re smarter than you think; and as I always do with Saehee, I make a quick remedy by forgiving myself first then give her a loving hug and butterfly kisses.

Stop judging yourself. Stop comparing yourself with Mom X Y Z. Your story is different from theirs and the beautiful thing about living this life is that we get to co-create it. Write your own story and stop attempting to star in someone else’s. Which will lead me to…

Avoid the bragging game. This one I might say is one of the hardest habits of parents to abolish. I mean of course, it’s our kid! I don’t know of any parent who isn’t proud of their children. Resist the urge to engage in such because comparison leads to feeling inadequate and guilt. The next time a mom attempts to compare how long you breastfed, how early the kids start walking or talking, politely change the topic. Remember, you and your child are unique— embrace the parent that you are and the child that you have.

Surround yourself with supportive people. And stay away from those who don’t or judge you. This is one of the reasons why I created Ilongga Mommies’ Nook, five months on motherhood— this is an online support group for Ilongga moms around the world. The thrust is to share information about motherhood, parenting and just about anything under the sun; and yes, being each other’s virtual support.

Laugh and don’t sweat the small stuff. Learn to laugh at your shortcomings and don’t sweat the small stuff. Breathe in, breathe out. Tomorrow is a new day!

And when faced with a disappointing fact that you are not capable of providing your children with everything that you want for them, remember that no child that grew up with love in their home ever felt wanting.

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5 Tips on Balancing Motherhood and Business

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Gone are the days when women are “for home-use only”— days when women were expected to ONLY stay at home to care for the children and keep the house tidy. At that time, when a mother wanted to work, she’s forced to choose between motherhood or career. Being a millenial myself, I’m fortunate to belong to an era that wavered from this concept. I, together with millions of other women, have taken matters on our hands and created a work-life balance by operating a business.

Though it’s extremely rewarding (earning money, doing your passion, ensuing creativity, recognition, accolades), it’s not all peaches and creams. Behind all of these shiny, shimmering, splendid lies blood, sweat, tears and guilt. Yes, guilt. “Am I not giving enough time for the kids, the business?” I know because this has gone deep in me numerous times!

Albeit being fairly new in operating a brick and mortar business, I’ve somehow managed to create strategies that work for me; managing being a single mother (as of this time of writing) to a 4 year-old and handling the business.

Get organized & balance your time. Set goals for family and for business. Envision what exactly do you want in life; do you want to be a mother and also owning a business? Go for it. Follow through with your goals. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, points out in her book  Lean In, women need to approach their goals rather than pulling away; take that leap of faith. Also, when it’s time for the family, it should be family; when it’s for the business, then it is. I’m typically out around lunch time to take care of the business  and be back home at night ; I make sure that I take care of Saehee’s morning stuff and play/bond with her before bed time. It likewise helps waking up earlier in the morning than she does so I can have time to review goals for the day and set my self in the right track— ready to take on and make the day, my day. Haha!

Get children involved. Before opening the shop, I was already prepping Saehee’s mindset that mommy will be doing some things so we can have money to buy her food and be able to send her to school. Although her young mind was trying to comprehend, there were still instances that she would not let me go and ‘fight’ for attention. I decided to bring her to the shop so she can see what mommy is doing to earn the money; being the caring and diligent little girl that she is, she ended up insisting to help in small work loads like handing the plastic bags when customers purchase, arranging the clothes etc. Children love it when they feel that they’re a part of something; it might seem like play to them but they’re actually being taught at a young age some realities in life like earning money. Plus, it can be a good bonding time too!

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Hands me the clothes while mommy does product photography for online selling. #messyhairdontcare Haha! 🙂

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Mommy’s little helper

Get help. Asking for help in taking care of the kids while you work on the business does not make you less or a bad mother. It’s being smart. It’s cute to be a Superwoman but even she has to go back to her human persona and be, well, human. We are mortal beings. Mortals have limitation. Don’t be afraid of hiring a nanny or asking for a family or a friend to watch over the kids while you handle entrepreneurial concerns. Trying to do everything on your own, all at once, will drain your energy and your creativity/logical abilities will downgrade. I was in this situation recently and it wasn’t a pretty term.

Have & prioritize “Me Time”. Watching a movie, having a sip of coffee at a cafe, reading a good book , retail therapy (as long as it doesn’t hurt the bank account) or perhaps a bubble bath sounds good, yes? All of these, lady boss, should be enjoyed by YOU. Yourself. Alone. It’s important to do something that you love and enjoy (the type that doesn’t stress you) because it nourishes the soul. With the kind of environment that we have as mothers and business owners, the responsibilities at hand, can take a toll on us. This is where Tip numero 4 also comes into play. Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can we give that to others?

Career moms are heroes among us who wear many hats. Whether they answer to the call, “mommy” or “boss”, they are constantly on the go. Personally, I take pride of this path that I took because at the end of the day, I look back and say, ” I wouldn’t have changed my life for a second”. Makes it all worth it!

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